Jamie S. Rich and Natalie Nourigat create a charming story of love, robots and philosophy in their graphic novel “A Boy and a Girl.” Rich and Nourigat have created an organic love story where not everything is what it seems.
Rich’s script is delivered as a love story, but has some nice twists and turns, delving deeply (but not too deeply) into philosophy, and rather effortlessly building a world complete with robots that have gone above and beyond out typical idea of “artificial intelligence.” It’s all quite capable and enjoyable, full of charm and likeable characters to root for and interesting ideas.
One of the strongest aspects of Rich’s story is how naturally he builds a world that looks like our own, but is clearly a future full of technological advances. Never does the book delve into long exposition to understand this world, or suffer lengthy narrative captions. Instead, the world is presented naturally through the characters’ actions. While it’s easy to guess early on that Charley is not all that she seems, the final twist in the story is well executed and gives the entire book an added layer that’s unexpectedly wonderful.
Nourigat’s art is charming and lovely, making the best of simple black and white with various purple tones as its only spot color — an interesting and rather inspired choice. The character designs for both Charley and Travis are distinctive and unique while still remaining relatable. Nourigat is well matched for the tone of Rich’s story as she excels at finding a balance between a cartoonish and more realistic style that makes sense. Nourigat’s storytelling is effortless and she makes the most of the conversational talking heads scenes, while also proving adept at those more action-based. The acting is nicely expressive, especially when it comes to Charley, and only occasionally feels too broad or slight. There are times when some of the character work feels slightly inconsistent (possibly a function of pushing the acting a bit too far and losing the design), but it’s always just a blip and Nourigat gets it back with ease. On the whole Nourigat’s work is beautiful, and some of her simpler panels stand out as absolutely breathtaking examples of cartooning – she’s certainly got a long and bright future in comics if she wants it.
Rich and Nourigat’s “A Boy and a Girl” proves, in the end, to be more than the sum of its parts. Not content to be just another love story, it offers up thought provoking ideas on the human (and inhuman) condition with a lightness that makes it easy to digest.