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The Eternal Smile: Three Stories Paperback – April 28, 2009
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From two masters of the graphic novel--Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese) and Derek Kirk Kim (Same Difference and Other Stories) come fantastical adventures through the worlds we live in and the worlds we create: the story of a prince who defeats his greatest enemy only to discover that maybe his world is not what it had seemed; the story of a frog who finds that just being a frog might be the way to go; and the story of a woman who receives an email from Prince Henry of Nigeria asking for a loan to help save his family. With vivid artwork and moving writing, Derek Kirk Kim and Gene Luen Yang test the boundaries between fantasy and reality, exploring the ways that the world of the imagination can affect real life.
Three Short Stories from The Eternal Smile
Each pair of panels below belongs to one of the three stories in the book: "Duncan's Kingdom," "Gran'pa Greenbax and the Eternal Smile," and "Urgent Request."
Click on each panel to enlarge [pdf].
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top Customer Reviews
What I really like about Yang's writing is that there's always a little twist that I never see coming, but still totally fits with the story. It works in each one and I'm never disappointed. Kim's artwork stands out and he makes each story have a different feel-you can see samples of the panels on the Amazon page. I love the way everything blended together and each story flowed well with the art.
I enjoyed all three stories and how each one had a deeper story than what first appears on the surface, but my favorite had to be "Urgent Request," the last story in the collection. There was something about Janet that made her a sympathetic character and I really liked how Kim drew her and was able to get her emotions across the page. Her story was bittersweet and I really liked it.
If you need a way to convince someone that graphic novels and comics aren't all about superheroes and cute Japanese girls, give them The Eternal Smile. It's a graphic novel for non-graphic novel fans, and for those who have long enjoyed the format.
Picture talking, money-hungry frogs finding an Eternal Smile in the sky. They try to start a profitable religion, but then things go too far.
Find out what happens if you send that Nigerian Prince your bank account information and keep sending him money.
These were some really odd stories. Not quite what I was expecting. The prince one was interesting, but the ending was a little much. It seemed like there felt there needed to be a resolution, so they just made one. I liked finding out what the Eternal Smile was, but I think that was my least favorite story. I really didn't like the money-hungry frog. I guess the ending of that story was okay though. The third one may have been my favorite. It was a really interesting take on something that all of us have seen or heard of. I mean, everyone has gotten an e-mail from a Nigerian Prince asking for money. I liked how shy and quirky the girl was. She just sent the money no problem. Sometimes you do just need to feel like you're helping someone. This was not my favorite set of stories by this author, but they weren't bad. I loved the different illustrations styles for each of the three stories. It was a fast read, and worth checking out. I just feel like maybe I missed some big purpose in some of the stories.
First Line of each story:
"Frogville USA! Gran'Pa Greenbax watches eagerly as the spoils of his latest profitable adventure pour into his legendary POOL O'CASH!"
"What are you milling around here for?"
"Forgive me, sire, but perhaps it would behoove you to pay attention. This is, after all, your wedding."
"The Angel of Vengeance is ready!"
"You used my money to make genitals for a video game?"
The Eternal Smile by Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim
I just finished reading The Eternal Smile for a second time to see if I would like it as much as I did the first time. The answer is, "Yes." There's no doubt in my mind that this work is a truly great comic book that is unique in presenting three very different short stories with overlapping themes. They are extremely different in look and in genre, but they come together to present some unified ideas about the dreams we have, the stories we tell ourselves, and the stories of our lives that we want to deny.
Author and artist Derek Kirk Kim, though perhaps not as well known as Gene Luen Yang, has written several books I love and hope to review in the near future: Same Difference and Tune: Vanishing Point and Tune: Still Life. Author and artist Gene Luen Yang is best known for his graphic novel American Born Chinese, which has won almost every award anybody could think up. It usually gets mentioned in the same breath as Maus and Persepolis, particularly by those who tend to have a distaste for superhero comic books and claim to read "graphic novels" only and not "comics.” American Born Chinese IS a great graphic novel — a label I save for comic books issued as stand-alone novels rather than collected monthlies. However, though I like The Eternal Smile even better, I can imagine that fans of American Born Chinese, Maus, and Persepolis who also do not like a wide variety of comics, will still like American Born Chinese better than The Eternal Smile. Why? Because this short story comic book collection plays with comic book genres in a way that I think will be best appreciated by those who read widely in this field of art.Read more ›
The first is the story of a guy on a quest to win the princesses hand in marriage through slaughtering the frog king. I loved loved loved the art of this one, it almost had a comic book feeling without being as chaotic and scattered as comic books are. The varying color schemes served the mood well. And the twist came totally unexpected! Excellent through and through.
The second story was cartoonish and the main characters are frogs. Granpa Greenbax decides to start a religion based on the “eternal smile” as a scheme to make $$$. However, he too finds himself a wrinkle in the plot and the choice he makes was not at all what I was expecting. I liked this story much better after the plot twist than before.
The third and final story is the story of an office worker. She lives a boring life and doesn’t seem to often ask for want she wants, nor does she often get what she wants. So when a random email comes through for her, the reader already knows it won’t end well, but we admire her for her hope. Because so much is out in the open with this story, even the drawings are softer and less mysterious, the plot twist is less of a surprise about trajectory of he plot and more a twist on the protagonist’s reaction to reality.
I recommend this book. It was a fast read with beautiful drawings and intriguing plots that you can dive right into to be immersed for a short while. My only complaint is that they are short stories and prefer long, but the stories really felt like the perfect length for the ideas that were being presented.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lovely life lessons with a hidden meaning that makes the reader explore more of the wise sayings within this comical talePublished 6 months ago by Lynn Le
This is a graphic novel in which the notion of, shall we say, "escape from reality", is examined. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Rod G.
Three very different stories that make for an amusing quick read. Can't say I would be overly excited to re-read or recommend them but it was enjoyable and the art was fantastic.Published 20 months ago by Shelli
The stories were interesting and the illustrations were great. Though I enjoyed American Born Chinese more, this was still a great read!Published on March 19, 2014 by Dan
I found this book tucked away in the school library, and flipping through it, I noticed the unique art in this graphic novel. Read morePublished on September 17, 2012 by Ethan Dennis
Three great, moving short stories. Artwork is fine, though honestly I don't care much about artwork. Plot, theme, and character is what I like; and all 3 stories deliver. Read morePublished on December 17, 2011 by Shagbark
This graphic novel is a collaboration between two masters of the field--Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese) and Derek Kirk Kim (Same Difference)--with Gene writing wonderful... Read morePublished on September 10, 2011 by Andy Shuping
It took this book some time to arrive. However, it was a great deal at a fair price and the book was as describe. Read morePublished on September 9, 2011 by Daniel B. Rutter
The Eternal Smile consists of three short stories: Duncan's Kingdom, Gran'pa Greenbax and the Eternal Smile, and Urgent Request. Read morePublished on December 15, 2010 by Gagewyn