Written by Rick Spears
Art by Jim Mahfood, Ming Doyle, Nikki Cook, Tim Seeley
Letters by Troy Peteri
Release date: August 26, 2009
The hardcover graphic novel Jennifer’s Body is not a straight comic book adaptation of the upcoming film of the same name, although at a glance, buyers might not realize that. Rather, this graphic novel expands upon the Jennifer universe, created in the screenplay by Diablo Cody (Juno), and contains a collection of stories that tie into the events from the movie.
The main story of the film centers on Jennifer (played by Megan Fox), a beautiful high school cheerleader who every girl wants to be friends with and every boy wants to date. Her luck runs out one day after a demon enters her body when she’s used as a Satanic sacrifice. After that, Jennifer begins to kill and feed upon the boys at her school, while her best friend Needy plots to stop her. From previews and trailers, the movie has the dark comedy stylings and wicked female lead of Jawbreakers, but with more sex and gore.
The graphic novel, written by Black Metal‘s Rick Spears, actually has very little in it of Jennifer herself, though we do see her go in for the kill several times. Instead, we follow her soon-to-be victims and learn all about what makes them tick, so that when we see the film, we’ll know if they really got what was coming to them.
There’s four chapters, plus a prologue and an epilogue, with art provided for each by different artists. Each one follows a different boy and what’s happening in their life just before they meet their fate at the sharp fangs of Jennifer in the U.S. town of Devil’s Kettle. Jonas, the arrogant jock, who fears his steroid use will shrink his balls; Colin, the moody indie kid, who won’t conform to uniformity; Ahmet, the foreign exchange student, who’s having a rough time finding his place in middle America; Chip, Needy’s boyfriend, who just can’t seem to keep his pants dry (if you know what I mean). All of these boys, who project a certain image to the outside world that doesn’t always coincide with what they truly feel, find themselves lured in by Jennifer’s beauty and seductive charms. Seeing how they get roped in, you can’t really blame these hormone-fueled boys for falling for her. You almost wonder if they mind going out by the jaws of Jennifer.
Without having seen the movie, which comes out in theaters on September 18, the Jennifer’s Body graphic novel seems the perfect complement to what we already know of the main story. The storytelling itself is reminiscent of Charles Burns’ tale of teenage disease and woe, Black Hole, accompanied by the striking mannerisms of the demon Jennifer, whose large, sharp better-to-eat-you-with-my-dear teeth scream 30 Days Of Night vampires.
While I enjoyed Juno and love Diablo Cody’s quick-witted pop-culture-infused screenwriting, I previously had little interest in the Jennifer’s Body film. To me, it seemed to be yet another PG-13 horror banking on the boobs of its female lead. And though it probably really is a PG-13 horror film with Megan Fox’s boobs and other attributes as its meal ticket, I realize now that Cody’s screenplay is really what will make all the difference. The graphic novel takes Cody’s lead and reads a lot like what you would expect from her. When Chip is pondering on his dreams of rock stardom, he thinks, “Stuff may be rough now but, like the Cylons, I have a plan.” These little pop culture references are sprinkled throughout the book, staying very true to its parent material.
Now that I know a little more about the film and have gotten to know a lot about the characters, thanks to the graphic novel, I can honestly say I’m now looking forward to the movie. Also, even if you don’t plan to see the film, the graphic novel is worth a read all on its own. But be warned, from what I can tell, if you read the book first, you’re in spoiler territory.