Review: Rice Boy, by Evan Dahm
Meet the protagonist of Rice Boy: a small boy shaped like a piece of rice.
He will change the world.
The plot is good, part prophecy-journey, part bildungsroman. Both of these do not go anywhere near as expected—the prophecy causes more problems than it foresees fixing, and it’s not the main character who ultimately grows up. Its approaches to both stories, the hero’s journey and the fatalistic triumph, are engaging and unusual. But its greatest charm lies elsewhere. Rice Boy brings the sheer joy of a world full of unexpected, magical things. You won’t see a world with just this sort of beauty in another comic; it’s entirely a glimpse into the world of the artist’s mind, an exploration of possibilities and dreams. One character displays emotions by cycling through images on the tv-screen that is his head; another reproduces by cutting off its nose. Grammar-joke Easter eggs pop up every once in awhile. There’s an honest childish wonder and confusion at life and at the world, rooted in a genuine love of story. That’s what drives Rice Boy, and makes it genuinely one of the most unique, heart-filled webcomics I’ve read. It has a bit of humor, a bit of darkness, even some war—but it always keeps its sights on adventure, wonder, and redemption.
Also, the best part: it’s already completed, so you can plow straight through without dying for an update. The paperback edition is well worth ordering—solid binding, gorgeous colors, nice smelly pages. The author, Evan Dahm, has several interlocking series in various states of completion, all of which are worth checking out (Order of Tales, for example, expands on some of the themes that got dropped by Rice Boy’s condensed plot). All in all, though, if you’re looking for something that has some tension and some grittiness, but mainly just glories in cool worldbuilding, nuanced characters that have some nice development arcs, and typical plotlines subverted, Rice Boy is the comic for you.
— K. Mae Petrin
(Image Credits: Evan Dahm)