This Week’s Comics: Made in Korea is the best comic we’ve read in the last decade – Slog

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Made in Korea Picture Comics

I had two memorable VHS-related experiences on long bus rides. The first was on a trip from New York to Boston, on which the only tape available to watch was the movie Tornado. The first half of the movie was entertaining enough, but the second half was recorded by someone’s home movie of a walk through a neighborhood decorated with Christmas lights, and to this day I don’t know if Helen Hunt has never managed to find this cow.

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The second was on a trip from Boston to New Haven. This time the movie was AI, starring Haley Joel Osment as a strange robot child. Although the tape is intact, I couldn’t watch the second half because I found the whole experience far too disturbing. A child who is not a child, adrift without family, humans exposed as inhuman, insensitive monsters – I could feel the panic attack coming and rushing for headphones to block the film. I was going through a terrible months-long breakup at the time, and a story about love being revoked was too painful to watch.

But maybe it’s time for me to revisit that story, twenty years later, because I can’t fathom how much I enjoyed the equally unsettling storyline of a new paperback this week. When Made in Korea released its first issue last year, it was the only time I gave a book a score of six out of five. Now I issue the same note for a collection of early issues.

Thanks as always to Phoenix for helping sort out this week’s releases. And no matter which comic book store you own, ask about subscriptions and pre-orders, as the comic book supply chain still sees weekly flutters.

MADE IN KOREA VOLUME #1

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This collection of first issues of Made in Korea is the best comic I’ve read in the last decade. Over the next century, humans will gradually move away from the traditional way of having children and raise robotic “proxies” instead. A couple in Texas get their own power of attorney and call it Jesse, but it comes with something unexpected – a hidden cache of code in their brain, hidden there by a Korean programmer-turned-rogue. Jesse is growing rapidly within his new family, displaying astonishing curiosity, intelligence, and strength. She is also intrigued by – and unable to fully understand – social relationships with her peers, a quality that two sinister classmates see as an opportunity to be exploited. The Korean coder who unwittingly gave Jessie her identity wants to locate her; his adoptive parents from Texas only want to love him; and Jesse wants to figure out who she is and where she belongs. As these forces come into violent conflict, a question hangs over Jessie: Who created you? Was it the people responsible for your body? The people you see every day? Was it yourself? Or was it a collaboration of all these parties, each of us an accidental conglomerate partnership with outsiders? A cross-world adventure, family drama and coming-of-age story that literally left me breathless at times, this first volume is urgent reading, complete with a gasp-inducing cliffhanger. .

Evaluation: 🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖🤖 (6/5)

Screenwriter: Jeremy Holt. Artist: George Schall. Lettering: Adam Wollet.

OWLY: A TIME TO BE BRAVE

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Every elementary school class should have a collection of Owly books, especially this fourth installment in the series. A group of forest animal friends read a spooky fairy tale together, but one of them struggles to shake his fears about a dragon character in the book. Later, during a casual ball game, a possum wanders around, triggering unhappy memories of the fictional dragon. Tension creeps into the animals’ usually idyllic lives, and they must face the fears that keep them from having fun. Adorable art and minimal dialogue make this book a real joy for readers of all ages, and the pictogram-style communication will be especially welcome for those just learning to read for the first time or learning English as a second language. Like the best episodes of fragglerock, there’s a sweet lesson behind the cute creatures: this book is a tribute to the kindness and bravery it requires.

Evaluation: 🦉🦉🦉🦉🦉 (5/5)

Writer and Illustrator: Andy Runton

CRUEL SUMMER VOLUME #1

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This is a paperback edition of a collection that came out in hardcover a few months ago, and it’s probably the smartest, saddest crime noir I’ve ever read. In the summer of 1988, a loose community of thugs plan the ultimate heist. But unlike so many crime fables, the criminals here aren’t cool, swaggering, or ambitious in any way. They are miserable losers, pathetically chasing money from one heist and one fight to the next, and the most depressing note is that one of them has a teenage son who seems to perceive a certain attraction in his father’s dead end life – or maybe it just seems inevitable to him. A cleverly twisted story that turns on itself, the best moments come in dire choices that are first mysterious and then illuminated by a shift in the story’s perspective. For our anti-heroes, life is a Rube Goldberg machine of violence that can’t be stopped once the marble starts falling down the chute. All we can do is step back and watch, fear mounting with each bloody page.

Evaluation: 📿📿📿📿 (4/5)
Screenwriter: Ed Brubaker. Illustrations: Jacob Phillips, Sean Phillips.

ALSO: THE SAGA SAGA RESUME, LOVE IN SPACE, and A MAGNIFICENT JOURNEY FROM SPAIN

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Superheroes are busy this week – there are numbers for Wolverine, Batman and Robin, Mary Jane and Black Cat and Peacemaker. You might also be wondering why there’s a Christmas special with Batman and Catwoman, a month after Christmas, and the explanation for that is, like the explanation for so many confusing situations these days, string issues supply. The big news this week is that the wonderful Saga The series has a new episode, or at least if one was delivered this week – every store in town seems to either be missing that box in its shipment or sold out instantly. Supply chain issues! Never mind. Consider taking the new Mister Miracle, a sweet sci-fi love story; Where All my friends, a lovely intermediate-level book by Hope Larson about friendship and music. Interesting too Illustrating Spain in the United States, a magnificent hardcover exploration of the Spanish diaspora.

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