Comic Solutions

Book Review–Tune

Derek Kirk Kim
November 2012

Andy is just your average guy. He knows what he wants to do in life–a career in comics–and he has it all planned out. So he leaves art school early to set off on his journey…and quickly finds himself unemployed. His parents soon becoming dissatisfied with his inability to land a job, (and his lounging around the house in his underwear) force him to find a job, any type of job,…or they’ll find one for him. And everything seems to hit rock bottom. No one will hire him, heck a crazy homeless guy gets hired ahead of him at a fast food joint. And then a magical day happens. Andy sees Yumi (his art school crush), discovers that she likes him, and finds a job to work at a zoo! There’s just one problem…the zoo job is an alternate dimension and Andy is one of the exhibits.
I’ve been following Tune since Derek started serializing it as a webcomic and it’s quickly become one of my favorites to keep up with. Although this first volume starts off a bit slow, as its setting up the world and the universe, it picks up pace in the following chapters (that can be viewed online.) In this volume though we get a good sense of the characters that we’ll be following in the series, especially Andy. I like that Andy is your average guy, for the most part. I can see elements of myself in his story, which of course makes me cringe at times (especially when he realizes that Yumi might actually like him) because I’ve made some of the same choices, the same decisions, and my life mirrors Andy in some ways. And that’s what makes this such a great story, that it is easy to relate to Andy and Yumi. We’ve all mapped out our life and had it veer off into different directions (hopefully no one is an exhibit in a zoo though.) I like the sense of humanity and humility that Derek brings to the characters and I can’t wait to see where he takes them next.
Derek’s artwork is very similar Gene Luen Yang, with expressive characters and movements that eerily resemble real life, even in cartoon format. It’s easy to imagine that you could walk out the door and meet Andy, Yumi, and the rest of the gang. Some of my favorite depictions are of the dad, mostly because he hides behind the newspaper and grunts. I love that we don’t get to see his face and the fact that he acts like many dads out there (no, not TV ones..those guys are just fantasy.) The one thing that I will note is that after this volume Les McClaine took over the artwork so that Derek was able to put out the story more often. He has a similar style to Gene’s but he really makes the characters his own (but that’s a discussion for the next volume.)

One thing to note, volume one of Tune is just about to come out in print with volume two scheduled for next year, but if folks don’t support the comic by buying the book the series can’t continue!  So if you like the comic make sure that you buy the book so that we can keep on seeing the series.   You can read more about why this needs to happen over on the comic site here.

This story has a nice blending of sci-fi and real life, which makes it easy for folks to dive into and read. It’s a story that I highly recommend and I can’t wait to see what happens next. 4 out of 5 stars.

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