Love and loss have been a timeless theme of literature, music, and art. Fast forward to the year 2099, where Mariko and Rem are breaking up but have one last night together in the Mall of Portals, an inter-dimensional consumerist heaven full of unending vice, before Rem takes his new job doing data entry on the Moon of Plenty.
Mariko Between Worlds involves Mariko and Rem navigating their last night together in the Mall of Portals. Though the graphic novel has sci-fi and fantasy elements, it is grounded in the very human experience of fear of loss. Writer Matthew Erman does an excellent job of creating characters that readers can relate to and root for, despite the surreal setting. Artist Liana Kangas complements the story with stunning illustrations that bring the inter-dimensional mall to life. In particular, the seamless work between Kangas and colorist Rebecca Nalty makes for a visually stunning experience. Not to mention wonderful letters from Micah Myers.
Beyond the engaging story and art, Mariko Between Worlds is notable for its infusion of comedy. Even amidst heartbreak and loss, the characters often find themselves in hilarious situations, and the dialogue never fails to deliver a great punchline. This great balance of humor and heart makes the comic a page-turner, as well as a standout in the world of rom-coms.
Overall, the original graphic novel that delivers on all fronts, with stunning artwork, engaging storytelling, and a unique inter-dimensional setting. It speaks to the timeless human experience of love and loss, while adding a fresh and imaginative twist.
Mariko Between Worlds hits local comic shops on October 11, 2023 and bookstores everywhere October 10.