From the Publisher
“It's rare that a new series will grab you by the back of the head and smack your face into a soft, comfy cushion of fun goodness. Yet that's exactly what Johnny Hiro does. It's hard to describe in the usual Hollywood pitch-style loglines—“Scott Pilgrim meets Bruce Lee and dates an adorable girl in a fantastically weird New York City” is about as close as you'll get, but even that doesn't convey the pure energy and enthusiasm evident in every panel of Johnny Hiro.” —Boing Boing
“My favorite kind of illustrated story is the one in which both the art and writing is done by the same person. Consider the work of Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise and Echo) and Jeff Smith (Bone and Rasl). And now I can add Fred Chao to that list.”
—Charles de Lint, award-winning author of Widdershins
“It’s not often I find a comic that makes me snicker on one page and then touches me right there on the next, but Johnny Hiro is one such comic, and it’s hard to imagine a comics audience that its mixture of silly humor and serious storytelling—and the light, airy art and strong sense of location that serves it—wouldn’t win over.” —J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
“The feeling that pervades Johnny Hiro is one of sincere, unaffected affection. It’s the kind of book you’d be tempted to call sweet, if it weren’t so clear-eyed and thoughtful. Call it winning, then. And pick it up.” —Glen Weldon, NPR’s Monkey See blog
Things happen to Johnny Hiro, like when a Godzilla-type monster snatches Johnny's girlfriend Mayumi because her mother had humiliated the beast with a mecha-enhanced knockout blow decades earlier. Or when an innocent night at the opera coincides with a dust-up involving 47 office workers acting like avenging ronin. Or when his boss at the sushi restaurant orders Johnny to steal a special lobster from a rival chef. Or when New York's Mayor Bloomberg intercedes with Judge Judy in a lawsuit about the damage the monster did to Johnny's apartment building. Chao shines at detailed, sublime chaos, dealt out bit by bit in slightly cockeyed line art. Throughout, Johnny manages all at once to be heroic, an everyman shlub, and a sweetheart of a boyfriend to chirpy, new-immigrant Mayumi—who specializes in goofy Gracie Allen quips. VERDICT This guilty pleasure offers occasional existential wisdom, like this from Johnny's pal: "When things are calmest, I shouldn't forget to dig a bit so I bring more to the table. It just makes things richer." Chao's funny, acrobatic, and sweet treat should appeal to Japanophiles, New Yorkers, and lovers of slapstick action from teens through adults.—M.C.