Graphic Novels, November 2, 2018 | Xpress Reviews

Ancco’s raw expressionistic line work and quietly authentic storytelling propels this heartfelt exploration; highly recommended for all readers looking for the straight dope on marijuana use; for those who enjoy a bit of edge to their familial humor, this book will be a hilarious read

Week ending November 2, 2018

Ancco. Bad Friends. Drawn & Quarterly. Sept. 2018. 176p. tr. from Korean by Janet Hong. ISBN 9781770463295. pap. $21.95. Rated: Mature. F
Teenager Jinju is unhappy both at home and school in South Korea during the Nineties. She wants to ignore her studies and instead smoke, drink, and hang out with friends, regardless of how many beatings her dad gives her or how many times she breaks her mom’s heart. Teaming up with her friend Jung-ae, they run away and rent a room, leaping headfirst into the gaping underbelly of city life, including prostitution, parties, and gangs. Now an adult and a successful cartoonist, Jinju remembers her past, not necessarily fondly but bravely and without regret. As she reconnects with other bad friends from that time, she wonders what became of Jung-ae, her protector, confidante, sister, and fellow traveler, who has apparently remained in the teenage wasteland/paradise they’d created for themselves either unwillingly or by her own choice.
VERDICT Ancco’s (Bad Girls; Thirty Years Old) raw expressionistic line work and quietly authentic storytelling propels this heartfelt exploration, capturing the precise epoch during the rites of adolescence when many young people hurl themselves forward in an attempt to grasp existence and create their own story.—Douglas Rednour, Georgia State Univ. Libs., Atlanta

redstarOwlin. How Do You Smoke a Weed? A Comics Guide to a Responsible High. Iron Circus. Oct. 2018. 80p. ISBN 9781945820168. pap. $10. Rated: Mature. GRAPHIC NOVELS
Decriminalization, legalization, and mainstreaming of marijuana use get the media attention, but for laypeople who want to partake safely or simply to educate themselves on the oft-demonized stuff, this illustrated primer covers the basics and then some. It looks like a head comic, but the contents—structured as a young, anthropomorphic veggie-sprout’s journey through the proverbial wide world of weed—are practical, thorough, and conveyed humorously but never at the expense of the facts—or of good sense. Readers will learn about the types and chemical makeup of cannabis and the various ways to ingest it but also about the importance of knowing their consumption limits, how to deal with too-potent highs, and a variety of delicious, healthy, easy-to-make snacks. Some profanity and gay-friendly content sits alongside the drug-themed material. Just like marijuana itself, this entertaining, accessible hybrid of cannabis-based how-to, science, and history isn’t for everyone, but for those who are up for it, it’s mighty good s...tuff.
VERDICT Highly recommended for all readers looking for the straight dope on marijuana use, regardless of prior experience. [Previewed in Jody Osicki’s “Graphically Speaking,” LJ 6/15/18.]—J. Osicki, Saint John Free P.L., NB

Rice, Philippa. Sister BFFs. Andrews McMeel. Sept. 2018. 144p. ISBN 9781449489359. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781449497514. COMICS
Rice (Soppy) depicts two sometimes obnoxious, sometimes sweet young adult sisters with all their foibles and annoyances. Rice’s wit is especially on display in the sisters’ phone text, as when one goes to yoga class for the first time and describes doing child’s pose (“curl up in a ball”) when things get too challenging, to which her sister replies, “That’s how I deal with challenges too.” But as with many sister relationships, not everything is sweet, and there’s plenty of teasing about clothing and hygiene, but it’s always done with love and a smirk. There’s also serious talk about relationships. The characters are drawn with generous curves that give them a cute cartoony look, often softening how insufferable they can be at times (“I hate my hair, I hate my face, and I hate my life.” “Well, you’ll be dead one day. That’s something to look forward to”).
VERDICT For those who enjoy a bit of edge to their familial humor, this book will be a hilarious read.—Lucy Roehrig, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI

LJ Reviews

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