Same Difference & Other Stories

    (Top Shelf, 2004-2005)
™ and © Derek Kirk Kim

Winner of the recent Eisner and Harvey awards for Talent Deserving Wider Recognition, Derek Kirk Kim offers a first collection of his online and self-published strips. Still accessible on his website, this handful of short serials concentrate on Gen-X, San Francisco Asian-Americans who banter about life’s meaning and social identity and reflect the mind of a creator doing the same.

In the lead installment, “Same Difference,” Sam and Nancy reminisce about high-school hang-ups and realize how poking fun at another person actually may boomerang. In other stories, Kim alternates between sarcasm and seriousness in covering the whacked interplay between Asian parents and their children, the failed aspirations of a young artist, and silly autobiographical confessions.

In the span of a year, Kim has traveled the prototypical path of unknown artist to officially recognized up–and–comer. His clean, fastidious style and inquisitive eye are promising and his effort earnest. However, he is still finding his way, with dialogue and setups often laboring to be self–consciously profound.

— Oliver Chin
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