A 250 word (or less) review of The Complete Wonton Soup
by James Stokoe; Image Comics
Sometimes it's easy to forget that comics are an art form instead of just machines for telling stories. Comics are able to function purely as an aesthetic medium if you look at them a certain way. And the thing about art is that it often involves a certain amount of experimentation: developing a voice, trying new methods, honing skills. A trip to a museum dedicated to a single master will often show the learning phase along with the eventual masterpieces which is super cool to see and proof that every artistic achievement is built on lesser accomplishments and failures. Wonton Soup is the early work experimentation of the comics art of James Stokoe. It tells the story of a pair of space truckers: Johnny Boyo, a talented chef on an inspiration seeking walkabout, and Deacon, a druggy sex-pervert trying to find love after the loss of his Sex Bear. The pair have a number of ridiculous adventures including an iron chef style cooking competition for space culinary school bragging rights, Sex Bear husbandry, and a wild drug trip that maroons the pair in an alien jungle. Mostly, though, the comic functions as a fun background for Stokoe to experiment with storytelling and develop his artisitic voice. I have never read a comic that spans such a profound evolution of style that shows both someone's early work and their later mature aesthetic. It's pretty great and a testament to the hard work needed to be a really great comics artist.
Word count: 249
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