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Tune: Vanishing Point Paperback – November 13, 2012
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*Starred Review* Here’s an example of an artist trying something different from a secure spot in his own wheelhouse. First launched as a webcomic, this work chronicles an art-school dropout’s endeavors to land a paying job (with a few well-placed swipes at the comics industry), his shoot-yourself-in-the-foot attempts to kindle a romance from inside the friend zone, and his unsuccessful effort to run a blocking scheme on his success-minded Korean immigrant parents. This is all familiar territory for Kim, which readers will recognize from his breakthrough book, Same Difference and Other Stories (2004), a similar document of twentysomething urban Asian American geek life. But he’s also got a few of the tricks up his sleeve that made his collaboration with Gene Yang (The Eternal Smile, 2009) such a rug-pulling treat of skewered expectations. When the story performs a dimensional about-face, it becomes clear why the panels have been floating around on starry black pages all this time. Kim’s a great cartoonist with a keen sense of humor, and he has a light-handed touch for balancing irreverence with full-hearted emotion. Sure, things are just starting to really get moving by the end of this first volume, but you won’t find a more kookily energetic sci-fi splice-of-life crossing adult-onset uncertainty with strands of Twilight Zone DNA. --Ian Chipman
About the Author
Derek Kirk Kim is the award-winning author of Same Difference, The Eternal Smile (with Gene Luen Yang), and Good As Lily (with Jesse Hamm). He has also contributed to numerous anthologies including Flight (Vol. 1), Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall, and Bizarro World. His web-TV series Mythomania is loosely based on Tune.
He lives and works in Los Angeles, California.
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The paper version I'm reviewing here is excellent. It comes in pulp paper, but crisply and beautifully printed, and the story flows very fluidly when you compare it to reading it on the website. This series deserves attention --buy it and you won't regret it!
This being said, below is my review:
The story revolves around a main character who is a socially awkward art school drop out, who lives at home with his parents, and who falls hopelessly in love with a former classmate. This has all of the potential of falling into the overly plowed field of juvenile ultra emo romantic comedy territory. Fortunately, the book is able to avoid this trap by picking up a crazy sci fi premise and developing characters that actually have depth beyond their archetypes. This being said, the sci fi elements of this story are not super hardcore that the book will alienate those who did not grow up obsessed with space ships, wookies, sandworms, intergalatic battles or Romulans.
The art in this book is great and has a more grown up modified manga style. It has nice detail to many of the backgrounds and objects in the book's world but the choice to draw the characters in simple clean lines is a nice one. I originally thought the choice to work within small boxes was a cop out since it allows for a longer book based on fewer panels but after reading past the first few panels I realized that I actually liked the separation as it allowed more focus on each panel. Also, the art and story are rich enough that you don't feel like you are being short shrifted at all by the amount of content in the book.
This is the story of a young artist struggling to balance love, work, and his dreams when he gets an extradimensional offer that seems literaly too good to be true.
It has a remarkably true voice that captures perfectly that limbo stage when you're getting done with college and realizing that you have no idea what you're going to do now. The writing is smart and surprisingly witty in places, and those of us who have been following the comic online can tell you it gets even better in the second book.
Told in a humorous style, "Tune: Vanishing Point" is a well drawn story with actualized characters, and a mystery at it's heart. I highly recommend this first volume for any story lover.
Overall though, it was kinda meh. I'm just tired of the "awkward nerdy guy chases the manic pixie dream girl" storyline. Especially because it's autobiographical, that made it especially cringey. When I read the summary I thought the story would be more about the alien zoo, but there's only like 5 pages of that towards the end.
The art was okay, it did what it needed to do, I wish he would push his characters to be a bit more expressive. The best part of the book by far were the Korean parents, which had me laughing heartily.
Most recent customer reviews
great drawing that's really creating an atmosphere !!
this is definitely a must read