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Enrico, Robin – Jam in the Band


Jam in the Band

Memory is a tricky thing. Bear with me; I’m reading a book now dealing with how you can convince yourself of fake memories because of repetition and doing whatever is necessary to put you in a better light, so I’ll just say that I thought that I’d been reviewing Jam in the Band issue by issue, piece by piece for a solid chunk of the last decade (which is how long Robin has been working on it). Turns out that I reviewed the preview comic (which I wasn’t thrilled with) and the first book (which I loved, but had a few complaints that were addressed with this completed volume). So yeah, bottom line: always get corroboration when your only source for something is your own memory. But hey, Jam in the Band! This is the complete story, and any doubts I had in the previous two reviews are wiped away with this completed epic. I was worried about Bianca (the lead singer) getting all the attention in the first book, but from then on the two other band members (Tiara and Corbin) take over, along with other characters, and Bianca fades into the background. Not completely though, as she has maybe the best story arc of the bunch. This one starts off with three young women in a band deciding to get out of their small town, with Bianca very much the ringleader of this plan. They get into a van and go on tour, things go reasonably well but two of them are still getting sick of the arrangement, when they get a lucky break and things start going their way. From there we see the three of them navigating this newfound fame, each in their own way before things take a turn for the worse. I’m not going to get too much more into the overall plot because it could be summed up pretty simply and spoiler-y, and because the real joy of this book is in the details. The various gigs they play, the people they meet along the way, the connections to their lives that they pick up and drop off, and how they each change and grow is a wonder to behold. I’m guessing that Robin probably wishes that he spent less than a decade on this book, but I don’t see how it could work any other way. Robin in his intro mentions that he changed plenty during that decade as well, and that experience carried over to this characters. If you’ve liked his past work you probably already have this (it came out in 2017 but I somehow lost track of my review copy until now), but if you missed this when it came out or have heard of Robin but never tried his stuff… you’re not going to regret giving this book a shot. $19.99

Enrico, Robin – Jam in the Band Preview


Jam in the Band Preview

OK fine it doesn’t say “preview” anywhere on the cover, but Robin makes it clear in the afterward that this is a sampling of projected 300 page or so graphic novel dealing with the rise of Pitch Girl, how a romance causes issues with the band and their “rise to small time fame”. This preview briefly introduces the members of the band, a love interest of one of the members (or more possibly, maybe that’s part of the conflict, pure speculation on my part), and a music reviewer. This issue on its own feels unfinished and a bit light, but yeah, that’s what a preview is alright. Without that afterward I wouldn’t have had a lot of good things to say about this, but as the start of a long project it’s damned intriguing. Robin’s work has been consistently engaging and fascinating for years, and I have no reason to doubt that this’ll end up any different. This is $1, and Robin mentions that he hopes to have the first book of this mammoth story done by SPX of 2008…

Enrico, Robin – Jam in the Band Book One


Jam in the Band Book One

Looking back on my review for the preview of this book, it’s clear that I was taking a lot on faith, mostly based on the fact that Robin hasn’t really done anything that I’ve hated yet.  I didn’t like the preview, but what the heck, it was just a tiny thing and could be changed all kinds of ways by the time the first book was finished.  Well, let’s hear it for faith, as this book is fantastic.  This tells the story of three young women who choose to leave a small town and head out on tour.  They’re essentially leaping blindly, as they have one gig lined up but are going to make everything else up as they go along, and plan to spend months trapped in a tiny van together.  Things start off with Nathan, a male friend of the band, finding out by accident that the girls are playing a gig near where he lives, and that nobody has bothered to tell him about the show.  Of course, at this point he hasn’t seen anybody in the band in three years… which naturally leads to an explanation of how everybody got where they are now.  Great setup to get everybody hooked in right away.  Robin also makes excellent use of fliers and small bit characters, documentary style, to flesh everybody else out.  I particularly liked the people from high school who stayed trapped in their small town and their various reasons for never leaving, but then, I grew up in a small town like that too, so empathy always scores big points around here.  We only get to see the barest glimpse of what’s happening now, as the band plays their show and a romance starts off, destined to be long distance if it’s going anywhere.  The only tiny complaint I have is that the other members of the band could stand to be fleshed out a bit more: we see plenty of Bianca (lead singer), but only relative flashes of Corbin and Tiara.  Still, with this only being the first book of the series and with my previous faith in this so thoroughly rewarded, I see no reason to doubt Robin now.  Check it out, on a page full of good comics this is one of the better ones you’ll find.  $10