Earthlight of my life…

Over the last year (or so) Toykopop, one of the largest manga publishers in America has embarked on an interesting move as a publisher. They’ve been release new works by English speaking writers and artists done in a manga style. As someone who just really isn’t into manga (or anime) I generally stay away from Toykopop’s title. But with their new experiment I’d thought I give some of their new titles a chance.

Earthlight (volume one), by Stuart Moore and Christopher Schons, is the latest effort in this line.

Earthlight is a pretty nice twist on a pretty standard plot: new kid trying to settle into his surroundings, meets an interesting, but troubled girl (you see where this is going), girl’s boyfriend is a dick, etc. The sci-fi setting of a moon station is different enough to really make Moore’s story stand out. The over crowded Earth where England is one of the worst places to live was another fun twist that really made the setting stand out from other (countless) ‘bad future’ Earths.

What I like most about the book was how Moore was able to keep most of his characters pretty sympathetic (except for the required abusive dick boyfriend figure) and avoids the “dickery as character development’ that so many writers fall into as a quick way to establish their characters. Also of note was that Moore (and his editors) allowed his characters to be a bit more frank (read: cursing) with their language than I would normally see in a book with this target audience (Teen+).

There’s a nice twist at the end of this volume that really turns the whole book on its head and has me looking forward to reading the new volume.

Schons’ art tells the storywell and is very accessible to a non-manga reader, such as myself.  He does a excellent job, I feel, of walking a difficult line: making the book accessible to non-manga readers but also enough like standard manga to draw in Tokyopop’s traditional reader base. Both types of comics, traditional American (superheroes and such) and Japanese, have their own visual shorthands and it’s easy for one who reads one and not the other to get lost. Schons’  generally avoids this pitfall.

Overall this was an excellent opening offering from Moore and Schons. I look forward to seeing where they go in future volumes. RATING: FANTASTIC

(You can read Stuart Moore on Earthlight: Volume One here)


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