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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rack Pick: Koko Be Good

  It's a question that weighs on young adults everywhere: am I a good person?  And how do I know?

Jen Wang's beautifully illustrated debut graphic novel follows two young adults with wildly different personalities as they struggle towards the same goals.  Jon is quiet and thoughtful, fresh out of college, and making preparations to follow his long-distance girlfriend to her new job at a Peruvian orphanage amidst growing doubt.  Koko is a brash, aimless artist-type who, inspired by Jon's selfless ambitions, resolves to become "the hero I was meant to be".  But does forced altruism still have the same value?  What Jon and Koko really want is to find themselves, to give their lives some kind of meaning before they grow old and complacent.  This struggle to "be good", and why, is the crux of this budding unlikely friendship.

Koko Be Good is out now via First Second Books.  Wang's fantastic artwork melds animated figures and expressions with subdued sepia-toned ink washes, a lyrical visual backdrop to the realization that sometimes you can only save the world in small ways- one person at a time, by doing the best you can.  Check it out!

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