Sunday, June 7, 2015

Awesome Con Loot -- The Dreamer Vol 1

On Saturday, I wandered through the comic section on the vendor floor. I wasn't planning to buy anything else. I had already bought three nice comics and one novel. However, something caught my eye. I saw a booth with art and comics filled with 18th century style fashion and a comic man with a tri-corner hat, giving me a debonair smile. I felt the tug closer to the booth.

I grew up in Massachusetts so I always had a bias towards Revolutionary War. I even took a couple classes in college focused specifically on Revolutionary history. I do feel I got too much of a sampling of American History throughout high school and a degree into college but I still just love the Revolutionary War period. I also kind of like early 20th century history too but that is a story for another time.

I kind of feel like the American Revolution kind of is not as talked about in media compared to WWII or the Civil War. Sure, you find interesting takes of it occasionally. I still need to watch Turn. And then there's something like Hetalia -- a manga about anthropomorphized countries -- where you have Great Britain suffering from empty nest syndrome.

Yeah, America has daddy issues and England has ~feels~

So, anyways, I was surprised to see a comic focused on the American Revolution. Turns out the comic was not just about the American Revolution. It is about a time traveler -- a modern day High School student named Beatrice Whaley -- who every time she goes to sleep, she wakes up in 1776 encountering war, love, and history. Then, when she falls asleep in 1776, she wakes up in current day in which she tries to deal with school and what do do with her crush and her school activities. The comic itself is called The Dreamer by Lora Innes.

I even met and got an autograph from the author.

When I heard the premise of the comic, I couldn't resist. I mean, it was just my wheelhouse. I spent two entries on this blog talking about how much I love Nobunaga Concerto -- another story about a time traveler and his influence on history. It also got me thinking about another jdrama I like, Samurai High School. After I watched Samurai High School, I got thinking of how such a story would translate using American History. And I think it would go very much like this. Bea and Kotaro have similar, dreamy personalities who just could stand to be a little braver. Also, the whole idea of going to sleep and waking up elsewhere, reminded me of Everworld -- a series of I was obsessed with in my youth.

I suppose I'm being a little misleading here by comparing the comic to other media. I can't help but find comparisons. I don't mean it in a bad way. I absolutely loved this comic. In fact, I just ordered the other two volumes. I know I can read it online but the colors on the actual paper are just so vivid and beautiful, making the characters really pop.

And the story was fun too. Beatrice has three dreamy guys to choose between. There is the dude in real life, Ben, who fits with her as being more down to earth than she is. Then there is dream Beatrice who clearly has a history with the daring and charming officer, Alan Warren. And conversely, there is the driven, slightly grumpy Nathan Hale in which he and Bea constantly argue. Yes, this comic is mostly a romance set in a pretty accurate historical setting. I expect the story will involve espionage and spies at some point (cuz Nathan Hale and Bea being from the future) but right now, vol 1 does a great job establishing the premise and the characters.

Nathan really stole the comic for me as a character. I do like Alan and Beatrice and her rambliness, but there was one panel of Nathan complaining about escorting Bea home against the orders of Washington and also because he wants to kill some redcoats. The dripping sarcasm in his rant was so beautiful, I knew I was hooked and it was because of Nathan. I can make a guess that the author takes great care of Nathan because it was his picture that pulled me to the booth to begin with. And when I pointed it out to author that that is why I was pulled over. She smiled and said, "Oh... Nathan...."

Nathan is such a grump but lovable, trying just a little too hard type of guy. And it just makes me nervous about liking him so much because we know how Nathan dies. He doesn't get a happy ending. Well, depends what you mean by happy ending -- he is often haled (see what I did there) as a martyr. Nathan Hale is more well known for an apocryphal statement he may or may not have made when the Brits hung him than for his actual acts of intelligence gathering and spying that was actually helpful to the cause. 

Still, though. I cackled when Bea watches Alan jump from tree to tree with awe then Nathan, looking annoyed, tells her, "He's an APPLE FARMER! Of COURSE he knows how to climb trees!"

Another aspect of Nathan I found was interesting is Innes draws Nathan with a rather prominent facial birthmark. It confused me at first because Nathan Hale is always depicted as somewhat grandiose. With no birthmark.

Exhibit A
 I actually had to search around for it but Nathan Hale DID have a prominent birthmark. And it was actually how he was eventually captured.


I am actually looking forward to the next couple of volumes. I could read it online but I prefer reading in books. The purchase was so worth it.

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