Lovefool 03.14.11 | Summer Camp in Three Days

With C2E2 looming this weekend, Lovefool has her mind on Svetlana Chmakova’s convention season romance series Dramacon.


Convention seasons seems to be upon us once again, nerdlings, and the intrepid PLAYBACK:stl staff will be scattering to various places at various times to dress up in silly cosplays and go to panels filled with other nerds. We will gather and be nerds in our natural habitat, gasp over screen-accurate costumes and handily improvised ones, fling money at imported candy dealers and spend waaaaaaay too much money. We’ll stay up late, we’ll meet up with old friends and make new ones, there’s going to be drinking and dining and cab rides and Adventure-with-a-capital-a!

It was at one of these events, a few years ago, that I picked up Svetlana Chmakova’s Dramacon. I was wandering through the aisles of a convention alone, having slipped away from my friends to go buy manga, when I came across the hefty Ultimate Edition and immediately bought it. Dramacon is a three-volume story about an amateur mangaka who meets a cosplayer at her first convention and the relationship they develop over three years of attending the same event. I’ve never attended a convention unattached but Christie Laroux, our heroine, didn’t start out that way, either. She has a harrowing experience that breaks up her relationship, but quickly bonds her to some new friends, including her new potential beau.
I can see where that would happen—conventions are magical. Conventions are like a capsule summer camp for adults, where we suspend our obligations for a while. They are a time for us to shed the worries that we normally carry around and have a good time. We all become butterflies, flitting about. We exchange email addresses and send texts to people that we wouldn’t have encountered any other way. We do things a little outside of our comfort zones, sometimes, because it seems like the thing to do. It’s no surprise, then, that Chmakova’s Christie becomes a butterfly in an almost literal way over the course of these three years.
The relationship develops so naturally, so slowly, over the three years with such fits and starts that I find myself sucked in. I’m completely captivated. It’s such a tease, but it’s not an endless 30 volume collection; it’s as complicated as you would imagine a con romance to be but it’s sweet and ends well without, as the author puts it, the “Paradise Kiss ending” I find so bittersweet. The design and costumes and art are all fabulous, which just makes it even more compelling. Generally, all of those things come together to make a good comic romance, and Dramacon is one of those. I’m not in the market for a convention romance but if I were, I’d be thinking of this book the entire time.
Speaking of manga and on a far more sober note, everyone with a television or internet connection or any way of communicating with the outside world has surely heard about the tragedy that has befallen Japan since we last spoke. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Japanese culture; I love manga and Japanese art and Hello Kitty and Sakura Kit-Keats and have been known to sit quietly and non-snarlingly through samurai movies with subtitles. I like to think that I’m here right now on your computer screen, writing about love and comics for you, because I saw Sailor Moon a long, long time ago and fell in love with Usagi and Mamoru falling in love.
Japan holds a special place in my heart, which is a little broken for them right now. I know times are hard out there for everyone but, if you could spare a few bucks, Google has kindly gotten together some donation links here. Not all of these charities are directly working with relief efforts, but a good many of them are so check their pages. Do it for ancient screen panels. Do it for J-pop. Do it for the CNN coverage we’re all glued to. Do it for your Lovefool and Sailor Moon. But do it if you can, will you? | Erin Jameson

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