Rice Boy by Evan Dahm | May 2018 Xpress Review

This graphic novel is "sure to captivate more mature fans of Jeff Smith’s 'Bone.'”

Dahm, Evan. Rice Boy. illus. by Evan Dahm. 460p. Iron Circus Comics. Feb. 2018. pap. $30. ISBN 9781945820106.

Gr 9 Up –A tiny creature named Rice Boy finds his quiet life interrupted when a television-faced T.O.E. (The One Electronic) informs him that he may fulfill a mysterious prophecy that will bring harmony back to their world. The former fulfiller, a frog named Spatch, went mad with power and fomented violence across the land. Now his son, Spatch II, seeks to finish his father’s mission and sends an army of frogs and his favorite henchman, Golgo, after T.O.E. and Rice Boy. The stage is set for an epic battle between good and evil. The theology of this land is complex and explained by perhaps one too many “wise one” characters, but fans of myths and legends will enjoy picking apart the philosophical threads. The illustrations and narrative style are reminiscent of Jeff Smith’s “Bone” series yet have a distinctly surreal Yellow Submarine quality. The creatures and the lands they inhabit are inventive, especially T.O.E.’s use of classic cinematic faces to express emotions (close readers will spot Boris Karloff and Humphrey Bogart). There are brief scenes of bloody violence, some characters drink and smoke, and there is one incongruous sexual encounter between Golgo and a barmaid. VERDICT Sure to captivate more mature fans of Jeff Smith’s “Bone.”–Anna Murphy, Berkeley Carroll School, Brooklyn

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