- Posted by Johanna on January 13, 2006 at 10:13 pm
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- CREDITS: written by J. Torres; art by Eric Kim
- PUBLISHER: Oni Press; $5.95 US
The most unusual thing about this graphic novel is its format. It’s the independent equivalent of what the superhero publishers call prestige format — each installment of the continuing story is 72 pages in a slim volume with a square spine.
Joel, an American, is teaching English in Korea, but he’s quickly grown sick of the country, with numerous scenes showing culture clash between his wants and expectations and his reality. The book is billed as a romance, where Joel becomes torn between going home and a burgeoning love, but in this installment, he’s barely even met the girl.
Torres and Kim do a terrific job making the reader feel immersed in an unfamiliar (to most) country. The Korean dialogue is translated in endnotes, so the reader can find out what’s being said, but not immediately. Much attention is paid to establishing the setting artistically, with sequences of wordless pages showing Joel’s day-to-day life while emphasizing his isolation. It’s all played lightly, with good amounts of humor.
The pacing is leisurely. The reader may conclude the issue thinking “I wish more had happened”, but I suspect that’s meant to bring them back for the next installment. There are preview pages available at the Oni Press website.