Monday, December 21, 2009

SKIM graphic novel

Occasionally I'll find a work that I was unaware of and the revelation of the treasure
is quite intoxicating. Imagine my surprise when the local BFE country library debuted
the SKIM graphic novel!
The cover caught my eye, with the lead character's angst-ridden face so delicately portrayed.
I flipped through just for curiosity's sake. The artwork was gorgeous and textured, drawing me into the characters. There's a fluidity to the figures that is simply beautiful.
Then, I read a panel at random. I was hooked!
SKIM is the story of a high school girl who attends an all-girl prep school. It's filled with all sorts
of emotion revolving around a suicide and its impact on the student body. There's also coping with being in a one-parent household, discovering a first love, questioning religious identity, grief of fading friendships, and so much more. In other words, it's a story that all ages can relate to.
The specific setting for the story seems to be around 1993, and there are some fun references thrown in to set the stage. This is a story for people who don't quite fit in, and aren't worried about it. It's one of the most remarkable stories I've read in any format, and the marriage of words and pictures is flawless for the writer and artist to be different people.
Mariko Tamaki provides the story and Jillian Tamaki sets down the illustrations.
The work is sparse, in both departments, condensing all the vitals into a deceptively
simplistic loaded tapestry. There is a truth in the work that is breath-taking, and I
was enthralled with wanting to find out the outcome of Kim's various plights.
I love a good story where a normal person can be depicted, warts and all, and still come out okay. Writers these days have lost sight of how to be genuine and fearless, opting instead for sensationalistic and predictable. For anyone you know who appreciates a great ride, and anyone who has ever been proud to know their own voice, I heartily recommend this book!

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