I have to admit that I’ve been enjoying reading graphic novels on my Samsung tablet, lately. Having a variety of review copies to read has also been nice. This time around it’s a graphic novel by a company I’m not familiar with, by a writer and artist I’m not familiar with and doesn’t have anything to do with any previous story or feature (that I’m aware of). Wow. Something totally new!
What we have is a futuristic Romeo and Juliet story. Set in a realistic future, boy, Travis, meets girl, Charley, at a party and they immediately hit it off. Unfortunately, it’s Charley’s last night in town, but we don’t know where she’s headed after this. Travis, not knowing much other than her name, spends his hours searching for her, to convince her to stay, with him.
Charley’s best friend, Emily, reminds Charley of her duty, and watches over her as they try to enjoy a last night on the town. Travis’s best friend, Gregor, tries to get Travis to focus on anything other than Charley. Emily and Gregor don’t hit it off and seem to be the opposing ends of the magnet of Travis and Charley’s attracting ends.
Because it’s set in the future, there is a theme of Artificial Intelligence that runs throughout the story and plays a key role in the plot. And because it’s set in a not-too-distant future where people haven’t change much, there is also a little illegal syndicate action on the side.
The story is nicely told, though there isn’t anything that comes as a surprise. The ‘twist’ ending wasn’t really such a twist (for me). There is a little social theology at play , a bit of ethics regarding what makes a human, human. It does make one pause for a bit, though any avid sci-fi reader will have faced these issues time and time again. Which probably brings in to question, “Who is this graphic novel for?”
This is clearly not for the aging hippie, the over-weight, grey-haired-in-a-ponytail stereotype of a comics reader. This is for that new graphic novel audience, the teens that grew up with Manga-style art and maybe aren’t as familiar with Shakespeare’s Romeo&Juliet or Asimov’s robot novels. Given that, this is a pretty nice book. The art is not quite Manga, but clearly has a Manga feel to it. It’s monochrome look, probably really for cost purposes, serves the book suitably well.
I, personally, am not a fan of this style of art, and at times, I wasn’t sure which girl was which, due to their drawn similarities, and that’s a major detraction for me, in a graphic novel.
The simple story seemed drawn out unnecessarily so, particularly with the Gregor sections (though admittedly, the book ies up the loose ends with Gregor nicely).
Looking for a good book? This is a good choice for graphic novel reading teens.
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A Boy and A Girl
author: Jamie S. Rich
artist: Natalie Nourigat
publisher: Oni Press
paperback, 168 pages