Sunbi has inherited a respected legacy – all the women in her family are shamans, working to negotiate harmony between the human and spirit worlds. Sunbi’s own mother is rumored to have gone mad from too much power, and when she died and her father left for Seoul, Sunbi was left to grow up under her grandmother Okboon’s care. At first, Sunbi loves the magic only the women in her family can see – the roguish Dokebi, or trickster spirits, and the great dragon spirit that grants plentiful fishing. Most people of her village, no matter how much they believe in the spirits, know the rumors about her mother and treat Sunbi as a freak. She quickly learns to hide away her power, but the damage is done and she reaches her teen years increasingly isolated. “Normal” people find her aloof and she in turn cannot tolerate those who think she’s a magical menace waiting to be provoked. This first volume contrasts the warm memories of Sunbi’s time with her grandmother with her stark present living with a distant father and his new wife and step-daughter. The art is expressive, especially showing Sunbi and Okboon’s exhileration in performing their craft, and the summoned creatures are majestic and vivid. Korean manhwa publisher Netcomics still hits a few bumps in the translation with a couple of awkward word choices, but this title is by far the best from them so far. The gentle unfolding of the story accentuates the feelings of family, duty, and identity at the heart of this tale, and this beginning hints tantalizingly at a lot more to come.

Dokebi Bride, vol. 1
by Marley
ISBN: 9781600090752
Netcomics, 2006

  • Robin B.

    | She/Her Teen Librarian, Public Library of Brookline

    Editor in Chief

    Robin E. Brenner is Teen Librarian at the Brookline Public Library in Massachusetts. She has chaired the American Library Association Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection List Committee, the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee, and served on the Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She is currently the President of the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table for ALA. She was a judge for the 2007 Eisner awards, helped judge the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards in 2011, and contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. She regularly gives lectures and workshops on graphic novels, manga, and anime at comics conventions including New York and San Diego Comic-Con and at the American Library Association’s conferences. Her guide, Understanding Manga and Anime (Libraries Unlimited, 2007), was nominated for a 2008 Eisner Award.

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