This week’s look at NBM comics continues with Byun Byung-Jun’s collection of short stories, Mijeong.
The work is an interesting collection, because the stories do not really seem to have much of an underlying theme, seeing as how they’re from different times in Byun’s life and from different original sources. I suppose you could not that a number of them feature pretty sad characters, but not all of them. The impressive artwork of Byun, though, I suppose works pretty well in making them at least visually consistent.
Here are a number of preview pages…
His thin, almost scratchy lines really works well for the more tragic stories that occur in the book.
In a number of stories, the characters are what you would call “wounded,” and in fact, in one or more of the stories, that is not even meant figuratively!! To be honest, though, those stories (which make up about half the book’s tales) I found less interesting, as besides the great artwork, they didn’t seem to be saying enough about the characters involved – it is almost like he’s playing with archetypes more than characters. “A Song of You,” the only color work of the book, stands out from these types of story, and not just because of the stunning color work, but because of the manner in which the characters are more realized, which makes their fates all the more tragic.
His next three tales, though, were a good deal more engaging.
One story is an offbeat (and when I mention the connective theme of the collection, a story like this one REALLY throws everything off, as it is unlike everything else in the book) look at a cat who falls in love with his owner and tries to do everything he can to keep her from falling for a young gentleman caller.
Probably my favorite story is another offbeat tale about a cartoonist who begins to believe that he has control over reality – or is he going insane? It’s a taut, psychological piece with a strong ending.
The collection itself has a strong ending with a quiet tale of a man telling his girlfriend a story over the phone. It is an impressive picture of a relationship.
So overall, great artwork and at least four strong stories (with three others being decent, at least) and I think you got yourself a good collection, even if the stories don’t seem to necessarily go together.
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