Notables 2010: Hellen Jo’s Jin and Jam

Hellen JoJin and Jam, no. 1. 2008

Jin & Jam is about two disaffected teens creating somewhat-surreal chaos to make their suburban (OK, San Jose) life less ordinary. The details are funny (conjoined twins, fights over french fries) but it’s the elegant drawing that really sets this one apart.

As an aside, Hellen Jo is one of the latest of a very vibrant cohort of Asian-American cartoonists telling stories—finally—of people who look like them. There’s such a dearth of diversity in comics (and in pop culture generally). I’ve been extremely interested to see great comics in the last five or so years by the likes of Jillian Tamaki, Derek Kirk Kim, John Pham, Gene Luen Yang, GB Tran, Lark Pien, Laura Park, Jason Shiga, and Adrian Tomine with Asian-Americans as their main characters. The fact that this comic, and those by the artists above, are so excellent, is of course the most important thing. But the new POV is a very nice plus.

Age: teen

What is this “Notable” thing all about? Matt and Jessica are the series editors for the Best American Comics, and are responsible for the Notable Comics list at the back of the book, which is comprised of virtually all the comics we sent to the guest editor that weren’t picked, as well as a number of others that we think are noteworthy for various reasons, but that we didn’t send to the guest editor.

We’ve always hoped readers will delve a bit into the list to find more great stories once they finish reading BAC. Realistically, though, we know that’s tough. What can you know about a story from a title and author? So this is one of a series of posts focusing on each of the Notables from the 2010 Best American Comics.

Have or know of a comic we should look at? Find submission info here.


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