Pixels of You

Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Ota, illus. by J.R. Doyle. Amulet, $22.99 (176p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4957-5

Via a semifuturistic New York City populated by people and sentient artificial intelligences, Hirsh and Ota (Lucky Penny) present the moody chronicling of a relationship just beginning. Indian American artist Indira interns at a gallery while acclimating to a robotic eye; when Fawn, an AI in a human-looking “natural chassis” portrayed with pale skin and hair, is hired as a new intern, the photographers’ dislike is immediate. Fawn thinks Indira’s images of AIs are objectifying, and Indira finds Fawn’s plant photographs “too safe.” After an outburst in the gallery, its owner makes their year-end exhibition a collaboration. As the two work grudgingly together, each begins to understand the other’s perspective, and their rivalry slowly grows into a tender new closeness. Doyle’s angular art makes smart use of color, for example rendering Fawn’s form pale against a saturated palette as the characters’ interactions touch on issues of othering, including immigration, class, race, and sentience. In this quietly paced character study with a cinematic feel, a melancholy atmosphere slowly blooms into something warm and hopeful amid news headlines documenting concerns about implicit bias in AI. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)