Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mangaman by Barry Lyga Illustrated by Colleen Doran YP FIC LYGA

Ryoko Kiyama is not your typical transfer student.  He isn’t from Japan.  He’s from Japanese comics.  Now he’s stuck in a world that he doesn’t understand, a world that fears and distrusts him: high school.   When he meets Marissa Montaigne he falls in love and has a dilemma: go home or stay with Marissa. 

This is a great concept.  Eastern comics meeting ‘realistic’ Western comics.  Ryoko has all the manga clichés we know and love: speed lines, giant sweat drops, deformed features in response to emotion, etc.  You can see how seeing these things from a person in real life would be very upsetting.  All this would make for a fun examination of some of manga’s sillier tropes, but Lyga does more with this story.  He uses it to examine the fabric of reality and the nature of the comic medium.  This is an absolute must read for manga fans and I think non-manga fans will enjoy it as a parody of manga. 

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