I have been wildly behind in my graphic novel reading, so as I try to catch up, here are three good ones.
The Eternal Smile by Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim
Gene Luen Yang, author of the amazing American Born Chinese, and Derek Kirk Kim, author of the award winning Same Difference and Other Stories, combine forces to create a graphic novel about our desires. The three stories employ more twists and turns than any suspense novel.
In Duncan's Kingdom, Duncan must prove is worth to the princess by avenging her father's death, but he is haunted by the presence of a bottle of soda. Gran'pa Greenbax and the Eternal Smile is about a greedy frog who finds a floating smile in the sky. Greenbax wants to make as much money as he can from his discovery so he founds the Church of the Eternal Smile. In Urgent Request, Janet, a lonely secretary, responds to an email request from a Nigerian prince who needs Janet and her bank account’s help in securing his family's fortune.
In these stories, Duncan wants love, Gran'pa Greenbax wants more money and Janet wants significance, but they all come realize what they really need. Like in American Born Chinese, the three stories are all told in their own unique style. The Eternal Smile does not quite have the same impact as American Born Chinese, but it is still a must-read and a significant graphic novel.
Applegeeks Volume 1: Freshman Year by Mohammad F. Haque and Ananth Panagariya
This volume collects the amusing web comic series from 2003 and 2004. Jayce and Hawk are entering their first year of college. We see them deal with the important aspects of college including videogames, girls, arguing about comic book characters and building the perfect robot girlfriend. Haque and Panagariya do a nice job mixing social commentary and pop culture references. Some of the Applegeek comics are indeed clumsy and contain convoluted storylines, but ultimately this is an enjoyable collection. The volume also throws in a lot of extras including editorial comments by the series creators.
Orange by Benjamin
Orange is a high school student ready to commit suicide when she meets a strange figure who changes everything. Orange's world becomes twisted and it is quite uncertain as to what is real at all. Orange is a generous helping of angst coupled with stunning images. I'm also grateful for a large selection of Benjamin’s vivid artwork included in the volume.
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