Andy Go is just a regular college student wondering what to do with his life. He’s only got one year left to go at the College of Visual Arts in San Francisco, but he’s suddenly decided that he’s going to drop out to become the famous illustrator he knows he can and will be. I mean, the New Yorker would definitely want him to illustrate for them if they just knew he existed, right? He’s also hopelessly in love with his classmate, Yumi, who doesn’t seem to want to be anything but friends. After months of mailing out letter after letter detailing his illustrating genius with no discernible results, Andy’s parents lay down the law — find a job, or else. And find a job he does. . . as an exhibit in a “zoo” in a parallel universe. What? Well, it does have awesome benefits and he only has to be a part of the exhibit for a year — a perfect year of lounging around in a replica of his parent’s home with his favorite food, unlimited television channels, and the ability to draw as much as he wants. Plus, he gets weekends off! Sounds pretty perfect to And, but are these otherworldly creatures really telling Andy the truth, or do they have something else up their sleeves?
This fun new book by Derek Kirk Kim is a perfect combination of romantic comedy, coming of age story, and science fiction foray into other worlds. At first glance, readers get sucked into the story of Andy and his yearning for Yumi, but will soon be led along into a journey beyond our world. Andy is a humorous and childish young man, but readers will root for him along the way. And as someone who has consistently insisted that she doesn’t like science fiction, I was pleased to realize that maybe I do! The romantic story led seamlessly into Andy’s decision to live in a home that is completely missing its whole side wall and be watched by Plaxians. In fact, the story transformed so quickly and unassumingly that I just accepted that this was how Andy’s life was going now; that this was totally normal. Derek’s explanation of the parallel universe made perfect sense to me and transformed a little ol’ romance into something entirely new, different, and engaging. Another fun fact: the story continues online once readers finish up the last page of book one.
For this first installment, Derek Kirk Kim did all the writing and illustrating, and has created a very addictive read. The illustrations are pretty manga-ish and lend a humorous and whimsical nature to the story. The black and white line drawings are crisp and clean, showing the emotions of the characters perfectly. The page styles vary and contain anywhere from 1 to 5 panels, which breaks up the story and provides nice spacing and timing to the story, as well. The panels are well laid out and easy to follow, even though they form a different kind of background from what I’m used to in comics. In other words, it’s not your traditional 6-8 panel outline — it’s different and it works with the story. The book is also broken down into chapters, which make it easy to put down and return to the story without missing a beat. What a cute, fast, and fun read that will enthrall readers of all persuasions!
No matter if you like romance, science fiction, aliens, alternate universes, or bildungsroman, everyone will find something to enjoy about Tune. Fun comics humor is included throughout and readers will definitely want to see what this other universe has in store for Andy.
Tune, vol. 1: Vanishing Point
by Derek Kirk Kim
First Second, 2012