Image Comics’ acclaimed miniseries Made in Korea offers an intimate sci-fi adventure tale exploring the quest for identity.
Six-issue comic book miniseries by Jeremy Holt and George Schall Made in Korea recently received a wonderful collection of trade papers published by Image Comics. To its credit, the grounded sci-fi story leans more on themes of identity and family than its fantasy premise and setting. Since its publication, Made in Korea was critically acclaimed and is one of the most unique sci-fi comics published in recent memory. Holt and Schall’s sleek new collection of paperbacks is sure to delight both dedicated readers and new readers.
Made in Korea follows a couple living in Texas who adopt a nine-year-old child named Jesse. However, Jesse is an advanced android produced in South Korea. Jesse’s artificial intelligence leads him to develop a personality beyond his parents’ expectations. As she acclimates to life in public school, a South Korean developer learns that Jesse has outgrown her original lineup and seeks to reclaim it. However, with Jesse possessing a mind of her own and on a quest to discover her identity, the impressionable android is vulnerable to harmful influences that could lead her down a dangerous path in the Lone Star State.
Holt’s script keeps readers on their toes throughout the story. Although the comic book series begins as a slice of life following a family reunion, Holt takes readers on a wild ride that winds its way into rich sci-fi possibilities – even flirting with the genre at times. superheroes – while never failing to keep in mind the real emotional stakes of the story. Made in Korea keeps readers guessing where things will go next, challenging conventional genre boundaries while crafting a tale of self-discovery and found family.
Schall’s work matches Holt’s tonal shifts perfectly. Schall moves easily from the domestic tranquility of his Texas opening sequences to the more neon-lit sci-fi sensibilities of his South Korean robotics labs and test centers. What elevates these narrative changes are Schall’s color palettes, which give a cinematic feel. Made in KoreaThe pages move like a cinematographer subtly swapping color filters on film to set the mood. When the story leans into raw emotion and visceral sequences, Schall makes these instances feel like a one-off staccato, allowing readers to catch their breath before the story picks up again.
This collection of paperbacks also includes short stories by Ron Chan, Eunjoo Han, Wook-Jin Clark, Dave Cole, Manuel and Alfonso Martín, and Jose A. Lopez and Fred Chao. Each news expands the world of Made in Korea, tangentially shedding light on different facets of this near future world. Adam Wollet writes most of the collection, except for a short story written by DC Hopkins, alternating between a more conventional typeface and a digital typeface whenever the story veers decidedly sci-fi.
Made in Korea comes from a personal place for Holt and Schall, and that connection to the narrative comes through on the page as Jesse finds himself and finds his place in the world. Made in Korea is refreshingly original. The comic doesn’t rely on well-worn formulas or genre tropes, but instead keeps readers genuinely invested in Jesse and the supporting cast through a tale that subverts expectations and charts a bold course. Jesse and the creators wouldn’t have it any other way.
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