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Big Jo brings big heart
Kara Heady
Wednesday, May 22, 2019

“Big Jo,” created by Julia Arostegi, is an online comic about Joan Rodriguez, an overweight high school student with a reputation for being rude and competitive. The entire student body refers to her as “Big Jo.” She takes it in stride and begins to refer to herself as “Big Jo,” but on the inside, she is tired of the bullying and wishes to change. She no longer wants to be the overweight girl, but Jo refuses to let her fellow students see this. One day, their school is visited by the producers of an offensive reality TV show that is all about weight loss. They offer the school a chance to feature any student and their coach if they undergo the most dramatic transformation.

The school’s star athlete, Tom, is dying to be on the show as a coach and to find someone who will have the most dramatic transformation under his training. He comes to Jo under the false pretense that he wants to train her because he used to be an overweight kid and just wants to help her be more happy with her body. To his surprise, Jo agrees and begins to train. She launches into a journey of self discovery, but Tom refuses to tell her the truth even when they begin to get closer as friends and to the show’s deadline.

“Big Jo” is an amazing comic that anyone can enjoy. The characters are diverse, amazing and make readers care more deeply about the story. The story is full of humor, despite the melancholy truth that Jo has yet to face. The art is wonderful and shows so much emotion through the design and colors used.

The characters in “Big Jo,” make it worth reading. Jo is a relatable character that everyone can find a piece of themselves in. She is a strong, independent girl who also wants to reinvent herself. She wants to prove everyone that she is more than her weight. Most people have been in situations where they want to reinvent themselves and this comic captures the hardships and struggles one has to go through when trying to better themselves. Tom provides a lot of comedic relief along with his friends, Shorty and Mac. Mac is also participating in the competition with the goal of trying to make Shorty taller. Jo and her own friends also improve the show as they help her train. They are incredibly supportive and say some of the most inspirational quotes about accepting one’s self that the series has. Almost everyone has someone they can rely on for support and Jo’s friends accurately capture the support team people need when going through a big change.

The story is absolutely phenomenal. It is about more than just Jo losing weight, but it is also about her discovery of where her bad eating habits come from, and her history of diets. It is an inspirational story of one girl’s goal of becoming a version of herself that she can love. It can be emotional, but there are some parts where the humor interrupts touching moments between the characters. There are some moments where the jokes are ill timed, like when Jo and Tom are discussing Jo’s lack of motivation and progress, and then suddenly a character will come out of nowhere and begin to do something silly, which completely kills the mood and leaves the audience wondering if they should be solemn or laughing.

Despite some of the flaws in the plot, the emotions of the characters are portrayed excellently with the author’s unique art style. They go from a simplistic style that displays the characters in a more cartoonish style that resembles the art from “Adventure Time.” Then, during important scenes, the artist will draw in a more realistic style with accurate proportions. The artist also creates interesting panels by drawing detailed backgrounds. The scenery she creates is beautiful and creates a unique atmosphere that helps portray the story without explicitly telling the reader.

“Big Jo” is a great comic that is perfect for readers who are looking for a comedic or inspirational yet simple read. The characters are hilarious and relatable. The plot is easy to follow, but filled with twists and romance that keep the reader interested. The art only enhances the comic and never gets in the way of the story the author is trying to convey. Readers can find this lovely comic at Webtoons.com or the webtoons app, where it can be read for free.