by Sekihiko Inui; adaptation by Ross Richie
published by Tokyopop; $9.99 US
Any fan who’s ever been to a convention will recognize the setting of Comic Party, complete with all the clichés.
When Kazuki doesn’t get into his chosen art school, his friends Mizuki (a cute girl) and Taishi (a geek) take him to an anime, manga, and gaming convention in order to help him find a focus for his creativity. Inspired, Kazuki prepares to put together a comic and debut it at a show. Taishi directs him by showing him this path, but he’s also a distraction with his toys and fannish obsessions. Other situations include guys driven crazy at the sight of a girl who shares their interests and shy artists who pour their emotions into their work.
Common experiences are treated in a slapstick fashion, whether it’s getting through the crowd of people in line to get in the doors or avoiding frothing fanboys denied their free giveaway swag. Mizuki just happens to have a nail-studded baseball bat, similar to the kind used in pro wrestling matches, that helps her control crowds of fanboys milling about. Everything here is exaggerated, jumping from emotional highs to lows.
Comic Party attempts to capture the passion of creators who draw comics out of love and need. Coming together in one location allows artists to inspire others or to engage in competition, friendly or otherwise. Through this volume, Kazuki experiences the highs and lows of trying to create a comic and bring it to a waiting audience, complete with advice on how to be a dedicated artist.
It’s nothing new or unusual, but those who can’t attend conventions may enjoy seeing one captured on paper, however quick and shallow the observations.