“Sanpaku” is a Japanese concept for the appearance of the eye: white appearing above or below the iris could be a sign of an imbalance in life.
It’s also the driving concept of Sanpaku, an intriguing sounding first graphic novel from cartoonist Kate Gavino, due in August from BOOM!’s Archaia imprint in a deluxe hardcover edition.
Gavino is best known for her Tumblr and book Last Night’s Reading, in which she sketches memorable quotes from author readings. In Sanpaku, she crafts a novel storyline: Marcine is a 2-year-old girl fascinated with the supposed dangers of sanpaku—and the people around her who have it: her grandmother, some classmates at her Catholic school, JFK. Even Marcine herself. She tries to control it with a strict macrobiotic diet and meditation, but none of it makes her life any easier.
SANPAKU is a coming of age story, told through Gavino’s own Catholic/Filipino background. “SANPAKU was inspired by my childhood in the suburbs of Houston, Texas, where I was surrounded by my classmates at a small Catholic school and my religious immigrant family, says Gavino. “Marcine is at the point in her adolescence where she is constantly questioning what she is taught, and in effort to find something of her own to believe in, she ends up clinging to the idea of sanpaku and finding its cure. I wanted to write a book about the people I know the best: the quiet girl in class whose imagination is running at hyper-speed, the old Filipino lola who is a master shoplifter, the upright Catholic who is constantly letting herself down, and the bitchy best friend who will never forgive you for seeing her crap in the sandbox in kindergarten. SANPAKU is a look into their world, told through the eyes of Marcine, a perpetually confused twelve year-old who at the end of the day, just misses her grandma.”
“Cartoonist Kate Gavino is primed to be one of her generation’s most refreshing and honest voices in comics. Her worlds are tremendously fun and unabashedly insightful,” said Sierra Hahn, Senior Editor, BOOM! Studios. “We’re so honored to have this titles as part of the Archaia line, readers will be mesmerized by this seminal work.”
SANPAKU will be available in comics shops, bookstores, or at the BOOM! Studios webstore. Digital copies can be purchased from comiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and the BOOM! Studios app.
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.