Koko Be Good by Jen Wang

Koko Be Good
by Jen Wang
FirstSecond, 2010

An exceptional debut graphic novel with a vivacious protagonist, inventive layouts and a complex story. Failed musician Jon is winding up his life in San Francisco in preparation for moving to Peru to be with his older girlfriend when he encounters Koko, an engaging blizzard of chaos. Jon’s selfless project inspires Koko to be Good, with mixed results.

Koko is a round-faced big-eyed pouting tiny terror, like Fitz Bunny with a social conscience, and a terrific character to base a book around. The construction of the pages shows considerable thought and effort, with no two layouts the same. The artwork has been inked and watercoloured in a muddy sepia palette with the pencil lines still visible, and Wang’s characters are gifted with considerable expression and elasticity. There’s nothing lazy about this very satisfying book.

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