Review: The Eternal Smile

The Eternal Smile: Three Stories Gene Luen Yang & Derek Kirk Kim Publisher: First Second
Publication date: 27-Apr-2009
Date Finished: 17-Apr-2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 170
Genres: Short Stories, Graphic Novel, Young Adult, Fantasy
ISBN: 9781596431560
Source: library
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge


Meet Duncan.
Charming and brave, he’s the Princess’s favorite—and he’s on his way to winning the throne. But lately, the walls of reality in Duncan’s kingdom are wearing a little thin…

Meet Gran’pa Greenbax.
Nothing seems to satisfy this greedy old frog’s longing for a pool full of gold—until, one day, a mysterious smile appears in the sky. Has his chance at happiness come at last?

Meet Janet.
Her nine-to-five life takes a turn for the romantic when she learns in an email from a mysterious Nigerian prince that she has been chosen to liberate his family’s vast fortune. All he needs is her banking information.

In three very different stories, master storytellers Gene Yang and Derek Kirk pit fantasy against reality, for good or for ill. Subtle, surprising, and entirely entertaining, The Eternal Smile delves into our dreams, and the unexpected places they lead.”



This book is a collection of three short graphic stories that all have some element of an oppressive antagonist.

The first short story, Duncan’s Kingdom illustrates escapism beautifully. Duncan’s fantasy is fully developed and unraveled in an interesting way.

The second story seemed to cross dimensions at first, with an interesting twist that disproves that. Grandpa Greenbax and the Eternal Smile (where the title of the collection came from) centers around a money hungry frog. He is an awful character who ends with a unique happy ending.

The final story, Urgent Request, is a bit depressing. Janet is extremely underappreciated and her story centers around her struggling to find something to hang onto. At least it ends well.

Overall, I liked this collection. The varied illustration styles made it visually appealing. I would recommend this to anyone who likes deep graphic novels, those that include hard elements like abuse, depression, etc.

About the Author

“Gene Yang began drawing comic books in the fifth grade. In 1997, he received the Xeric Grant, a prestigious comics industry grant, for Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks, his first comics work as an adult. He has since written and drawn a number of titles, including Duncan’s Kingdom (with art by Derek Kirk Kim) and The Rosary Comic Book. American Born Chinese received National Book Award.

He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his lovely wife and children and teaches at a Roman Catholic high school.”



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