Dramacon: Vol. 1 by Svetlana Chmakova

Image form Wikipedia
In the hopes of expanding my reading repertoir, I decided to give manga a try. I've always loved anime on television. There's Super Book, Flying House, Sailor Moon, Saber Marionette, Akazukin Chacha etc. So I thought, anime on paper would suit me just fine. I was like a fish out of the water when I was deciding as to what title would be good for a first time manga reader like me. Now, I applaude (clap, clap) myself for picking Dramacon. 

Summary from Goodreads: 

When amateur writer Christie settles in the artist alley of her first ever anime convention, she sees it only as an opportunity to promote the manga she had started with her artist boyfriend. But when she unexpectedly falls for a mysterious cosplayer, things become very complicated. Because what do you do when you fall in love with someone who is going to be miles away from you in just a couple of days? Web-comic vet and Ignatz Award-nominated creator Svetlana Chmakova gives us a funny, romantic, behind-the-scenes look at an anime convention--where sometimes even two is a crowd!

 The premise of this manga seems like your pretty standard stuff. "Love triangle, mysterious hot guy, girl-next-door, jerk boyfriend,crying, romantic moments..." But I am surprised at how engrossing the book is and how eager I am to know what happens next. In fact, I read it in one sitting. The characters are relatable, the drawing is superb. Facial expressions and gestures truly depicted the feelings needed to be depicted and the humor was held steady in the dialogue and even in the illustration itself with exaggerated gestures and the depiction of metaphors.  Such as making Christie small when she was actually feeling small/insecure.

This manga is set in an Anime Convention which makes it a really good first manga for newbies like me. It provided me with an introduction as to what goes on in the Anime and manga world via an Anime Convention. The cosplays, artists tables, dealers, anime merchandise...practically something along the lines of a Comic Con only it's, well Anime.  And just like Comic Con, it's a whole new world inside an Anime Convention and I was able to feel that through this book and that's another plus.

The plot despite seemingly standard as I've mentioned, takes a dip into the serious side during the later part of the book which made for an excellent twist. 

Another plus is that at the end of the comic book there, what I call, bonus pages. First is the Svetlana Makes Manga section where she takes us through the creative process of conceiving Dramacon. She has written explanations and shows some initial sketches for the book. Another is the hilarious On The Set Section where the Characters gets to inhibit the same space/world as the creator. There is even a portion where the author interviews her main characters: Christie and Matt. Lastly is the Fan Art Section with lovely drawings. 
All in all this was a terrific first manga. I definitely want to get the other volumes in the Dramacon series.


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