Aug 31, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - The Weekly Graphic Novel: Week 22 - Jane's World v.1, 2005

The more I delve into webcomics and their IRL reprint volumes, the more I realize that there's this fantastic current of queer comics that have managed to find an outlet through the ostensibly free domain of the Internet. I did a bit of reading up on Jane's World and it turns out to have started online in 1998! Honestly, I don't think I even had Internet back then. Jane and her friends were also, apparently, one of the first queer comic strips to be picked up by a national syndicate, making this comic not only entertaining and cute, but also very important in the history of queer comics.

I grabbed two volumes of the series when I saw them at a thrift shop. I've only read this one so far, and it was...good, but not great. It really seems like there's large gaps in the story that are filled in by small text pieces, and, honestly, the bits that are missing sound really great. I'm not sure what the impetus might have been to not reprint those bits (if, indeed, those bits exist), though perhaps it's to shine the spotlight more on Jane and her life than on the fantastic things that might happen in her head.

Though there is that bit where she and Chelle end up on an island inhabited by Amazons.

What's really nice about this comic is that it's not completely populated by queer characters. Jane exists in a social group of diverse genders and looks, much as we all do, and through this kind of setting, Ms. Braddock reminds us that not only do queer people exist within, not outside of, mainstream culture, but that our lives are every bit the same as anyone else's. Who hasn't fallen overboard while boating, hit their head, and hallucinated an island full of buxom and flirty Amazons? I call that Friday night.

Here's a link to the online presence of the comic. Jane is totally worth a look and a read.

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