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A Young Boy Dreams of Fantastical Loves in this The Magic Fish Preview

Princess Alera arrives at the ball in young Tien’s story.

Princess Alera arrives on the ball in younger Tien’s story.
Illustration: Trung Le Nguyen (Penguin Random Home

You would possibly greatest know Trung Le Nguyen as Trungles, their social media pseudonym for posting gorgeous, magical art—however now the artist is making their graphic novel debut with the likewise spellbinding The Magic Fish—and io9 has a sneak peek inside.

The Magic Fish, printed by Penguin Random Home, follows a younger Vietnamese boy named Tien, who’s struggling to slot in after his household emigrated to the West. Nonetheless making an attempt to be taught English and slot in at college, Tien additionally finds himself unable to be open along with his dad and mom about his sexuality. That’s, till the fantastical fairytale worlds he bonds over along with his mom supplies a window to each escape his hardships and embrace his true self as he navigates these emotions.

The Magic Fish was initially conceived as a number of completely different initiatives. I used to be occupied with exploring the methods a fairy story might change relying on the place it’s discovered, and I particularly needed to take a better take a look at Tam Cám, a Vietnamese story that has a number of similarities to Cinderella,” Nguyen stated in a press release offered over e-mail to io9. “I ultimately discovered that I had a particular curiosity in fairy tales about transitions, about characters shifting into a brand new life and leaving an outdated one behind. I’m so nervous and enthusiastic about my first graphic novel! I didn’t suppose it was one thing I’d ever be capable to do. It’s such a brand new course of to me that I actually don’t even know the best way to handle my expectations round it. I hope The Magic Fish strikes a chord with somebody on the market!”

In addition to sharing a story about households and the facility tales have to attach us, The Magic Fish gave Nguyen an opportunity to inform a queer story about immigrants in a time when these narratives are nonetheless each extremely vital, but in addition fortunately normalized, with their very own work the most recent in a long line of LGBTQ-themed fiction for YA readers.


Picture: Trung Le Nguyen (Penguin Random Home

“I really feel extremely lucky that I’ve the liberty of not doing something groundbreaking in my new graphic novel,” Nguyen famous of the e-book’s various storytelling. “There have already been so many improbable comics by and about individuals of shade, immigrants, and queer individuals. Over a decade in the past now, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie spoke in regards to the hazard of a single story, {that a} dearth of tales creates stereotypes. For individuals creating work from the margins who’re breaking floor, there appears to be this unfair further burden foisted upon them to be an authority on experiences past the scope of their private experiences.”

“They’re anticipated to signify broad swaths of individuals like them, and to edify the general public about themselves,” they continued. “They’ve to clarify themselves. Now that floor has been damaged earlier than me, I’m grateful to have the ability to simply inform my queer, immigrant tales. I could make books that warrant a reader’s empathy as a substitute of simply their curiosity. And as soon as the burden of training a readership is lifted, I can have enjoyable. I can take pleasure in fairy tales, tales that by no means really feel the necessity to clarify themselves.”

Take a look at a passage from The Magic Fish that sees Tien do exactly that—embracing the fantasy of a princess dancing together with her real love at a magical ball, as he tries to reconcile his personal secret emotions for a boy in his class at college—on this unique excerpt.

The Magic Fish isn’t simply Nguyen treading new floor of their graphic novel debut, but in addition incorporating extra longform digital artwork into their repertoire. “I began out drawing the e-book historically, which was my consolation zone. I noticed a few third of the way in which by means of the e-book that my conventional course of was higher geared towards brief comics. It seems drawing, cleansing, scanning, after which formatting each single web page actually provides up after a pair hundred of them,” Nguyen stated of the method. “I wanted to determine the best way to greatest regulate my course of to fulfill my deadlines. My editors have been extremely affected person with me, however I nonetheless felt some guilt that my conventional course of was so gradual.”

“I used to be all the time tremendous unfamiliar with drawing digitally! I’m nonetheless very new to it. I by no means went to artwork college, and didn’t get a pill till lengthy after I’d already graduated from school. I needed to train myself the best way to use Photoshop and Clip Studio Paint from the bottom up. Fortunately, there are such a lot of artists who’ve made extremely thorough tutorials everywhere in the web as of late. It truly felt actually manageable to cobble collectively some new expertise by searching and gathering completely different artwork tutorials on-line. I needed individuals to know that this e-book was a piece in progress the whole manner by means of, and I hope together with that helps dispel any obstacles of high quality or perfectionism a brand new cartoonist or comedian artist may need. In comics, it doesn’t matter a lot that it’s finished completely as long as it will get finished!”

The Magic Fish hits cabinets tomorrow, October 13.

For extra, ensure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom.

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James Whitbrook on io9, shared by Kaitlyn Jakola to Gizmodo