Dramacon 2

October 13, 2006 at 2:23 pm 2 comments

By Svetlana Chmakova

Ah, the long awaited arrival of the second volume of Dramacon.  Christie’s second year at the con, but this time she’s a veteran and has a new artist.  She’s been looking forward to seeing Matt again, and maybe picking up where they left off, but!  Of course he shows up with a girlfriend… 

I liked this one a lot – not as much as the first one, but I think part of it is that last time I had extra glee from discovering a great new book.  The story was split between Christie (which focused mostly on her and Matt) and the artist Bethany (who was torn between her love of art and her mother’s disapproval and had to decide what her future would be).  My favorite parts were Christie’s scenes with Matt both for the way their characters bounce off of and blend with each other and because a couple of the elements in the artist’s story pulled me out of the book too much.  A scene in Artist’s Alley about an obnoxious kid ranting about how English creations weren’t really manga and his eventual smackdown felt a little heavy handed and one-sided to me.  I guess I would have preferred to immerse myself in the story without stopping to wonder about issues the writer had, if this sort of thing had happened to her and reflecting on my own is it/isn’t it manga stance.

And speaking of stepping away from the book, I might as well for a bit… I don’t know if this kind of scene is common at conventions – I don’t go to many myself (my comic stores are too good at keeping me well supplied to care much about going to cons) and when I do go I tend not to spend much time in the artist areas (I’m usually exhausted by the time I get that far – they seem to always be in the last aisle).  If it is, I shake my head at the rudeness of some people and urge them to get a grip.  For the record, my own opinion is certainly not as impassioned.  I think of manga = Japanese graphic novels, manhwa = Korean graphic novels, graphic novel = English graphic novels.  It’s more of a language/country of origin distinction rather than anything to do with content/art style/spirit of the work.  I see the other side’s point, I just don’t agree with it.  But again, I don’t care enough to actually argue with anyone about it.  Hmm… unless it was a friend and I felt like being a shit disturber.  Then I might just for the fun of it.

Now… back to the book!  The other bit I wasn’t as fond of was Lina’s lecture on deciding whether or not to be a comic creator.  It felt just a bit too instructional, or, “I get this question a lot so I’m going to answer it here for future reference.”  Not quite as clunky as the other scene, if only because there also seemed to be more genuine emotion and affection in it and yeah.  It’s about two young people making comics together and trying to get a break.  Of course there’s going to be some wisdom passed on.  I’m okay with that part of it.

Soooo, that was the negative.  I wanted to get it out of the way so I could focus on the positive to finish off on.  I did like the story and had a lot of fun while reading.  All of the characters seem to be having a blast being at the con (emotional meltdowns aside) and doing what they do… the romantic tension between Christie and Matt was really well done, and slightly different than the tension in the first book now that they have some history together. The focus wasn’t entirely on the two of them which is a little disappointing if you were really looking for more about their relationship, but I did like that Bethany wasn’t relegated to a minor, one note character that was only there for Christie to bounce things off of.  She had her own issues, problems and story.

I also LOVED the art, which managed to be beautiful, cute or funny depending on how the characters were feeling.  The sly/gleeful/self-satisfied moments were my favorite, mostly because of how perfectly those feelings were conveyed through everyone’s expressions.  And I don’t know exactly where the con was supposed to be set, or what was used as inspiration, but the convention centre that the book took place in looks suspiciously like the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto. It’s the escalators.  I’ve been trapped in line there before.  After you’ve spent an hour waiting to get on an escalator you tend to remember what they look like. 

Edited to add: Bethany’s name, which I have since looked up.   Sorry Bethany.  :)


Entry filed under: manga.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ama  |  October 16, 2006 at 8:10 pm

    No fair, I want Dramacon v2. D:

    OMG MODELLED AFTER TORONTO? D: Coolness plus, I love my city. T_T

  • 2. pajcat  |  October 17, 2006 at 9:57 pm

    Ha, well I don’t know for sure, but it looked like it to me. I got an email from Comicon today saying that they’re having a convention there this weekend… might be fate, but I probably still won’t go. :)


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