The Eternal Smile
By Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim
Paperback, 170 pages
2009, First Second
This is a cute collection of stories – I’m a fan of Yang’s work and at this point I’ll read anything he writes (and draws). There’s three stories in this little graphic novel.
The first is about a boy dealing with his life’s problems by acting as a hero in a fantasy world he’s imagined. There was a little twist at the end and I enjoyed this story the most out of the three.
The second is a Truman Show style TV series about a money-grubbing frog who tries to make money off a newly founded religion of sorts. Yes, that sounds bizarre, and it was, but the story and its moral made sense. I liked the illustrations the best in this one – they were adorable!
The third story is about a shy, introverted girl who can’t get a promotion at work. One day she gets a spam email from a price in Nigeria needing her money in exchange for hundreds of thousands to be paid to her at a later date and she decides to respond and help him out. I didn’t enjoy this tale as much – I get the overall message (I think) but really, who would seriously respond to one of those emails? I didn’t understand her character motivation enough to understand why she would give all her money to a stranger on the internet.
Overall it’s a cute collection and if you’re already a fan of Yang’s work it’s definitely something you should at least read, if not own.