Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tokyo Days, Bangkok Nights

Title: Tokyo Days, Bangkok Nights
Writer: Jonathan Vankin
Artwork: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Seth Fisher and Shawn Martinbrough
Publisher: Vertigo
Tokyo Days, Bangkok Nights features two stories in one graphic novel.  They are both excellent stories, yet are both different in subject matter.  What ties them together is that the main characters are Americans who travel to Asia and get into trouble.  I’ll start with Tokyo Days first.  It’s about a guy named Steve who is obsessed with technology and decides to travel to Japan to buy the coolest gadgets he can find.  Along the way, trouble finds him; gangsters, the police, flamboyant rock star, and a jailbait school girl.  The artwork is very bright and colourful and it makes the story line seem like everything is fun and exciting.  It is a story that is meant to entertain rather then instil a serious message about the world.  Despite all the dangers Steve gets into, it made me want to travel to Tokyo and have the same adventure.
Bangkok Nights does a 180 degree turn on the first story by having a more serious and problematic storyline.  This time the main characters are two Americans (Tuesday and Marz) who travel to Bangkok and they’re the ones who initiate trouble.  Tuesday optimistically believes she can help change a world that is filled with vice and crime.  Unfortunately in the end, she find out that outside of the West, changing the world is greater than what one person is capable of.  The message from this story for me applies to many other places in the world; in order to help change problematic places, more than just rights and values are needed, but a viable alternative to live a decent life must exist first.  Without it, people will do whatever it takes to survive.  I highly recommend reading this graphic novel.

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