9781596437609

Derek Kirk Kim seems to have come into his own on this second installment of his TUNE series. Although, more first person, the lead character Andy Go’s, inner monologues and conversations with Dash (the zoo recruiter turned art aficionado) is well worth the read.

Maybe it’s because I am morbid or maybe it’s because I watch too many movies, but I kept thinking this story of imprisonment is going to take a turn for the worst, changing it from a light-hearted comedy to a straight up science fiction horror. It doesn’t and not to my dismay. It’s a relief and a bit cathartic reading the banter between these character’s, especially Andy, who begins to understand what life is really all about.

In the second installment of the TUNE series of graphic novels, our hapless hero Andy Go is settling into life in an alien zoo…as one of the exhibits. It’s not so bad: the food is good, and his environment is a perfect copy of his house back on Earth. But everything falls to pieces when Andy realizes he’s been tricked: there will be no weekend visits back to Earth, as he was promised, and his contract doesn’t last one year…it lasts a lifetime.

The odds are stacked against this lazy art student and hopeless romantic as he paces the confines of his cage/parents home. Everything that Andy’s comes to represent, while on Earth, comes into question as the reality of what’s happening to him begins to sink in. No longer do the things that mattered to him back home matter. It’s a return to basics “somewhat” and that’s when Still Life turns into a self help book. Strange?

It’s an artists read, this book, touching on such topics as ambition and love, one can’t help, while reading, to examine one’s own life and place him or herself in Andy’s shoes. The book does all this self analysis, but without becoming the authors dream journal. Just enough to pepper the whole story with heart. It keeps all the zaniness and fart jokes and although I found it a bit trite at times, I understand.

Tune Book 2: Still Life plays out like a sitcom. The half house immediately jettisons the reader to the set of Facts of Life or Different Strokes and then gives the whole thing an odd Planet of the Apes vibe. The whole story would be terrifying if Derek wasn’t a genius at keeping it light and for this I am grateful. Not everything has to be an exercise in dread.

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