Writer Sean Michael Wilson is a Scot living in Japan. One of the main characters in this book is a Scottish man living in Hong Kong- I wonder if it would be too much of a leap to see this book as somewhat autobiographical in places?
If it is, it is a remarkably honest one. Matt, the character in question is, while being a quite nice guy, not without his faults- particularly when it comes to his attitude to women and sex. Indeed, this honesty is something that permeates the whole book.
Apart from our title character Lee, most of the others are shot through with just enough flaws to lift them above what so easily could have been clichéd (domineering father, long suffering mother and kindly grandmother) stock characters and turn them into something altogether more real.
This is helped considerably by some wonderful artwork from (and this is where we declare an interest!) Hi-Ex! guest (indeed, Hi-Ex! stalwart) Chie Kutsuwada. While some of her work at the beginning of the book seems a bit shaky, the reader can almost see her confidence grow after only a short number of pages, and the standard of work just gets better and better as the volume goes on. Her brilliant use of silent panels and understanding of body language (like a heartbreakingly sad panel of Lee’s parents in bed together) really add depth to the emotion of the story.
While the arc of the story will, I suspect, not surprise many readers, it is told with such warmth, skill and truthfulness that the reader cannot help but be carried along by it and then lifted by the note of hopefulness at the end.
And ending which does a superb job of leaving the reader wanting more.
Seek this out!
The Story of Lee is published by NBM Comics.