Writer: Pornsak Pichetshote / Artist: Alexandre Tefenkgi / Image
Not very many comics can make a history lesson utterly enthralling, but Pichetshote and Tefenkgi manage to make the opening sequence of The Good Asian #3 just that. Pichetshote carefully narrates the origins of the Chinese Exclusion Act, a law that you probably saw in an American history textbook briefly but never really understood the great implications of it because of how American history actually works. As Tefenkgi provides vivid representations and recollections, Pichetshote provides a comprehensive explanation of different historical events that led to the current circumstances of 1936 Chinatown and, from this carefully recreated sandbox, is able to tell the story.
The Good Asian #3 marks a very special departure from the series usual perspective, as we get to spend time with Lucy Fan and get her history in Chinatown in San Francisco. It provides a nice contrast to the portrait that Edison Hark’s perspective has provided and further enriches the city and its citizens. Lucy acts as a way to situate Hark in this new city as he continues to search for Ivy Chen.
This type of mid-series tonal shift textures the narrative perfectly and gives Pichetshote a chance to explore different aspects of the era to great effect. However, the signatures markings of the series: namely stellar detective work and thrilling action sequences are still prevalent even with the shift in point of view. Hark’s roll is downplayed just a tad in order to provide this greater context, and it works brilliantly and we get to see an outsider’s perspective on one of the few Asian cops in the area. Tefengki’s art, Loughridge’s colors, and Powell’s lettering continue to bring Pichetshote’s words to wonderful fruition, and the entire creative should be immensely proud at what will be a seminal story in the near future.
The Good Asian is the type of book I wish I had back in high school when I lived in a predominantly white suburb with a predominantly white student population. The Good Asian is the type of book I hope gets incorporated into senior year high school English curriculums and freshman college level seminars. Pichetshote and Tefenkgi have created what is quickly becoming one of the definitive pieces of historical fiction and noir stories to me, and I want everyone to read this book. There is a timeliness and a timelessness to this book, a sort of eternal kairos that demands attention and respect. The comic does an incredible task of being educational and narratively compelling, and I can’t sing its praises enough.
10 “Free Shots” out of 10
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