• Title: Sumo
  • Author: Thien Pham
  • Released: 2012-12-11
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 112
  • ISBN: 159643581X
  • ISBN13: 978-1596435810
  • ASIN: 159643581X
From You certainly wouldn’t expect a graphic novel about sumo wrestling, the very physical definition of excess in mass and irresistible force, to be as thoughtfully understated as Pham’s first complete work (he drew Gene Luen Yang’s Level Up, 2011, with aplomb). Yet . . . Reeling from both a bad breakup and the failure to make it in the NFL, Scott heads to Japan to begin a career as a rikishi (sumo wrestler). Now an outsider struggling to master the art and culture of his new calling, itself a dying tradition, he finds he can’t outrun the crisis of coming-of-age, though help comes from the friendship-plus of his coach’s daughter. With a simple drawing style that gets a great boost from effective single-tone coloring, Pham uses blocky figures and symbolic nods to convey the graceful contradictions in size and speed, strength and small gestures that make sumo as much an art form as a sport. There is a gemlike simplicity in the deeply personal yet reserved story of Scott’s fruition, and a reminder to never mistake quiet for small. Grades 9-12. --Ian Chipman

About the Author Thien Pham is a comic book and visual artist, based in the Bay Area. He is also a high school teacher. Pham illustrated Gene Luen Yang's Level Up, a YALSA Great Graphic Novel and New York Times Notable Children's Book. Sumo is his first solo work.

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