Jem and the Holograms by Ross Campbell

Cover: Jem and the Holograms #1, Kelly Thompson and Ross Campbell. IDW Publishing, 2014.

IDW Publishing has officially released the creative lineup for their new Jem and the Holograms comic, which is set to debut in early 2015. Writer Kelly Thompson and artist Ross Campbell are responsible for bringing the popular 80s cartoon to a modern audience in comic format.

On her blog, Thompson stated:

Ross’s and my pitch to IDW really was a co-creator effort – Ross has a HUGE love for the classic Jem series as most of you know (he’s probably an even bigger fan than I am) and so we really worked together on re-imagining a relevant Jem for a modern savvy audience that I hope is still totally rooted in and respectful of the classic Jem.

Thompson describes herself as a “general feminist comics troublemaker”. This in tandem with her enthusiasm for the Jem property has excellent potential to shake things up with the Jem characters in a contemporary setting.

In the 80’s Jem/Jerrica struck a chord (…see what I did there) with girls in a way that few female characters had before. In addition to managing a corporation, and an orphanage, and being a secret rock star, Jem/Jerrica longed for the trappings of a normal life, like time for her friends and a fulfilling relationship with someone with a good heart and an on trend haircut. Jem exemplified the modern woman trying to have it all. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t. But whatever absurd situation she found herself in she handled herself with humility and spunk. Jem’s glamor and resilience continues to resonate with many who loved the show when it premiered nearly three decades ago, and it’s clear that Thompson and Campbell are among them.

Jem by Ross Campbell

Jem by Ross Campbell

In the official press release, Thompson describes Campbell as “an artist practically destined to draw this book”. Campbell has a flair for designing characters that are genuine, outrageous, alternative and totally relatable, all at the same time. His works are unfailingly populated with diverse casts, including characters of color, characters with a vast range of body types, and characters  representing the spectrums of gender and sexuality. This inclusivity has been apparent across the body of Campbell’s work, from his indie projects to his big franchise comics such as Glory and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. From the images that have been released so far, it’s already apparent that his unique aesthetic and emphasis on diverse character design has breathed new life into classic Jem characters and the world created by Christy Marx.

In a 2011 interview, Marx stated: “I know exactly what I would do to bring the series in a way that would satisfy the fans of the first series and launch a whole new way to do Jem for a new generation. I would love to be able to do that.” But like the 2015 live action film adaptation, it does not appear that Marx is directly involved with the comic reboot.

The official press release revealed the following about the premise for the new comic series:

It’s the 21st century, and Jem and The Holograms are 21st century girls! Meet Jerrica Benton, the gifted singer of The Holograms, a band that has the right look and the right sound… But one thing is holding them back—Jerrica’s crippling stage fright. Luckily, Jerrica is about to find help in the most unlikely of places when she discovers a forgotten present left by her father. And what she finds is truly outrageous!

With a new look, a new premise, and a creative team that’s deeply invested in the property, this new Jem and the Holograms might just be outrageous enough to live up to the original.

Jem and the Holograms will be hitting local comic book shop shelves and digital distributors in March of 2015, with pre-order codes available in January.