Deb Aoki’s Bento Box

You may have read Deb Aoki‘s manga coverage at, but did you know she was also a cartoonist?

Deb Aokis Bento Box cover
Deb Aoki’s Bento Box
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Deb Aoki’s Bento Box collects her favorites of her weekly strips from the Honolulu Advertiser between 1996 and 2006. Some are specifically about life in Hawaii, but most are just slice-of-life events that could happen to anyone, whether they live on an island or not.

Although the book opens with a series called “Dating in the Nineties”, the types and problems are still relevant. In fact, I could imagine Aoki’s female characters hanging out with the Girls With Slingshots. The style and content are even more similar to Patty Leidy’s Zero Hour.

Many of the strips deal with relationships, pets, the differences between men and women, or generational changes (“remember when” about the 80s or how she sees herself getting older). My favorites, just because they were different, were those that were distinctly Hawaiian. They also have helpful explanatory notes underneath clarifying local slang or items.

These are typical newspaper strips, light entertainment without much sticking power, but it made for a relaxing weekend afternoon read. Especially the technology-based strips, which were quite a throwback. Remember when they used to call it the World Wide Wait? Or people used floppy discs? Or played with Tamagotchi? I liked the way she also used more than the typical 3 or 4 panels, so the strips felt like they had relatively more content.

You can see current strips, now in color!, at the Honolulu Advertiser site. (A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the artist.)

5 Responses to “Deb Aoki’s Bento Box”

  1. Lyle Says:

    I was a big fan of her work when I lived in ‘lulu. She had one series I recall that included at least one tech joke that’s still relevant. The series was called “Gods of the Office” (IIRC) starting with Queue, goddess of the shared printer. The memory of Aioki’s office workers worshiping the printer in hopes of their print job printing successfully still has me laughing.

  2. Deux Yaoi: A Sampling — Kiss All the Boys, Take Me to Heaven, Two of Hearts » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] in any of these, you may want to take advantage of Deux’s $5 sale. And my thanks to Deb Aoki for sharing these books with me. […]

  3. Ed Sizemore Says:

    I was reading through the Honolulu Advertiser archives and this is a wonderful comic strip. I love the art and the humor. I haven’t gotten to the older technology strips, but I look forward to them.

  4. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » April 15, 2009: Belittled, annoyed, infuriated Says:

    […] [Review] Deb Aoki’s Bento Box Link: Johanna Draper Carlson […]

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    […] did you know that she also draws her own comic, Deb Aoki’s Bento Box? Johannna Draper Carlson reviews her latest print edition at Comics Worth […]




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