Thursday, May 10, 2018

Tsu and the Outliers

I added a new way to learn about new graphic novels. I found this book by following uncivilized books' Instagram account. I thought the cover was very cool and asked for a galley copy, and I am very glad I did. This book features a Sasquatch and a Chupacabra, so it's got a lot going for it right off the bat.

Seriously though, this book stars Tsu, an autistic, adolescent boy who lives in a rural setting and does not talk. He is an outcast at school, and receives his share of grief from the local bullies. But he has some sort power that gives him the ability to communicate with wildlife, and in particular he is close with one incredibly large and powerful creature that saves his life after a bus accident.
All of these weird happenings bring the attention of a strange and mysterious doctor who resembles a chimpanzee and is looking to exploit Tsu's abilities and gain control over that creature. I am not going to reveal more about the plot, only to say that its ending is unresolved and invites reading the next book in the series. I found myself very intrigued by the mystery and adventures here, and I am looking forward to that continuation.

Not only did I enjoy the plot of this book, I was also very taken with the artwork. It is frenetic and exciting, particularly in its action and woodland sequences. I love the character designs and feel that they contribute to a fine balance between darkness and adventure. This book takes on the look and feel of the superhero genre but of a more visceral, almost horrific tale. I really liked its vibe.

This is the debut graphic novel by E. Eero Johnson, who has also collaborated on the illustrated novel Original Fake. He is a veteran illustrator whose work has appeared in many high profile publications.

I was not able to find many reviews of this book online, but Kirkus Reviews wrote that it "may appeal to middle school readers looking for a different kind of superpowered adventure." You can read some earlier reviews based on the original 32-page version of this story published in 2013. There are also a few reviews of the current edition available on Goodreads.

Tsu and the Outliers was published by uncivilized books, and they offer more information about it here.

A galley copy was provided by the publisher.

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