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Inside Good Comics For Kids

Review: ‘Jonesy Vol. 1′

jonesy-1Jonesy Vol. 1
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Caitlin Rose Boyle
Boom Studios; $9.99

Who is Jonesy? She will be happy to tell you, as she does in the first two pages of this trade paperback collection of her ongoing comic book series. She is a tightly-wound, emotional teenager with a ferret, a garbage zine devoted to her favorite pop star/secret crush, a loving single father who runs a doughnut restaurant and speaks almost entirely in dad jokes, and a major chip on her shoulder about Valentine’s Day, the worst day ever (Jonesy, being a teenager, will actually declare two other days the worst day ever in the issues that follow).

Oh, and she also has secret powers, although it will take her a few more pages to open up to you about those. Her power? She can make anyone fall in love with anyone–or anything–else, but they don’t work on her personally, for whatever reason. So she can’t, for example, just make her secret crush love her all of a sudden. Seems fair.

These powers, which she accidentally discovered while shipping two anime characters who actually actualized her shipping, would seem to be the perfect means with which to destroy Valentine’s Day forever, as she attempts to do in the first issue. Or, at least, the way her high school celebrates Valentine’s Day.

Working with a cupid-like power, she attempts to use it for ill, but the universe may have a lesson to teach her. Aw, why am I being coy? The universe does have a lesson to teach her.

Each of the three issues that follows is similarly a standalone story in which Jonesy uses her powers to solve a “problem” that is really only something that bothers her, causing comic mayhem while helping her grow as a person and teaching the reader valuable lessons about not being a terrible person.

In the second issue, she uses her powers to get out of working her dad’s doughnut stand at the town’s talent show/street festival (another worst day ever). In the third, she tries to convince her father that he should let her get a tattoo, which backfires badly and leads to his going on a date with the tattoo lady she must then try to stop. And finally, in the fourth, she tries to do to prom what she did to Valentine’s Day (prom being another of the worst days ever).

While Humphries’ Jonesy is a great character with a Curious George-like quality of screwing things up and then redeeming herself, and the plots he plunges her into–plots that are at once completely everyday and completely fantastical–are all entertaining, Jonesy is a comic quite dependent on its particular visual style to get it over.

Artist Caitlin Rose Boyle’s design for the lead character is a great one. Seemingly buried in her voluminous hair and baggy clothes, Jonesy is a tiny ball of emotion, a highly emotive, almost emoji-like face that is all eyes, mouth and some of the most expressive eyebrows since Groucho Marx’s.

Boyle’s art has a charmingly two-dimensional quality to it that suggests both the current style of animation for older, smarter kids (and grown-ups)—like, say, Adventure Time, Steven Universe, and so on—and children’s book illustration.

There’s really nothing else like Jonesy, though, which makes it such a remarkable comic book series.

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J. Caleb Mozzocco About J. Caleb Mozzocco

J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.

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