Yun, Mi-Kyung. Bride of the Water God. Vol. 1. Trans. Heejeong Haas and Philip Simon. Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse, 2007. Summary
: To appease the water god Habaek, Soah's village offers her up as a sacrifice. Now a resident of the realm of the gods, Soah must unravel its mysteries...and learn the fate of those Brides who came before her. Comments
: Do mine eyes deceive me? A shoujo manga (or sunjeong manhwa, if we must quibble about things) from Dark Horse??? Over a full decade after Sailor Moon
debuted on the toxic yellow pages of Mixxine
, Dark Horse is at last caving in to the realities of the US manga market. And while from the perspective of the States, this may look like little more than crass tokenism, make no mistake: Bride of the Water God
is a big deal in the South Korean sunjeong manhwa milieu right now. As big of a deal as, say, Gung
was a few years ago in the way that it effortlessly welds Korean culture onto a medium of foreign origin.
And while I'm by no means a slavish booster of anything and everything popular, I should note that this title has all of the components of a successful girls' comic: luxurious yet ethereal artwork, beautiful men and
women, gorgeous period costumes, and forbidden romance. The storytelling, moreover, is as strong as the art, resonating with the timeless, mythical power of a fairytale; think "Beauty and the Beast" or its Korean variation, "Shimchong, the Blind Man's Daughter." (Not even Fushigi Yuugi
achieved that level of grandeur.) Kudos to Yun Mi-Kyung for what I hope will be the start of an auspicious career in comics creation. Kudos as well to Dark Horse for releasing the title. (You do a better adaptation job than certain other publishers who shall remain unnamed!) Notes
: A5 paperback, 1st American edition; first published in Korea by Seoul Munhwasa in 2006 Rating
- Though not as necessarily addictive as other Wink sunjeong manhwa, this is a more than solid title worthy of a wide audience.