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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Koko Be Good

By Jen Wang
(4/5 stars)

I got this because I thought I should read some graphic novels and it was free, so what the heck.  This is just a bit different from the Batman graphic novels I'd read previously.  There's no one wearing a cape and tights, though there is some overlap in that "Koko Be Good" concerns itself with heroism and what it means to be "good."  There's also a Nick Hornby novel called "How to Be Good" that similarly considers what it means to be a good person.

Most of the story revolves around a young man named Jon, who is about to follow his girlfriend to Peru to work at an orphanage.  One night while he's out and about, Jon meets Koko, who's a real wild child with no home, no family, and no job.  Koko winds up with Jon's tape recorder, which has a tape from his girlfriend on it.  He tracks Koko down to get it back and after hearing about what he's doing, Koko decides that she'll try to be a good person.

Her efforts to be good backfire for the most part.  When she works at a rest home she winds up being terrorized by the old people.  Working at a soup kitchen, day care center, and so forth mostly leave Koko feeling tired and still unfulfilled.  Meanwhile, Jon is having second thoughts about going to Peru.

There's also some kid named Faron.  I couldn't really follow his story or what exactly his relationship was to Koko.  Makes me think at some point I should read it again; despite being 300 pages it only took me about 90 minutes to read through it.

As for the artwork, it's pretty cartoony with a muted color palette.  Sometimes it was difficult to decipher what was going on, especially in action sequences.  But I'm not really an expert on art design so my judgment means nothing on that subject.

Anyway, about the best I can come up with for a moral is that maybe you should just relax and not worry so much about trying to be "good."  Certainly being "good" didn't make Koko or Jon much happier.  That was actually about the same thing in the Hornby novel too.  And, well, Batman's not exactly a happy camper either.

That is all.

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