In a little over a year, Asheville-native and ASU student Evan Dahm has created a most captivating work of sequential art. And it’s far from over. Rice Boy is an online graphic novel that tells the intertwined stories of a disillusioned robot on a holy quest, a one-eyed assassin with a dark addiction, a frog king who believes himself to be the son of a god, and an oafish horned adventurer looking for revenge. Weaving the threads together is Rice Boy, a humble soul (“All I can do is grow plants and watch sunsets and listen to stories.”) who might just be the one to fulfill a 3,000-year-old prophesy.
The story is at turns lighthearted and serious (owing great debts to Craig Thompson’s Good-bye, Chunky Rice and Jeff Smith’s Bone series), but has a strangely surreal flavor to it (kind of like a Jim Woodring Frank comic, only Dahm’s work makes some kind of sense). Since it’s available to read for free online, it’s well worth checking out. (Or, for you old school comics readers, the first two books in the series are available for purchase in printed form at $30 a pop.)