gene luen yang and derek kirk kim's the eternal smile

Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim's wonderful new graphic novel The Eternal Smile is available in stores today. I got my copy last week and devoured it over the weekend. Simply put, it's another incredible piece of work from these two talented artists. The book presents three very different yet thematically linked characters and stories about escapist fantasy in modern life.

Gene Yang's critically-acclaimed American Born Chinese won the Michael L. Printz Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Derek Kirk Kim won all three major comics industry awards (the Eisner, the Ignatz and the Harvey) for his debut graphic novel Same Difference and Other Stories.

You know I was a huge fan of both these books, so when Gene told me he and Derek were working on The Eternal Smile together, I was pretty excited. It's a thoughtful, well-written, beautifully-drawn book, with the same kind of humor and wonder their previous works have evoked.

In some ways, this book was actually over ten years in the making, dating back to when Yang and Kim were first starting out as comic book artists (and friends). The first story in the book, "Duncan's Kingdom," was originally published as a black-and-white two-issue miniseries from Image Comics in 1999.

Also, comic books just take a really long time to make. Gene and Derek note that The Eternal Smile, which took over ten years to make, will probably take you an hour at most to read. That's 60.83 days (or 1,460 hours) of work for ever minute of reading. That said, I think the hard work shows, and it's well worth it. Get it here.

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