TUNE book 1: Vanishing Point by Derek Kirk Kim delivers science fiction, fun and honesty unlike anything I’ve ever read

First Second Publishing has gone and done it again. This time they’ve teamed up with graphic novelist and artist Derek Kirk Kim (Fables, 1001 Nights Of Snowfall) for this funny, yet sometimes dark, inter-deminsional coming of age story.

TUNE is a sci-fi slice-of-life romantic comedy adventure of interdimensional proportions. When art school drop-out Andy Go resigns himself to a lackluster day job, he unknowingly corners himself into a life of incarceration. In a parallel universe. But when all hope seems lost, he inexplicably finds friends who may hold the key to his escape. Will he make it back home? Will he survive the attempt? Will he ever get laid?

Not to be mistaken for the “TUNING” in the Alex Proyas film…on second thought…anyway. The hero Andy is a highly relatable male character who’s Korean upbringing reminded me a lot of mine. For me having a Vietnamese mother and an African American father was no easy task and Derek get’s the craziness down to a fault. The story reads like an autobiography at the beginning, touching on college cautionary tales like, women, careers, money, getting laid…I guess that’s still women, and trying to make it all make sense. As an artist, I found it very easy to place  myself in Andy’s shoes, watching him drop out of art school and struggle with finding a real job are topics that hit so close to home for me. Feeling like your best is never enough is the burden of all Asian children. You can go crazy sometimes trying to wrap your mind around what your parents really want, only to realize down the road (usually too late) that it’s about what you want. This is Andy’s journey and although most of the time it ends up at the end of a rope for most kids with this sort of upbringing, this one takes a hilarious turn for the best or maybe the worst. The book is strange in that it is serious in the beginning and then, just like that, it get’s crazy. What’s important to note is that Derek’s pacing of the action and storyline are flawless, nothing is ever forced or so crazy that it doesn’t flow with the rest of the story. Derek keeps the focus on Andy, after all, I can’t help but think Andy is Derek, so who better to tell the story? Unfortunately, I’ve only read book one “Vanishing Point” chapters 1-10, so my review is limited (at this point) to those introductory chapters, but lucky for us the story continues on Derek’s website of which I cannot wait to start reading. The artwork, and I don’t mean to make light of it by placing it at the end of my reviews that’s just how I do my reviews, is perfect. The black and white is very manga-ish (round mouths and big eyes) only I can read this from left to right…whew. The characters are fleshy and real and there are no shortage of blushing and sweat (I mean this in the cleanest way possible). The art was broken up between Derek who drew the first ten chapters and Les McClain whom I understand illustrated some of the continuing adventures. Having already taken a look at some of chapters 11-13 I do notice a slight variation, but nothing that should detract too much from the storyline. I enjoyed my time in the TUNE universe and am of the belief that it will be the delight of science fiction fans and geeks the world over.

Published by Jeffrey Lamar

I’m an actor,musician and writer who's blended his love for all three into this blog.

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