In Real Life is a graphic novel by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang. I decided to pick this book up after seeing it in the local comic shop. This graphic novel takes an interesting spin on MMORPGs, how to be kind to others, and economics.
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In this graphic novel, Anda, who is a young girl into gaming, is introduced to an MMO called “Coarsegold Online” and recruited into an all female guild whose goal is to attack the gold farmers in the game. When battling, Anda’s character is hit and she chases down the character who hit her, after almost being KO’d but then saved by a gold farmer, Anda befriends the gold farmer, Raymond.
Anda later learns that Raymond’s gold farming is what he does to make a living in the real world. Living in China with no healthcare, gold farming on an MMORPG makes him slightly more money and is safer than working in a dangerous factory and making almost nothing. This causes Anda to become curious as to how she can help her friend who lives so far away and is sick with no health care and has to work so many hours just to help his family survive.
This graphic novel is short but tells a beautiful story of friendships online, bravery, and courage while still teaching and making readers curious about global politics and economics.
The art is simplistic, yet beautiful. Because the art isn’t extremely complex, it allows the reader to still indulge into the story but have visuals for how the artists envisioned their characters.
To be honest, I thought that this graphic novel was going to be about feminism and I almost shied away from reading it due to that, but when I dove in I realized that it isn’t nearly as much about feminism as some of the reviews I read imply, as it is about true friendship and compassion. It is a beautiful story and if you are into politics, economics, MMOs or even just have made friends from other countries online, I would highly recommend In Real Life to you.
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