Ever wondered why there isn’t a webseries that does for indie cartoonists with THE GUILD does for gamers? Well now there is!
A few days ago The Beat’s Shannon O’Leary alerted you to the existence of Derek Kirk Kim’s new webseries, MYTHOMANIA, and now having watched it ourselves, it is SUPER AMAZING. Two episodes (or 9) now out tell the story of Andy Go, an aspiring indie cartoonists who lives in LA, gets rejected by publishers, hangs out with his friends arguing about Alan Moore, and hankers after a cool girl nerd cartoonist. Written and directed by Kim, it’s sharp, funny and looks great — AND it has cameos by Scott McCloud and, in an upcoming episode, Jason Shiga! WATCH IT NOW then come back for the commentary.
In 2004 Derek Kirk Kim won the Eisner and the Harvey for Same Difference and Other Stories, his debut graphic novel, which was really a collection of short stories and a longer novella called “Same Difference.” Considering that he had won the Ignatz Award for Most Promising Talent the prior year, it was a clean sweep for Kim — his pointed dialog, true to life but fresh situations and clean, insightful art coupled with tightly structured stories set him apart from the rest of the (super talented) indie pack.
Since this triumph, Kim’s work has appeared only sporadically. A web comic, Healing Hands, was killed halfway into it. Kim collaborated with Gene Luen Yang on THE ETERNAL SMILE, a collection of three stories dealing with various levels of reality (one was Eisner-nominated) and wrote GOOD AS LILY for the Minx line which also dealt with alternate reality, as a girl finds herself confronted y three versions of herself.
Kim’s latest project is another webcomic, TUNE (above), currently being drawn by Les McLaine, which will one day be collected for First Second. The story ALSO concerns Andy Go — but this one is different, an art school drop out, who gets captured by aliens in between dealing with the realities of growing up in a Korean-American household.
As Kim explains on his Live Journal, Mythomania and Tune combine for yet anothre return to altered realities and what they tell us about our own survival mechanisms.
Now you may think this is coming completely out of left field, but actually Mythomania is a spin-off of Tune! Mythomania and Tune are alternate timelines that stem from the same story. Both stories share the same characters but Andy Go and his friends go down very different paths after college in each series. So in Mythomania, you’ll also see Tony and Yumi, and eventually, Roger as well. Basically, Mythomania is Tune without the sci-fi elements. Tune is about alternate realities and Mythomania is one of them. There are superficial differences between the two worlds -– Andy wears glasses in Mythomania for example, and Tony has a different haircut, etc, but they’re the same characters.
While several cartoonists have moved into directing recently — notably Troy Nixey and Kaare Andrews — Kim has been stealthily developing MYTHOMANIA for a while. But its strong writing, all-too-recognizable characters and chilly LA vistas show he’s pretty good at it. If you like Scott Pilgrim or Gene Yang’s work, you need to check out Derek Kirk Kim — and luckily, a brand new edition of SAME DIFFERENCE is coming from Top Shelf later this year. Also check out the Mythomania Facebook page.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.