Despite adorning the aisles of stores, toy-chests, shelves and even bedroom floors for forty-seven years, it seems that it is universally agreed that Barbie has made quite the impact this year. She even landed the famous brand massive head-lines with a new range of dolls that offered up new body shapes (tall, curvy and petite) and alternative skin tones and hair colours.
Yet as interesting as the toys are. There have also been notable additions to Barbie’s canon. This year three new films were released. And in each one we got to see new and different sides to the iconic character. But Barbie’s tales do not strictly limited to her on-screen stories.
Graphic novel publisher Papercutz has added a new series of graphic novels featuring the iconic character to their already long and impressive list of titles. Currently Papercutz’s web-site mentions three upcoming series, “Barbie,” “Barbie Puppies,” and “Barbie Starlight.” Even though it has been about twenty-years since Barbie appeared in comics. It look like her return is the meaning of grand.
Thanks to the great and talented people over at Papercutz. I was able to get a first look at Barbie’s first novel; Barbie Graphic Novel One, “Fashion Superstar.”
Here is the official summary;
Barbie is facing the same problems every young person is facing today—figuring out how to choose a career, in an economic environment that is becoming increasingly difficult for anyone to find a job. But Barbie is nothing if not optimistic and determined. Her interest in clothes leads her to seek employment in the highly competitive world of fashion. But as what? A model? A designer? Or something she never even dreamed of? As Barbie pursues her dream, she meets a diverse bunch of all-new friends that can help her… and some that may actually try to end her fashion career before it even starts!
Anytime I jump into a new story there is always instances of not being sure just how things will turn out. And I was more than pleasantly surprised just how much I loved both the story and art. Granted I made the mistake of reading right to left at first (hehe, manga-style…hehe).
I loved just how relatable Barbie and the over-all plot was.
Warning; spoilers below!
The story starts with Barbie working towards creating the perfect outfit for the upcoming fashion show. After being chosen out of thousands of applicants to be Whitney Yang’s assistant at her fashion show. Barbie is more than determined to do her best. Not only to reach her dreams, but also to impress her fashion hero.
Despite having several already ready and beautiful designs ready to go. Barbie brushes them off and focus in on her ‘vision’. A thing that Whitney had stated in interviews a designer needs. But as she starts to actually make her dress, several things occur to Barbie. One; that the dress she is pinning looks identical to one her idol had already made. And two, it simply is not working.
It is only thanks to her friend Liz does Barbie come to the conclusion that her own science-art fusion fabric is both unique and truly Barbie. Leading to a unique dress to come to life, and Barbie embracing her own vision.
Yet that is only half of what awaits Barbie at the fashion show. A model missing shoes, the musician walking out, a dress being ruined. A model down with the flu, the pressure to impress Whitney and her desire to get a pop star’s attention. Plus keeping the show going results in Barbie facing a problem after another.
It is only thanks to Barbie’s optimistic nature, willingness to help and resourcefulness that the show is about to continue on. And be a success and be the start of a new adventure.
Even though there was a lot going on; getting ready for the show and the events of the day of the show. The pacing was great.
One of the things that did strike a chord with me was that intentional struggle Barbie faced when it came to her design. Everyone always has someone they admire and want to impress. And sometimes that leads someone to believe that they have to do things that person’s way. That is the only way, or just blindly follow. Even though it was not a massive plot point I was glad that we got to see that. And moreover how Barbie dealt with that.
It really does come across as being the first chapter of a much larger and detailed story. It’s a good thing the next installment, “Big Dreams, Best Friends,” is slated for a release next year.
It is going to be fun to see how this progresses.
Once more a massive thank-you to Papercutz for giving me the chance to get a preview of the new series. Everything was beautiful and worked well together. I cannot wait to see what comes next.
Be sure to pick up your copy of “Barbie: Fashion Superstar” wherever books are sold!
Join the conversation: What series would you like to see get the graphic novel treatment?