Graphic Novel Review: Issunboshi: A Graphic Novel by Ryan Lang

Issunboshi: A Graphic Novel by Ryan Lang. Oni Press, 2022. 9781637150818.

The gods used the power of the Heavenly Spear to make our world and then separated it into four parts. Those were hidden so that the spear’s power couldn’t be used for evil. But one day an oni found a piece of the spear and set out to find the rest.

A childless couple prayed for a son. And the spirit of the air, the fourth piece of the spear, the essence of life, was reborn as a really tiny baby, Issunboshi. The second time Issunboshi appears in the book he’s facing down an owl as part of a bet to get two friend to do his chores. And then his parents talk to him, telling him his place is out in the world, and that he’s unique and destined to be a great man. A possessed bird, sent by the evil oni and looking for Issunboshi, attacks the family and sets Issunboshi on the path to his destiny, which includes: huge monsters, a blind warrior, a glorious training montage, and some of the most cinematic, black and white art I’ve seen in a long time. Lang works in animation and it shows in this book’s art and dramatic layouts.

This graphic novel is an all-ages adventure that I hope everyone picks up.


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