Pixels of You
Pixels of You is a new young adult sf graphic novel, written by Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Ota and illustrated by Jenn Doyle, published today by Abrams. It’s a sweet, smart tale of art, bitterness, enmity and camaraderie.
Pixels’ two protagonists are a pair of young women who have both won a coveted spot at an upscale photography gallery.
Indira is the survivor of a wreck that orphaned her and led to one of her eyes being replaced with a digital camera; Fawn is a human-presenting AI whose robot “parents” sacrificed all to give her a skinsuit that lets her pass as a human.
They begin the tale as rivals but when their bickering frustrates the gallery’s mercurial owner, she orders them to collaborate on a graduate project, threatening to end their nascent art careers if they fail to produce work of merit.
It’s a fantastic setup for a buddy story, one where the irreconcilable is reconciled, where hate flips to love and back again, and where art is debated, created, destroyed and finally remade.
Graphic novels are (unsurprisingly) great vehicles for stories about art. While painterly novels like Chaim Potok’s My Name is Asher Lev and Steven Brust’s *The Sun, The Moon and the Stars* must approximate the visual with the literary, comics can skip that step entirely.
It’s partly why Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics remains a classic: using the visual to illustrate the visual is a natural and powerful technique. It’s also why Disney’s Looking at Paintings is such a superb book on art theory.
Comics aren’t limited to tales of visual art; it’s a great medium for any tale of art and artistry. Think of Cecil Castellucci’s memoir Girl on Film, variously a meditation on film, writing, rock-and-rolling, and the neurological basis for memory formation.