An intriguingly interwoven tale of four lives changed by a mysterious late-night radio broadcast that wakes them up from their mundane existences. Each tale speaks to different social issues without pandering to a political agenda: LGBT+ rights, racism, social network addiction, and the difficult decision between settling down versus following your dreams. Each tale is told in a vivid, polychromatic illustration style that flows from one character to another and back again in a uniquely identifiable fashion.
Warnings: nudity, homophobia (mention of parental abuse of a trans person, and homophobic remarks in general), gun violence, mention of a mass shooting, use of racial slurs
Midnight Radio is like an anthology of four stories that intersect, and the way it was designed lended very well to how it was rendered. The four stories are done in four different color tones, and while they intersect at times, they are separate and playing out together through the book instead of going one by one.
There’s a game developer who is stuck in a job he doesn’t like, working for a corporation that has bloodied hands, a Japanese girl who seeks freedom but is being threatened with deportation unless she co-operates with a sting, a selectively mute teen who is an Instagram star and communicated in real life through the captions on his post, with a sick sister and a trans friend who needs his support, and finally, a queer woman who has been afraid and in doubt. The stories start out confusing, but as we reach towards the end, the connections make sense. I did find that for most of the story it was leaning a little bit on cliches (‘boo social media is so terrible’, ‘what problems do these young online stars have anyway?’ sort of things) rather than presenting a new perspective on a situation, but it did a good job with each character’s development nevertheless.
The artwork of this book was beautiful, and I loved the loose line work, the subtle semi-realistic style, and the strict color tones that kept things distinct and precise. I would like to mention, though, that due to the color tone, sometimes the text would be difficult to read. The expressions and poses felt exaggerated at times, but overall I would say the storyboard was cleverly done with smooth transitions and good flow to the action of the characters.
Verdict: a decent story-line, and beautiful artwork.
Is it diverse? Has POC main and secondary characters and a trans woman as a secondary character
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Lion Forge, via Edelweiss.
Releases on June 4, 2019