Tephlon Funk Manga Demo Review: Who Rules Queensbridge?
“Queensbridge, That’s where I’m from, I hate This Place!” is how one of the main characters Inez Jozlyn, introduces the world of Tephlon Funk manga to the audience. Inez Jozlyn quickly establishes the class boundaries between living in Queens, while looking out the window staring over the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan. It is clear that Inez is frustrated living in the projects and is willing to do anything to get out, even if it means selling drugs. While she is on route to find Kefflow and Byrd, (the two main drug dealers to work for in the neighborhood) she meets Gabriel Ainsley who is a charismatic individual that attempts to stop her from selling drugs. In a surprising turn of events her help is requested in order to get back something important that was stolen by Kefflow and Byrd, which is called “Tephlon Funk”. Meanwhile through NYPD at 774th Precinct we find out “Tephlon Funk” is a new kind of marijuana that is 10 times more potent and much more difficult trace. The Demo ends with the NYPD establishing “Operation: 6 Block” in order to flush out “Tephlon Funk” before it spreads into other neighborhoods, which lead to another main character introduction named Cameron Phoenix who will be working undercover on this case.
The Tephlon Funk manga is only 19 pages long, but it establishes the desperation of the characters to combat a clearly unjust world; where wanting to get out of the projects can lead people to do unsavory things in order to survive. Sadly, those unsavory things get can get people in trouble with law enforcement. Thus the cruel cycle of systemic oppression continues to rear its ugly head. The characters we have been introduced to thus far are interesting in their own unique ways. For example, even though Inez and Gabriel are complete strangers they quickly established a rapport with each other that will be a lot of fun to watch grow. They seem to make a good team since it is clear they will be working together to find “Tephlon Funk”. This Demo raised a lot of questions for me, for instance: what is “Tephlon Funk”? The NYPD say it is a new form of marijuana, but is that really true? What are those shadowy figures that constantly appear in Inez’s dreams? What did Gabriel do to Cameron? Will this be a slice of life drama? Will there be supernatural themes?
A good demo makes the readers come back for more. This demo definitely made me want to read and learn about what the creator for the series has in store for us. The beautiful drawing of the “Tephlon Funk” is reminisced of the animated version of “Boondocks” by Aaron McGruder and the Japanese manga “Vagabond” by Takehiko Inoue. Based on the bios of both the creator and his team, Japanese anime and manga are a clear influence on their works so I am excited to see how they will utilize their skills in order to further enrich the world of “Tephlon Funk”.
I cannot speak for the other characters because they have not been fully introduced, but one of the most important things that “Tephlon Funk” quickly addresses is that the main characters are complex and that they have their own reasons why they operate a certain way. In a world that quickly demonizes people of color in any platforms of social media we are constantly robbed of opportunities to tell our own narratives. Even within Japanese anime and manga people of color, queer, and trans people of color are hardly represented and when they do appear in any series they are often depicted in demeaning ways. Despite all these problems we love these mediums because there are so many ways to tell stories either through animation or manga that is just not possible through live action films.
If you want more information and videos about Tephlon Funk! You can find them all over social media. Be sure to check out their Kickstarter page, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and Instagram, be sure to watch their animatic video on Youtube!
More about the author:
ThatLatinxChick was originally born in New York City and essentially lived there until the age of 17 when I had to move to Toronto in order to attend University. I’m currently 26 struggling to survive in this weird ass world. I’am a self identified Queer Latinx with Quechua ancestry who is involved with social justice work of all kinds. Aside from that I’am an avid lover of anime, manga, and cartoons. You can find me on Twitter