I just read a fabulous graphic novel called Re-Gifters written by Mike Carey and illustrated by Sonny Liew and Marc Hempel. The book was published as part of DC Comics’ Minx line — “the first graphic novel imprint designed exclusively for teenage girls.”
Dixie is a Korean American high school student living in LA. She’s also a black belt in Hapkido. There’s a big tournament coming up, but Dixie has lost her “ki.” Why? Because she has a huge crush on Adam, one of her fellow Hapkido students. As you might imagine, hijinks ensue.
I loved the characters, the dialog, the art, and the story. And boy, did I love the respectful and informed handling of the martial art! Just seeing the word “dojang” used instead of “dojo” made me so very happy.* I also loved the way culture, race, and place were handled.
I couldn’t put the book down, and I’ll certainly be looking for more from Carey, Liew, and Hempel. If you’re a fan of martial arts, YA, romance, and graphic novels, I think you’ll enjoy Re-Gifters.
* Sadly, DC’s website does not treat the subject matter as carefully. In the “Bios” section, “Dixie” mentions her sensei, which is the Japanese (not Korean) word for martial arts instructor. Particularly troubling since the Japanese tried to stamp out Korean martial arts along with the rest of Korean culture. I couldn’t find a link to complain about the mistake.