In the latest in my series of reviews of small press/self published titles, today sees the turn of the double S.I.C.B.A. award winning (Best Comic/Graphic Novel and Best Cover, if you’re keeping score at home) ‘Big in Japan’ by Hope Street Studios’ own Moogs Kewell.
Essentially a diary of Moogs’ two-week trip to Japan to attend the wedding of two of her friends, this book adopts a curious style that flits back and forth between cartoonish over-exaggeration and almost photographic realism, creating an endearingly charming and – dare I say it – educational (shudder!) look at the Japanese culture.
The situations covered in the book are the type most of us have experienced at some point in our lives; missing luggage, getting lost in a strange city, and the general feeling of awkwardness in a foreign culture, and all these factors only add to the overall charm of the book, making Moogs’ diary an extremely relatable one.
Now, as this is a diary of true events, there’s no ‘plot’ as such, no grand overarching storyline or twists and turns along the way. But what we do have is a beautifully illustrated, incredibly creative outpouring of humorous observations (the Japanese boy in full traditional dress but still wearing flashing trainers, for example) and interesting facts about the people and places Moogs encounters during her visit.
I can undoubtedly see why this title did so well at the S.I.C.B.A.s this year, as it has an almost universal appeal. Like interesting travel journals? This is your book. Enjoy humorous, manga-style caricatures? This is your book. Enjoy stunning, ultra-realistic sketches of impressive Japanese landmarks and buildings? This is your… well… you get my point ;)
A title that’s well worth picking up for any of the reasons listed above, in addition to its almost dizzyingly bright and eye-catching cover, this is a comic that most definitely needs to find itself exposed to as large an audience as possible.
You can pick the book up (along with an amazing selection of hand-made earrings and jewellery) at Moogs ‘Rocket Puppy’ Etsy store.
And you should also take a moment to check out her bespoke cake topper and sculpture work at http://www.toppertheworld.com/