My Boyfriend is a Monster #1: I Love Him to Pieces by Evonne Tsang and Janina Görrissen is the book I didn’t know I needed. Unlike Rise of the Magi #0, this book feels like it was targeted for me (a young adult, comics-reading, genderqueer lady person). But first, the plot.
The story follows two Florida high school students: Dicey, a star baseball player, and Jack Chen, the science student prodigy working on a paper about fungi with some of the best scientists in university. They both are made to work together for a class project – taking care of an egg (it’s basically a test to see if you’ll be a good parent, as public schools in the USA do. Like a baby behaves like an egg or something).
As the project draws to a close, they realize they want to spend more time together, even though they’re not really too much alike. So they go out on their first date only to realize that everyone in the town is evacuating – because of ZOMBIES! Soon it becomes a fight for their life to get out of town and save each other.
I’m usually very leery of premises like this one. I’ve read too many manga with similar ideas that disappointed me in the past. So what makes this one stand out?
For one thing, the art is gorgeous, but I’ll get to that momentarily.
The important thing to realize is that this comic is character-driven in the most marvelous way. I read the first page and knew immediately that I would love the main characters. That’s a rarity for me nowadays outside of the realm of webcomics. These two and everyone else in the cast had me laughing in the best way, and I became legitimately concerned when the zombies hit.
The art in this book is absolutely delicious. I’m a sucker for bold lines and expressive body language, and this comic has both. Some of the art does get a bit hard to read in some early zombie attack scenes, mostly because of the deep shadows, but in later sequences it’s easier to read.
I love this book, but I do have two complaints.
Complaint #1: The zombie element came almost out of nowhere. The only foreshadowing that may have tipped us off was that Jack Chen and his parents are doing research on a particular kind of fungus. When the first zombie came out I was like, “WOAH WHAT? Zombie what?” I know that the cover of the book gives away that this is a zombie comic, but still.
Complaint #2: This is a minor one, but this stands out to me because I’m a comic artist. There are a few instances where the tails of the speech balloons cross. Please please please don’t do this. I could still read it, but anytime I came across them, it was mildly jarring. When I saw the crossed tails, I would be initially confused because I wondered who said what. It’s a minor complaint in the grand scheme of the work as a whole, I know this. It’s just a pet peeve.
The comic as a whole does work, though. Despite my only two complaints, it’s a solid comic, and you should give it a read. You can get My Boyfriend Is a Monster 1: I Love Him to Pieces on Amazon (yes, that is a link to buy it. You don’t have to get it, but if you do, I get a teeny percentage, which will help keep the blog running. Any little bit helps).