Off*Beat Book 1

Tory’s a really bright kid with some really strange hobbies. He documents everything in his notebooks, and he’s obsessed with the new neighbor, Colin, another 15-year-old who moved in at midnight.

Off*Beat Book 1 cover
Off*Beat Book 1
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Tory convinces his mother to switch him to Colin’s school, necessitating a two-hour commute from Queens to Long Island every day. There, Tory breaks into the guidance counselor’s office to find out more about the boy he’s fixated on Tory eventually gets to know Colin by using his perfect grades as an excuse to tutor him, along with a Student Council representative named Mandy.

The spying (almost stalking) and documenting reminded me of Harriet the Spy, only I don’t remember Harriet wanting to be so involved with the objects of her observations. There really is a mystery associated with Colin, although Tory goes too far in trying to figure it out.

The art is great, establishing the settings and the characters well in an unique blend of American independent and manga styles, but the pacing is sloooooooow. We’re both told and shown things about the characters in great detail and sometimes repetitively. In contrast, Tory mentions he learns a lot about Colin from his breaking-and-entering, but the story doesn’t share that information with us or follow up on it, which made me wonder “why bother?”

I really like certain elements of the story, mainly the realistic portrayal of a smart-but-bored teen and the art style, but it needed a lot more editorial guidance. There are too many elements that feel like dead ends, and as a result, I felt like the book was just getting started when it ended. This isn’t a Volume 1 as much as a Volume 0 or 1/2 — background to the story I think the author really wants to tell, or perhaps just the one I’d rather read.

Quick previously illustrated Once in a Blue Moon from Oni Press. Her art can be sampled at deviantART.

7 Responses to “Off*Beat Book 1”

  1. Tokyopop OEL — Able to Create a Satisfying Ending? » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] remaining series I’m going to talk about went three books. Or are assumed to, anyway. Off*Beat book one came out in 2005, with book two in 2006. Artist Jen Lee Quick says book three is due […]

  2. More on ADV’s Existence, Tokyopop OEL » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] with the decision not to end the series. She’s now working for DC. No one seems to know about Off*Beat, which doesn’t bode […]

  3. Off*Beat on Indefinite Hiatus » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] wasn’t crazy about the OEL manga/GN series Off*Beat, but I thought it had promise, and I really liked the characters. When I looked at what was going […]

  4. Raine Says:

    Hey, why isnt there a third volume? i know it says that it’s on haitus, but that was like four years ago right? the second one came out in 2006 right? i really want to read more of it, it was so interesting! I just loved the charecters, they had much more personality than almost every manga i’ve ever read!

  5. Johanna Says:

    Tokyopop went through some adjustments over the past four years, cutting their publications way back and eliminating most of their original (non-translated) works. I doubt we’ll see any more, unfortunately.

  6. Jen Lee Quick Still Plans to Continue Off*Beat » Manga Worth Reading Says:

    […] Off*Beat was one of the Tokyopop OEL manga titles, a quirky series by Jen Lee Quick about a boy genius and the friend he obsesses over. Book 1 was released in 2005, with Book 2 out late 2006. In 2008 came news that the series was on indefinite hiatus. That was after Tokyopop ended a lot of those original graphic novel series, or their creators were told they wouldn’t have additional volumes published. […]

  7. Chromatic Press to Reprint and Continue Off*Beat; New Publisher Aims Material at Women » Manga Worth Reading Says:

    […] month, Jen Lee Quick mentioned plans to reprint the first two volumes of her Tokyopop series Off*Beat and publish a new volume 3. Now, the company handling those books has been announced, and the […]




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