Last Saturday at Comic-Con International in San Diego, group editor Shelly Bond and an assortment of writers and artists discussed Minx, DC Comics' newest imprint aimed primarily at teenage girls. In addition to books released this year, Bond announced for the first time the 2008 projects.
Released in May, "The Plain Janes" by popular young-adult-novelist Cecil Castellucci and artist Jim Rugg was the first Minx book. It follows a girl named Jane who moves to the suburbs and, with her three friends, all named Jane, forms an "art gang" determined to save the world through art.
In June, Minx published its second book, "Re-Gifters" by Mike Carey and artists Sonny Liew and Marc Hempel. "Re-Gifters" is the story of a poor Korean-American hapkido student living in Los Angeles. "It's a martial arts rom-com," Carey said. Carey, Liew, and Hempel previously worked together on "My Faith in Frankie," a four-issue Vertigo miniseries that was published in the Minx-like digest format and inspired Bond to create the Minx line.
In July, "Clubbing" by Andi Watson and Josh Howard came out. Bond described "Clubbing" as a "sharp, fun, witty story" about a spoiled London goth girl. "She tries to get into a posh West End nightclub and gets busted with a fake ID so her parents send her away for the summer to her grandparents' stuffy country club in the Lake District of England. She ends up solving a murder mystery on the 19th hole of her grandparents' golf course and narrowly escapes romance."
"Good as Lily" by Derek Kirk Kim and Jesse Hamm will be released in August. The book is, "also about a Korean-American girl," Kim said, who, through a miraculous event on her 18th birthday, encounters herself at ages six, twenty-nine, and seventy and, afraid that her life "will turn to crap" attempts to show her other selves the right path.
Coming in September is "Confessions of a Blabbermouth," another book by Carey, this time co-written by his 15 year-old daughter Louise, with art by Aaron Alexovich. Carey said, "We were looking for a story that would actually play on the fact that it was a middle-age guy and a teenage girl writing it together, to make something out of those different perspectives.
"So the story is about the tempestuous relationship between a teenage girl and her mother's appalling new boyfriend who is a chick-lit novelist, incredibly in love with himself and convinced that our heroine, Tasha, needs a strong father figure. So he's very heavy-handed and very controlling, and we started to work on the story and I was very heavy-handed and very controlling, and [Louise] told me to back off and from then on it was fantastic. But it took a long time, because it turns out, who would have guessed, teenage girls have incredibly complex and overstuffed lives. Even though we live in the same house, we had to book time to work on the story. But it was fantastic and we're really happy with the outcome."
"Kimmie66," written and illustrated by Alexovich, will be released in November. 'The story follows Telly Kade," Alexovich said, "a girl living in the 23rd century, because I think girls like sci-fi too. And in the 23rd century, maybe even right now, people are pretty much living in online games -- all day, just living out their fantasies. But Telly has a problem with her fantasy because there's a ghost in it and it might be her best friend. So it's all about her quest to figure out what happened to her friend, if it really is a ghost, and is there such a thing in this highly technological world."
Bond then announced the titles to be released in 2008 and gave brief descriptions of each.
First up, "Water Baby" by Ross Campbell. He described the book, saying "It's about this girl Brody, named after the sheriff from 'Jaws,' of course, and she gets her leg bit off by a shark. Then her evil, nomadic, freeloader ex-boyfriend comes back. And, you know, so she's got one leg and like, she has to get rid of this guy 'cause he's really awful. It's basically just her and the boyfriend and her friend and they're just these crass, power-metal, shit-kickin', nose pickin' chicks."
Bond added, "They take the road trip from hell to take Jake, the super hot, annoying ex-boyfriend back home, and they meet a lot of strange people along the way, a weird hitchhiker and a lot of other strange characters that only Ross could come up with."
"Burnout," by author Rebecca Donner with art by Inaki Miranda is about Danni, a girl who moves to the Pacific-Northwest with her mom, her father having left the family years earlier. They move in with her mother's new boyfriend and his son, who she develops a crush on. After following him, she discovers he's involved in eco-terrorism.
"It's a really amazing, smart, intense story of a young girl who has to choose between falling in love and getting involved in something that she knows is really illegal and how it's going to change her life forever," Bond said.
The art previewed was a two-page spread of a beautiful Pacific-Northwest landscape. Inaki Miranda doesn't use ink, he said. Instead, all the art was done with pencils.
"The New York Four" by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly is, Wood said, "a first year in college book. It's about four girls who are all from different parts of the country and different social classes and they're all freshmen at NYU. They meet under a random circumstance and become friends really quick. But they're all very heavily flawed. Some are very shy. One's a stalker. So it's them trying to navigate their first year at school and first year living on their own and dealing with each other."
Kelly said the art relies heavily on photo reference and is very New York-centric. "It's about living in New York and it's about 19 year-old women and the transition between high school and college."
Of the page showed, Wood said, "it's a real corner, you can go to this place in New York and hold up this page and it's exactly right. Most of the time, everything you see, like a coffee shop or a subway stop, it's a real coffee shop, a real subway stop, that's what the sign really says, right down to the billboards."
"Janes in Love" is a sequel to "The Plain Janes." "There are lots of questions left hanging in the first book," Castallucci said, "so now we're going to answer those questions and ask some new questions because questions are always interesting and good." In the book the Janes try to get boyfriends and continue with their mission to save the world with art.
"Token" by Alisa Kwitney, a "chick-lit" and young-adult author, and artist Joelle Jones, is the story of Shera, a Jewish girl in Miami in 1989. Bond said, "she meets a young boy named Rafael, and we follow whether they will survive culture clashes and criminal records to find true love in the sun-drenched, sequined miasma that was South Beach in the '80s."
"Emiko Superstar" is by novelist and performance artist Mariko Tamaki and illustrator Steve Rolston. "The story is about this sleepy-eyed suburban babysitter, more of a geek than anything, and she discovers this underground performance art scene and wants in on it," Rolston said.
David Hahn's book, "All Nighter" is about a girl named Kit Bradley who goes to art school. Her roommate is a weird girl who is abducted halfway through the story. From there the story becomes about investigating what happened to her and who she was.
"Poseur" by Deb Vankin and Rick Mays is about a girl named Jenna who lives in LA but isn't "a spoiled, bratty rich kid." She gets "the ultimate after school job, as a houseguest for hire. She becomes embroiled in a kidnapping plot and it becomes both an internal and external excavation, from the graffiti-tagged streets of LA's east side to the bloated billion dollar mansions of Bel-Air." The book is to be the LA insider counterpart to New York's "The New York Four."
In addition to the second "Plain Janes" book, "Clubbing" will get a sequel of its own with "Clubbing in Tokyo." Bond said that if there continues to be support for the titles, "we would love to make them into series."
Although Minx was intended to be a line of books "teenagers could call their own, particularly teenage girls," Bond balks at the assumption that they are "girl books." "If you're 13 and over and you like books that are coming-of-age stories, that challenge your way of thinking, that have a social conscience, and feature strong female protagonists, then these are the books for you, regardless of your gender."
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