Friday, January 27, 2012

Mangaman by Barry Lyga and Colleen Doran

A character from the world of manga falls into an American graphic novel... it's not only a great concept, but well executed. Barry Lyga and Colleen Doran have created a clever and entertaining work of metafiction in Mangaman.

Government agents are trying to devise a way to send back Ryoko Kiyama after he comes through a Rip in the universe, but after several months without success, they decide to send him to a local high school while they work on the problem. Ryoko promptly falls in love with Marissa Montaigne, thereby causing a disturbance in her school's universe. It turns out that manga conventions came through with Ryoko. When he sees Marissa for the first time, flowers appear in the air around him and his eyes turn to hearts. The students who witness this are understandably freaked out. When Marissa's ex-boyfriend moves to defend her from this weirdness, Ryoko leaps with excitement: "Big time high school challenge! Awesome karate fight!" Motion lines ray outward from his entire body -- and these become black sticks littering the ground around him in the next scene. What fun!

Will Ryoko be able to return to the manga world? Will he want to?

Doran artfully combines East and West drawing styles. It doesn't matter whether you are a fan of one or the other, I promise you won't want to miss this.

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