The Story of Lee, Vol. 1

Sean Michael Wilson, Author, Chie Katsuwada, Illustrator
Sean Michael Wilson and Chie Kutsuwada, NBM Comics Lit (www.nbmpublishing.com), $11.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-56163-594-8
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English-speaking writers who attempt to accurately depict contemporary East Asian culture tend either to gloss over the negative aspects of Westernization or to sugarcoat the unflattering aspects of East Asian societies. Wilson and Kutsuwada's story falls somewhere in between, most likely as a result of its dual authorship. The protagonist is a young Hong Kong woman who begins an affair with a hip English-teaching foreigner named Matt. She must deal with a jealous Chinese suitor named Wang and a disapproving conservative father. It's an old setup done effectively and believably. If anything, the story feels too true to life as Hong Kong, Korea, China, and Japan all have no shortage of aimless 20-something foreign men, many of them making ends meet teaching English and enjoying the occasional tryst with a local girl. Wilson and Kutsuwada's story tells such a tale from the girl's perspective, faithfully reproducing real Hong Kong locales and name dropping a variety of cool bands along the way. The artwork, particularly the characters, is crisp and expressive, and the story faithfully reproduces a believable slice of life, despite the neat wrapup at the end, even if the story doesn't dig that deeply. (Feb.)
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