cover image Emiko Superstar

Emiko Superstar

Mariko Tamaki, . . DC/Minx, $9.99 (176pp) ISBN 978-1-4012-1536-1

Author Tamaki and artist Rolston offer a light but charming fantasy for awkward girls everywhere. Emiko, a half-Japanese, half-Caucasian Canadian, is a self-described geek facing a summer of babysitting and isolation. Things change when she stumbles upon an underground performing art scene inspired by Andy Warhol’s Factory. She eventually takes to the stage, dressed in her grandmother’s mod outfits from the ’60s, and achieves minor celebrity. Soon, though, Emiko must face the troubling complexities in the lives of her new friends and the consequences of her own questionable actions. The book offers many of the hallmarks of female coming-of-age tales, including a sensitive romantic interest, betrayal, concern about popularity and the difficult recognition that adult life is not as black and white as one may hope. Unique and modern touches, however, help set the book apart, such as the references to Warhol, ruminations on the nature of art and a lesbian subplot. Rolston’s playful, vibrant b&w illustrations bring the characters to life; in particular, Emiko’s sweet, expressive face conveys her wild swings of emotions as the story progresses. (Oct.)