Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Koko Be Good by Jen Wang YP FIC WANG

Jon and Koko are opposites. Koko is a free-spirited, careless, and selfish party girl and Jon has decided to dedicate his life to helping others. Jon is planning to head to Peru to be with his girlfriend, but he isn’t sure if he is following his dream or hers. When Koko and John collide Koko is inspired to ‘be good’, but she isn’t very good at it. Jon is inspired to question what good is, but it may just destroy all his plans.

This is an amazing debut graphic novel by Jen Wang. She has created a truly intelligent and mature look at the aimless twenties that feels fresh and original. If you are (like me) a fan of indie comics then you (like me) have read WAY TOO MANY stories about twenty-somethings finding themselves. And you may (like me) be SO OVER the free-spirited girl changing the uptight guy storyline. Why is this book worthwhile and different? Well, the art is absolutely fantastic and makes the book worth the reading all by itself. It looks sort of like the artwork for the band The Gorillaz but using inkwash. Ink wash is taking ink and thinning it in water to get subtle shades of gray. It adds shape and dimension to the designs and helps it be more than just COOL (but it is really cool). Also Wang really has fun with layout and has a lot more movement and expressiveness in her characters then a lot of indie comics. So even though there is no ‘action’ it feels like a lot is going on. In addition to the clearly super great art, the characters feel fleshed out and developed. Koko is one of the better “free spirited pixie types” I have read in a long long time, and Wang shows very well how annoying the type can be while still remaining likeable. So, if you like indie comics or just cool comics for the cool kids, then this is a fun read with great art that has a lot of heart.

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