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#GGN2019 Nominees Round Up, August 2 Edition

I Hear the Sunspot: Theory of Happiness by Yuki Fumino
One Peace Books
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
ISBN: 978-1944937416

After Taichi agreed to be Kohei’s class notetaker, the two became close (possibly more than?) friends, but a misunderstanding during spring break has split them apart. When Taichi finally sees Kohei again, he is mentoring Maya, another student with a hearing impairment, and for some unknown reason, she does everything she can to keep Taichi away from them. Confused by his feelings for Kohei and feeling like he doesn’t belong at school, Taichi struggles to understand his place in world. When he is given the opportunity to work at a company that provides services to people who are deaf, he has to decide whether it is worth it to lose Kohei forever in order to try to make the world an easier place to live in for people like Kohei and Maya.

I Hear the Sunspot: Theory of Happiness is a sweet addition to Taichi and Kohei’s complicated love story. Told from Taichi’s perspective, this volume does not center as much as volume one on Kohei’s hearing impairment, but hearing disabilities in general play a universal role in Taichi’s struggle to understand his purpose as an emerging adult. Taichi is by no means the hero of Kohei’s story, but rather, serves as an example of a young ally struggling to figure out how to support but not save his friend.

Fans of manga like Dreaming Sun and Hana & Hina After School will find Taichi and Kohei’s story to be a refreshing change from the typical high school romance.

—Amanda Melilli

 

Spy Seal, vol. 1: The Corten-Steel Phoenix by Rich Tommaso
Image Comics
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
ISBN: 978-1534304796

Spy Seal vol. 1 is a a swinging sixties spy caper! The story is very modern despite it’s campy retro feel. It’s got super spy gadgets, high speed car chases, and spills & thrills! In this first
installment of Spy Seal, Malcom has joined The Nest, one of Britain’s super secret spy organizations. As their newest recruit Spy Seal, he is quickly brought into a world of espionage, danger and upscale European art. He must help find a dangerous British-turned-Soviet double agent. With the assistance of other anthropomorphic animal/spies, they walk, run, fly, ride trains,
buses, climb all over the world in this fun campy adventure reminiscent of Tin Tin and comics of the 30s and 40s.

Who doesn’t love a throw-back comic, especially one so well done? Teens will love the artwork which has a cool classic vibe, and the story as well which keeps the action going and the stakes high. This is definitely for fans of Tin Tin and Usagi Yojimbo, but will also appeal to fans Wes Anderson, and French New Wave cinema.

—Tina Lernø

 

Dark Ark, vol. 1 Forty Nights by Cullen Bunn
Aftershock Comics
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
ISBN: 978-1935002642

In this twist on the Noah’s Ark story, God floods the world and commands Noah to build an ark and save his family and each of the world’s animals in pairs of two. Meanwhile, a dark power commands the sorcerer Shrae to build a Dark Ark and save all the unnatural creatures. Now Shrae must contend with an ark full of dangerous and devious monsters and a God that never meant for him or his family to survive. Tensions mount as human captives aboard the Dark Ark are sacrificed as food for the monsters, and as monster sects posture for power. And, Shrae struggles to maintain authority over his mutinous passengers, while also protecting his vulnerable human family traveling as his crew.

This story has a menacing and disturbing tone that will appeal to fans of horror. The art is darkly colored, the tension between the monsters aboard the Dark Ark and the humans is tangible, and the anticipation of imminent disaster increases as the story continues. The monster designs and use of intense, full-page color washes amidst otherwise dark artwork contribute to a nightmarish feel. Recommended for readers looking for a graphic novel with a dark tone, especially for fans of American Gods by Neil Gaiman and Game of Thrones by George RR Martin.

—Jessica Ormonde & Kristy Kemper Hodge