Fans still smarting from the critical and box office drubbing received by the Jem And The Holograms movie can take some solace in knowing that the franchise’s creator, Christy Marx, is an awesome woman who had nothing to do with that abomination. Marx is the subject of the premiere episode of a new video series at The Front called Off Hollywood, billed as “a documentary series that covers influential and under-recognized filmmakers and gives them a chance to tell their story.” Off Hollywood is the brainchild of analog video artist JJ Stratford and has a strong vintage feel, perfect for discussing the extremely 1980s Jem series with the woman who helped bring it into existence.
As the interview reveals, Christy Marx has a long and varied history in writing for comic books and animation, beginning when she was a child and used a ball-point pen to draw skirts and boobs on Robin so that there would at least be a strong female character in the Batman comics she was reading. As an adult, Marx started writing for Marvel Comics, getting her foot in the door with a Conan The Barbarian story written from a female character’s point of view. From there, she branched out into writing for animated series based on Marvel properties like Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four. Soon she was writing for lots of action-packed, male-dominated series, such as G.I. Joe, where she made a point of giving the Scarlett character a satisfying backstory.
Jem And The Holograms presented a unique challenge: Build a show around some Hasbro toy prototypes and the vague premise of combining rock music with holograms. To her credit, Marx took the task seriously, making a study of both holographic technology and music videos. As “truly, truly, truly outrageous” as the show was, Marx made sure to include as much emotional depth and character development as she could between the mandated action scenes. As for the 2015 film? Marx is disappointed but realistic: “I don’t own Jem. It’s a Hasbro franchise. Reboots happen.”