Comfort Reads: Dramacon by Svetlana Chmakova

Dramacon, Volume 1From the author's website"When Christie settles in the Artist Alley of her first ever anime convention, she only sees it as an opportunity to promote the comic she had started with her boyfriend. But conventions are never what you expect and soon the whirlwind of events sweeps Christie off her feet and changes her life. Who is the mysterious cosplayer that won't even take off his sunglasses indoors? What do you do when you fall in love with a guy who is going to be miles away from you in just a couple of days?"

Fun fact:  when you get to link to a manga artist's website, it usually is a graphic beauty as opposed to the eyesore many an author's page can be.   Today, while perusing my list of read books, I decided to put up another comfort read, but a vastly different one than last time.  Instead of a much older, almost classic novel of a young woman, I wanted to tell you all about another weakness I have -- a love of mangas about teens. 

When I first picked this up, I wasn't too hopeful. It was an OEL (Original English Language) manga, and I had been biased to the Japanese mangas prior to reading Dramacon. However, Johanna at Comics Worth Reading highly recommended it and I so rarely disagree with her when it comes to manga that it seemed silly to not try it.

It was the most perfect manga I had ever read.  I hadn't even conceived of a manga possibly being as good as Dramacon.  Prior to reading it, I had decided manga was good for light reading and somewhat silly romances, but, after reading, I knew manga could tell a hell of a story if it wanted to.

Christie's adventures at an anime convention are easy to relate to even if you've never been to a con before (I never have).  Her first meetings with Matt made my stomach flutter, as it was easy to see that she could easily fall in love with this guy she had just met.  Both Christie and Matt are simply so well-realized.  Their interactions feel real and their feelings come across as legitimate.  After all, isn't it silly to get super attached to a guy you've just met, when he lives across the country?

The other people that Christie meets and befriends also come across as real people, not simply characters fulfilling needed roles. Quite truthfully, this is even better done in the second and third volume, but even in the first volume, it's obvious that Chmakova can write a believable character and their personality in just a few short panels.

To top it all off, the art is pretty good for this series too.  All the characters were easily differentiated and the scenes easy to follow.  God knows it's hard to say that about a lot of comics!  If you've never read a manga, I heartily suggest starting with this one.  Just don't fall in love too hard.  You're not going to find many of this quality.