Caitlin Rose Boyle and Sam Humphries’ “Jonesy” #1 is the awesome anti-Valentine you’ve been waiting for. The issue centers on a belligerent, opinionated protagonist who proclaims herself the “expert in things that rule, and things that suck.” It isn’t exactly a Hallmark movie, but this funny, feisty issue has more heart than plenty of pro-Valentine fare. With psychedelic colors, an unapologetically cartoony style and hyperbolic web-speak dialogue, “Jonesy” #1 sometimes tries a little too hard — but it almost always succeeds.
The character’s voice is really what sells the series. Introducing herself to the reader by shouting, “Hey! Over here! It’s me, Jonesy!”, Jonesy is a grumpy, energetic narrator who barrels into her mistakes as ham-fistedly and resolutely as she does into repairing the damage from them. Whether she’s scowling, yelling or swooning over anime, she is continually shown her at her hyperbolic best. The creative team also uses the page turn and the natural slow-down of panels to give her dialogue its extra punch. They drop lines like “Eat all who oppose you” and “all the money goes to charity. What a scam!” at unexpected junctures, and — as a result — I laughed out loud at jokes that might’ve simply made me giggle without the same pacing.
Of course, “Jonesy” couldn’t pull off lines like “I know what you’re thinking, perv!” and “Somebody’s gotta teach the world a lesson! And I’m the one to do it!” without art to match that attitude. Rarely do I describe a book as both belligerent and whimsical, but Boyle and colorist Mickey Queen’s round, brightly colored world is a wonderful match for Jonesy’s exaggerated worldview. There’s plenty of whimsy here, from romping ferrets to Jonesy’s amazing Christmas ensemble, but Boyle and Queen are never more than a panel away from furious scowls or flamed-out eyes. This weird combination captures the joy and self-affirmation that underpin a girl’s opinionated anger. Jonesy knows what she likes, and she isn’t apologizing for or rationalizing that.
Letterer Corey Breen also deserves major kudos for bringing tons of life to the speech in this issue. He isn’t afraid to go big and ridiculous with the fonts or the bolding, and it adds so much to the lines. When the dialogue and the art embrace a “go big or go home” aesthetic, it’s a joy to see the lettering do the same.
Structurally, having Jonesy narrate directly to the reader is perhaps the cleverest thing this issue does. The plot is relatively simple, and although this is the first issue of four, it doesn’t really end on a note that tells me what’s coming next. As a result, Jonesy’s voice needed to sell the story, and having her directly narrate achieves that smoothly and quickly.
All told, “Jonesy” #1 was an amusing, unusual issue. I had a blast reading this one, and I can’t wait for the rest of the series.