Our Colors

Gengoroh Tagame, trans. from the Japanese by Anne Ishii. Pantheon, $32.50 (528p) ISBN 978-1-5247-4856-2

Eisner winner Tagame (My Brother’s Husband) returns with an affecting coming-of-age/coming-out saga, presented in 21 episodic chapters. Sixteen-year-old Sora Itoda, an earnest high schooler in suburban Japan, has artistic aspirations and a penchant for dreamily relating colors to his emotional state (“All the colors of the world seem to brighten when he’s near”). Fearful of rejection or ostracism, Sora keeps his same-sex attractions, particularly to hunky classmate Kenta Yoshioka, hidden from friends and family. Things brighten when he befriends an understanding, openly gay middle-aged café owner, Mister Amamiya, who hires Sora to paint a mural in the café. But when a figure from Amamiya’s past reappears, conflict and painful misunderstandings ensue. Eventually, with the support of his understanding childhood gal-pal, Nao, and with the wise counseling of Amamiya (“Nobody comes out just once”), Sora is able to start living more authentically. While hitting many familiar story beats, Tagame’s intimate narrative mixes pathos with a healthy dose of melodrama, and his supremely confident artwork, replete with genial character designs and dynamic panel compositions, lend it gravitas. It’s a poignant story that should delight devotees of queer comics, with nice crossover appeal for YA readers. (June)
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