Sunday, May 15, 2011

"Fame: Britney Spears" Comic Review

The "Fame" series of comics from Bluewater are something of an anachronism in the industry. While "Fame" is technically an ongoing series, recurring characters don't exist, as the book focuses on a different celebrity each month. And the books themselves aren't like an issue of "Spider-Man" that throws Barack Obama into the action, or imagining what a celebrity would be as a superhero. Instead, they serve as an illustrated biography of the celebrity (or celebrities) being featured.

This month's edition focuses on Britney Spears, with writer Patrick McCray taking us through Britney's life from age 8 to now, through mostly a first-person retelling (with a three-page framing story featuring two fairies, but that's not really that important).

Now, the book doesn't exactly cover EVERYTHING Britney's been through over the various ups and downs of her career -- there are no illustrated crotch shots -- but it's not a glossed-over retelling either, which I have to admit surprised me. The breakup with Justin (including the "Cry Me a River" video), the failure of "Crossroads", the hard partying, the failed marriages, the horrible reception of her VMA "comeback" performance, it's all in there. Of course, the good is also in there too, both at the beginning and with her recent resurgence, and in addition to the first-person writing, there's lot of little "pop-up" facts that appear throughout the book, enhancing its value for Britney fans who already know this story in and out.

Ricardo Jaime handles art duties and does a good, but not great, job. The righthand cover image of Britney has slightly too many facial lines, making it look less like Britney now and more like Britney at 40, which is a shame because the cover really needs to pop with something like this, to get fans to notice it on the shelves. I think I'd be more of a fan of the interior art if Jaime didn't go so overboard on the facial shadows. Still, he does a pretty good job with likenesses, considering both how many he has to do, and how often Britney's has changed in her career.

I think Britney Spears fans who aren't comic fans will at least find this an enjoyable read, and younger fans who want to learn about Britney's whole career will get something out of it too.

Grade: B

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