Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Graphic novel review: Emiko Superstar by Mariko Tamaki

"How wyrd it is that 1 summer can chg everythg" - Emiko

Emiko Superstar by Mariko Tamaki and Steve Rolston
Genre: Contemporary YA
Publisher: Minx DC Comics, 2008
From: Library booksale

Story: Emiko is a half-Japanese, half-Caucasian Canadian trying to figure herself out during her high school summer. Along the way she meets some freaks and geeks. Which is she?
Update - Here's a 20 page preview courtesy of artist Steve Rolston. Thanks, Steve!

Thoughts: I am so sad the Minx imprint of DC comics is gone. Minx put out graphic novels for girls from 2007-2008, and every one of them is amazing! I always stayed away from comics because they're so serialized, but graphic novels, where there's a whole story with pictures in one book, touch my sweet spot. I especially like graphic novels about strong girls. Minx only put out 12 titles during their short time, but every one I've read has been great.

Emiko Superstar is an excellent example. Emiko's geeky high school friends are heading in different directions over the summer, so Emiko has to find her own path. After a few false starts, she decides performance art is her calling. Of course, things don't go smoothly from there.

Steve Rolston's clear greyscale graphics are perfect for showing Emiko's suburban lifestyle and, later, the Freakshow. I liked how the frames with the Freaks get more and more cluttered until there's a Where's Waldo? effect with too much going on and nothing shown clearly. Emiko is a Superstar, if only in her own mind.

Final thoughts: A fun story of growing up with great drawings. I could use more books like this about both girls and boys.

Grade: 5 out of 5

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