Shiga, J. (2011). Empire State: a love story (or not). New York: Abrams Comicarts. ISBN: 9780810997479
Annotation: Jimmy is a twenty something nerd who is just trying to figure out how to be an adult.
Reaction: This was a super fast, enjoyable read. I liked the characters and could really relate to Jimmy’s restless feelings. I could recommend this to high school students, but I think those in or right out of college would appreciate it the most. Shiga does a great job of capturing that feeling of being 20-something “adult” with no direction for your life and utterly unprepared to take care of yourself. Even now, with a plan ahead of me, I vividly remember, and sometimes still feel, adrift, lost in the real world, especially because so many other people my age seem to have it all figured out.
I will admit that I was pretty confused for the first part of the book. Shiga doesn’t give the reader a lot of details to work with, so you have to really pay attention to what’s going on. It took me about a third of the way through to figure out that the story is told back and forth between the past and the present, which helped to alleviate a lot of my confusion. Thankfully, I was only reading for about … 45 minutes when I figured this out, so it’s good this is such a quick read.
I love the colors used in this book, all in shades of reds and blues, though I do not love the slouching hunched over characters. I know it’s a cartoon style that I seem to see a lot, but everytime I do, I turn into my grandmother: “Stand up straight! Stop slouching!”
Media Used: Drawn on copy paper with a yellow No. 2 pencil. Then inked over a lightbox with a series 222 seize 2 Winsor & Newton brush and lettered with a Micron 08 felt-tip pen. Colors applied digitally by artist John Pham.