1. Rashida Jones is Awesome
This interview in Vanity Fair brings out the best of Jones, who manages to work in how people go to Sundance just for the freebies, why celeb rags like Us Weekly are evil, the rise and fall of Michael Jackson, the difference between American and European socialites (read: intellect and underwear), hot chicks kicking ass, why she's more of a Betty than a Veronica (including why Jughead's "the hot, dirty, sexy, one"), and something about her dating John Mayer, which I am going to pretend I didn't read. Also, what's on her iPod is cool.
2. It's Based on a Paris Hilton Fantasy
Back when Paris was at her height of fame and people were just obsessed with her, I had this funny notion that she's actually some crazy genius who knew exactly what she was doing, and she was just conducting this elaborate anthropological study on the world. I imagined that she was going home every night and whispering into her mini-recorder: "Day three hundred and twenty seven. I continue to have them all fooled." That was sort of where the idea for this comic started. And also, I'm obsessed with our country's almost cannibalistic obsession with people who are famous for no other reason than that they're famous. I thought, "Wouldn't it be interesting to give somebody like Paris Hilton another layer? What if her fame is something more than just an overwhelming need to be an object of desire?" Ariana is a little bit reluctant to be in the spotlight, and there's a sadness to that.
3. Oni Press is Publishing Frenemy
During the height of my manga obsession, when I was tithing 10% of my after tax income to comics stores and my friends jokingly referred to guys behind the counter as my "pushers," one of the lovely counter jockeys at Big Planet Comics tried his best to get me to come back to the American fold.
His suggestion? Oni Press, which has some of the most visually appealing (at least to my eye) and female protagonist-heavy books in the industry. The covers from Chynna Clugston's 60s mod rom-comic Scooter Girl line my walls - and my love of that series lead me to check out more of her work (like Hopeless Savages and Blue Monday) and to regularly skim the new comics rack for the Oni logo instead of bee-lining to the tiny manga section.
When I moved away, I found less and less reason to darken Big Planet's doorstep - but any new hotness from Oni Press is worth a return visit, especially for Frenemy of the State.
4. There's Already a Movie Deal
Jones optioned the the rights to Frenemy, but doesn't plan to star in the film. She tells Variety:
"It's intended for a girl much younger than me, about age 20, an interesting age for girls as they make that scary jump to adulthood," she said. "She has lived a life of privilege, attended the best schools and learned every language, but her obsession with spying on exes gets her into trouble and she is recruited to be a spy in exchange for not going to prison. There is a comic element to it, this girl who is so conscious of social standing and wearing the right shoes, suddenly becoming responsible for these dangerous, life-threatening missions."
She is, however, co-writing the screenplay.
5. Brown People On The Cover
One of the first things I noticed about the cover of Frenemy of the State was the diverse group of people portrayed on the cover. It's too soon to tell if they will all play major roles in the comic (much less if they make it to the screen), but it is certainly refreshing to see a fantasy world that includes both a central female character and other people of color.
CCI: Oni Press Panelmonium [Comic Book Resources]
Rashida Jones is All About Hot Chicks Kicking Ass! [Vanity Fair]