Title: Pixels of You
Creators: Ananth Hirsh, Yuko Ota, J.R. Doyle (Artist)
Genres: Comics, science fiction
Pages: 172 pages
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Review copy: Library
Availability: Available now!
Summary: A human and human-presenting AI slowly become friends—and maybe more—in this moving YA graphic novel
In a near future, augmentation and AI changed everything and nothing. Indira is a human girl who has been cybernetically augmented after a tragic accident, and Fawn is one of the first human-presenting AI. They have the same internship at a gallery, but neither thinks much of the other’s photography. But after a huge public blowout, their mentor gives them an ultimatum: work together on a project or leave her gallery forever. Grudgingly, the two begin to collaborate, and what comes out of it is astounding and revealing for both of them. Pixels of You is about the slow transformation of a rivalry to a friendship to something more as Indira and Fawn navigate each other, the world around them—and what it means to be an artist and a person.
Review: My journey to this graphic novel began years and years ago. In my college days, I was a huge fan of Yuko Ota and Ananth Hirsh’s webcomic Johnny Wander, which was collected into a massive tome titled Our Cats Are More Famous Than Us: A Johnny Wander Collection. (And if you haven’t checked out Johnny Wander, I highly recommend that you do — it’s a delightful slice of life, everyday webcomic that will bring a smile to your face.) So I’ve been following along for quite a while, and when I saw that these two amazing creators were teaming up with J.R. Doyle, another artist I love, I was over the moon. I’ve been pretty excited for Pixels of You, full disclosure.
I’m not entirely sure what I expected of Pixels of You, but what I got was quiet, thoughtful, and surprising. It’s a moving meditation on AI, technology, art, and ethics while also being a visually rich story following a cybernetically augmented girl and a human-presenting AI who butt heads but must work together during their photography internship.
To be honest, I don’t think Pixels of You was fully my cup of tea — but that’s a matter of personal preference when it comes to graphic novels. It’s ultimately a thought-provoking and powerful read. What really gave the story direction for me was the chapter openers highlighting AI and technological dilemmas and events that rang a little too familiar. Especially with how much AI has been in the news lately, it really brought issues of ethics and technology to the forefront of my mind.
If you’re looking for a gorgeous and thoughtful read, definitely check out Pixels of You — it’s definitely relevant to the times we’re living in. I’m looking forward to whatever these creators work on next.
Recommendation: Get it soon or borrow it someday.