By Leroy Douresseaux
December 31, 2006 - 18:10
Cold, dry, and intense, with a whirlwind of glimpses into the characters' past, 12 Days depicts what it feels like to be left behind when a loved one dies suddenly. This is the stand alone original English Manga (OEM), graphic novel, by June Kim. It's authentic in its depiction of anguish without being clinical, and the book's atmosphere of sorrow and bitterness don't come across as prefabricated "poignant in a box." Anyone who has experienced bereavement will find 12 Days a difficult read, but it's rewarding.
A cartoonist, designer, and illustrator, Kim brings all her skills as a visual artist to drawing her characters in such an expressive fashion. She treats her actors as humans - vulnerable and imperfect. They could have the same emotions and feelings as we do, and they seem so genuine that I found myself trying to look past their eyes and wondering what they were thinking. I did find the occasional deforming of characters inappropriate, as if it were thrown in just to remind the readers that 12 Days is indeed Manga.
12 Days is nice grown up comic book, and Kim proves that comics can deal with grief and loss as well as any other visual medium.