Betty & Veronica Spectacular #69
The Archie titles are all undergoing a makeover to make them more relevant to today's audiences. With this issue the series turns toward a new direction of focusing more on fashions than the normal love triangle of the two girls pursuing Archie.
This is exemplified by a cover that looks like something from a teen fashion magazine, with the girls almost unrecognizable with the more modern clothes and hair styles. The interior art is different as well, as the strict panel borders are gone as the book turns towards full bleed (art goes right across the page) art style.
The art makes the book look more dynamic, which is good as the stories themselves were rather dull. I'm possibly not the target audience here, even though I like shopping for clothes, but I found the characters to be very superficial.
In the first story for example, the girls berate the guys for not being more trendy in their choice of fashion. While it was a justifiable complaint, their behavior made them both seem too shallow and rather unlikeable. Plus Betty and Veronica are two different people, but here their dialogue seemed interchangeable which is poor storytelling in my opinion.
Also, though minor, I'd always seen Reggie as a very fashion aware "preppie" character. Seeing him in tattered clothes just went against the snotty rich boy persona I've always thought of him as.
I'll be curious to see how the audience takes to these new approaches to these classic characters and settings. This series certainly has potential, though I hope the stories are a bit better done in the future.
Paradise Kiss book 1
While B&V centered entirely on fashion, this series instead uses fashion as a background story for a coming of age romance story. Yukari is the typical young female student studying hard for her college entrance exams. When a gang of fashion students pick surprise her on the street asking her to be their model, she's a bit taken aback.
Yet as time goes on she finds herself taken in by their enthusiasm for what they do and who they are. As someone who always did what others expected of her, their rebellious nature intrigues her, especially the fashionably cool George who flirts with her.
I enjoyed how Yukari comes to appreciate and embrace new ways of thinking and behavior that at first seemed repulsive to her. The growth of her character, and how she realizes what her true feelings are is realistically done.
I look forward to seeing where this series and its characters wind up as I read future volumes.