Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Empire State: A Love Story (Or Not) by Jason Shiga

Jimmy has lived in Oakland, California his whole life and has no interest in leaving.  Then Jimmy's best friend, Sara, moves to New York.  After much angst, Jimmy decides to go to New York himself and tell her his true feelings for her.  His grand gesture and romantic plans don't quite pay off.

This was delightfully sarcastic and snarky, with nerd jokes that I very much enjoyed.  It's bittersweet, and doesn't have a happy ending.  If you're a bit of a cynic and like nerdy pop culture references and mockery of hipsters, you'll love this.

I liked how there were pages at a time with no words at all, and the pictures did all the talking that was needed.  The style of illustration is very simple and cartoon like, with little detailing.  Despite this, Shiga's characters have no trouble making it clear what emotions are being felt.

Something I love about graphic novels like this is although it's not long at all, and there's no background information or exposition, with just a few panels of illustrations I feel like I know the characters very well.  I understand Jimmy perfectly, and how being in a rut makes him feel safe and secure.  When he finally decides to do something, he does it in the grand style of a romantic movie, which, of course, doesn't really work out very well in the real world.  The last page capture Jimmy's feelings perfectly.  Love it.

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