Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Johnny Hiro: Half Asian, All Hero by Fred Chao YP FIC CHAO

Johnny Hiro is not a hero…really.  He just minds his own business and tries to (barely) make ends meet and keep from ruining things with his girlfriend.  Sure he may occasionally have to face down a giant monster, business men turned samurai, or the FEARSOME WRATH OF JUDGE JUDY, but that’s just what life in the big city is like.

This is a surprisingly hilarious graphic novel that brings out the comic side of comics.  The art is sort of loose and sometimes feels amateurish compared to some more accomplished draftspersons, but the off-kilter, absurdist humor won me over again and again.  Johnny is a slacker, 20-something without much ambition, drive, or vision, but he slowly grew on me.  He may not want a lot out of life but he fights zealously for what’s important to him as bizzarro situations come left and right.  I mentioned above that he has to face down Judge Judy and I was not joking.  What’s even better is that he faces her in night court, but not any night court, Night Court.  The much loved mid 80s-early 90s sitcom starring John Larroquette, Markie Post, Richard Moll, Charles Robinson, and Marsha Warfield.  ALL of which are in this comic in a pitch perfect recreation of the series. The book also features NYC mayor Bloomberg, LL Cool J, Alton Brown, and many other completely hilarious unnecessary cameos. These types of off the wall tributes to ENTIRELY dated 80s and 90s pop culture keep things fresh and liven up what could be another karate/samurai/Asian sterotype montage send up.  And we do have LOADs of Japanese stereotypes thrown around for humor, but they are done in a way that looks playfully at the nature of stereotypes and the difficulties of living between differing cultures. This is a very original and out there comic with loads of humor and some real heart.  I’d highly recommend it to comic fans who like a good dose of humor and especially the Scott Pilgrim fans out there.

You can check our catalog for Johnny Hiro here.

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