*Johnny Hiro — Best of 2009

Imaginative adventure is best when underlined by caring young love.

Johnny Hiro cover
Johnny Hiro
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Johnny is a busboy whose girlfriend Mayumi is kidnapped by Godzilla in the first story in this book. While racing to her rescue, Johnny’s mind flashes back to previous times he’d faced great injury. It’s that playful awareness that makes this more than just another slacker-starring action tale. Nothing happens as expected, but even in the weirdest event, there’s a sense of reality that stems from the core of the characters. Fighting giant monsters is punctuated with concern over getting back the apartment security deposit, for example.

The art is wonderful, thin linework with shading for depth and detail for verisimilitude. It’s active and has a great sense of motion, plus a strong sense of place, capturing the craziness of New York City. A lot of it is a love letter to the city and all that can happen there.

Another story in this volume features Johnny having to steal a lobster to get ahead at work. The chase scenes allow for lots of dynamite action leavened with philosophy, plus occasional commentary by Alton Brown, which tickled me immensely. Johnny and Mayumi also go to the opera, which is interrupted by a samurai attack in the men’s room, and then he’s sent to fix a messed-up order from the fishmonger. Finally, he and Mayumi go to court (only it’s Night Court run by Judge Judy) against their landlord.

Not only did I get amazing cartooning and fun, playful adventure, I even learned some things in terms of how to think about life. You should read this.

9 Responses to “*Johnny Hiro — Best of 2009”

  1. A roundup of best-of comics lists | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment Says:

    […] • Johanna Draper Carlson reviews the best comics of 2009: R. Sikoryak's Masterpiece Comics; Erika Moen and Lucy Knisley's Drawn to You; and Fred Chao's Johnny Hiro. […]

  2. Best Graphic Novels of 2009 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Johnny Hiro — Thoughtful adventure and an impressive love letter to New York City. […]

  3. AdHouseBooksBlog » Blog Archive » Best UVs Says:

    […] Johanna Draper Carlson gives JOHNNY HIRO a VERY BEST OF 2009, which is quite […]

  4. January 2011 Previews: Indie Month, DC and IDW Recommendations, and Snark » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Johnny Hiro (AdHouse Books) […]

  5. PWCW Best of 2009 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Johnny Hiro – Imagination-packed adventure set in a crazy New York City, made more poignant through the […]

  6. September 2011 Previews: Mostly Snark, With a Few Gems » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Books reoffers one of my best books of 2009, Johnny Hiro, a wonderfully illustrated blend of urban slice-of-life, action, and fantasy battles symbolizing […]

  7. Two Great Advice Posts: Ballooning and Pitching » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] of valuable professional advice, Jesse Post reviews his work lettering and ballooning the excellent Johnny Hiro. He takes several examples from the book, following the reader’s eye flow through the work, […]

  8. Pondering Previews for August 2013 (Shipping in October and Later) » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] exciting! I really liked the first Johnny Hiro book, and I’m glad to see there’s going to be more! (Even better, the publisher’s […]

  9. Good Comics at the Comic Shop November 6 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Johnny Hiro back in a second volume, The Skills to Pay the Bills (Tor Books, $17.99). I enjoyed the first book immensely, and I’m looking forward to more creative cartooning and imaginative adventure in […]




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