Big Clay Pot
by Scott Mills
(Top Shelf, 2000)

Sun Kim, far too young to be on her own, flees her native Korea after a devastating accident and literally stumbles into a relationship with Kokoro, an older and wiser man, on the major island of Kyuushuu, Japan. Kokoro just wants to be left alone, but circumstances lead him to take the sunny, clumsy Sun Kim under his wing -- to feed and shelter her, teach her and tell her stories, and maybe impart some common sense along the way. It's an unlikely friendship that works.

Big Clay Pot, set in 200 B.C.E., is a lovely little story that captures a slice of two lives and presents them cleanly, artfully and without adornment.

The art is deceptively simple, but Scott Mills certainly has packed Big Clay Pot with amazing depth and expression. The story is broken into brief vignettes, many of which are whimsical, a few of which are poignant, and one or two of which are downright sad.

Kokoro is wizened and old, his face a shapeless mass like the eponymous pot. Sun Kim is young, appealing and cute, but thankfully not at all like the preadolescent sex kittens that dominate Japan's popular manga style of art.

Big Clay Pot is an intelligent gem of a tale.

- Rambles
written by Tom Knapp
published 26 March 2005

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