by Faye Yong
Now this I was really hoping for good things. After all, I’m very partial to that rarest of things in Western comics; the Rom-Com. So much so that I wrote (moaned) about it a while ago on this very blog. Murphy’s Law has all of the elements of a good Rom-Com and it nearly, oh so nearly pulls it off. But all the way through I could feel myself almost willing the book to go off in the romantic, sentimental or funny direction it needed to with a little more commitment.
Murphy’s Law certainly isn’t a bad book by any means. It’s good, it’s just not everything it could be. And I really wanted it to be more than it was. But then again, maybe, just maybe, since this is Shoujo Manga (which I understand to be literally “Young Girl” Manga designed for teens and twenty somethings) maybe I just don’t get it on two counts; the old age and the Y chromosome? It’s perfectly possible.
But I can see enough in it to see that Faye Yong has great potential. Her art is delightful, light of line stuff, but it does have a habit of being a little too pretty sometimes at the detriment of the storytelling. She throws a range of styles at her pages here and these old eyes were occasionally having to work hard to decide where the narrative was heading across the pages.
(Two different art styles on display in Faye Yong’s Shoujo Manga Murphy’s Law)
In Murphy’s Law we’re presented with that staple of Rom-Coms; the love triangle. Our heroine, Mary, is a bit of a klutz and rather a bookish and innocent college freshman (it’s the glasses that do it) who suddenly finds herself the interest of two young men; the rich, suave and charming Alex and the mysterious Rai. There’s a disastrous dinner date with Alex, an aristocratic rival and is wooed rather unconventionally by Rai (insults, confusion and generally being bloody overpowering – definitely unconventional wooing). After that it’s all about confusion, comedy mix-ups and the inevitable Rom-Com breakup and final resolution, where true love wins out as it always should in any good Rom-Com.
Of further interest, on looking at her website is Faye Yong’s entry for the A 2 page short comic created for the Observer/Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize 2008. The art and page/panel construction of Where The Sun Don’t Shine is a vast improvement uopn Murphy’s Law and really proves that her style’s obviously a fluid thing and she may have achieved a more natural and relaxed style, rather than feeling she had to draw Shoujo style. Personally I think it’s really nice work and definitely a direction she should pursue:
(Faye Yong’s Observer/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize 2008 entry.)