This third installment of Russian-born mangaka Svetlana Chmakova's Dramacon series concludes the story of manga writer Christie and her collaborating artist, Bethany. Each of these books focuses on Christie's experiences at a manga convention - the first year she goes is in volume one, the second year is covered in volume two, and this volume covers her third (and final) year.
Christie has come a long way since her first year, and as her relationship with total hottie Derek evolves, she finds herself putting her foot down and demanding to be treated in a courteous, respectful way. Of course, the fact that she's decided to cosplay this year (i.e. dress up as a favorite manga or anime character), and her costume didn't come out so well doesn't really inspire a whole lot of respect from others at the convention! When Derek's old girlfriend arrives to stir things up, Christie finds it hard to concentrate on her aspirations to connect with a publisher for her manga.
Meanwhile, Bethany's mother decides to visit the con, which Bethany has been describing as a cultural experience. Her mother is vehemently agaisnt any idea Bethany might have to become a professional artist because it is not a secure profession. Bethany wants to be an artist, but she is fine with continuing academics as well - she works very hard, but her mother never seems to be satisfied. When she finds out what's actually going on at the convention, things really heat up.
This would be a good introduction to manga for anyone interested in giving it a try. It is an original English-language manga, so it is read from left to right, front to back. There is an appealing combination of humor and romance, and the storyline about Christie and Bethany's manga collaboration and their ambition to become published authors is a compelling narrative arc that moves across all three books and will have readers rooting for the two talented, determined friends.
Books in the Dramacon series:
Dramacon, Volume 3 by Svetlana Chmakova (TokyoPop, 2007)
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The Fickle Hand of Fate: "The third volume doesn't have as much stuff about the con itself because it's keeping track of all the characters, but it's an excellent conclusion."