Janes in Love is Perfect Follow to Original


Janes in Love

Janes in Love

The Plain Janes is one of the best comics I’ve ever read. Yes, I’m aware that the graphic novel was part of DC Comics’ now defunct Minx line for girls. But great stories can’t be defined by the gender of the target audience.

The Plain Janes is bold and inspiring, and I hadn’t read anything quite like it until I read the follow up volume – Janes in Love. I didn’t expect the second book to be as good as the original, but it picked up right where the first left off and continued without a hitch.

In The Plain Janes the young heroin is nearly killed in a terrorist bombing in the city. She saves the life of another person by keeping him from bleeding to death before paramedics arrive.

She follows the man to the hospital carrying the backpack he had with him, in which she finds a notebook filled with art. The notebook exerts a dramatic influence over her, and when her family moves to a smaller community she cuts and dies her hair, eschews the popularity she had enjoyed at her former school and falls in with a group of girls – all named Jane – who decide, under Jane’s leadership, to create public art in secret.

The activities of P.L.A.I.N. (People Loving Art In Neighborhoods) soon lands the girls in trouble with the authorities. When they plan a huge New Years art attack, things go horribly wrong and people close to Jane suffer for her actions.

Janes in Love opens with Jane dealing with the repercussions of her clandestine activities. P.L.A.I.N. decides, however, that the value of art in public spaces is worth the trouble they’ve encountered.

Jane struggles to find a solution that will help both her community and her friends, finally deciding to seek a grant and become a ‘legitimate’ street artist. At the same time, the members of P.L.A.I.N. face the challenges of teenage life and relationships. The Janes discover that in art in love things can get complicated.

Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg have created a powerful story dealing with family, friendship and big questions about responsibility to yourself and your community. The characters are complex and the book never descends into the cutesiness one might expect from comics in this genre.

Multiple references to homosexuality may be problematic to certain readers, and the book tends to portray authority figures as hostile and/or ignorant. However, the overall work is beautiful and inspiring. Janes in Love (and its prequel) deserve a place on the shelf among the finest of graphic novels.

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About James A Woods
Freelance Writer, Constant Learner, Family Man

One Response to Janes in Love is Perfect Follow to Original

  1. Josette says:

    I thought James was a great character cos he had the guts to sing out loud first!

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