Since I’ve been talking so much about series endings recently, I started thinking about Jen Lee Quick’s Off*Beat, becoming nostalgic for the days when I thought I would never see the three-volume series end.
First published by Tokyopop back in 2005 as a part of a line of original English-language manga (OEL), it was pulled from its lineup before the third volume was published. The third volume, which was still licensed by the struggling manga distributor, was further held up when Tokyopop stopped distributing manga in North America altogether. And so I, like so many fans of the series, assumed that volume three would never be released.
This of course was horrible. In Off*Beat, Jen Lee Quick delivered a fascinating and original take on the manga-style. Including both realistic and fantasy elements in her artwork, Quick’s art sucks the reader in. Most of all, it accurately depicts the complexity and eagerness of teenage emotions. We see the main two characters, Tory and Colin, developing a subtle relationship while the reader is wondering about the mysterious Gaia Project that Colin is involved in. Is it magic? Science? The pacing in the first two volumes was so leisurely that I had no idea where the series was going.
But then, in July 2013, the online magazine Sparkler Monthly began publishing volume three, chapter by chapter, month by month. And while it was exciting, and the ending was well-done (if not a bit rushed), I miss not knowing the ending. I feel spoiled and ridiculous for even thinking it, but a part of me loved not knowing the ending to this mystery.
But still, thank you Sparkler Monthly, for letting us all see the ending to Jen Lee Quick’s teenage masterpiece. Even though I miss not knowing the ending, I will forever be grateful for the conclusion.