“[E Eero] Johnson is one of the most talented illustrators working today - it’s exciting to watch him become one of the most talented comic artists.” — Yuko Shimizu, A Wild Swan, Barbed Wire Baseball
Tsu and the Outliers is a graphic novel about a non-verbal boy whose rural existence appears unbearable until rumors of a giant monster upend his mundane life. When a secret organization begins probing his connection with the creature, Tsu finds himself at the center of a strange mystery. As the dragnet closes in, Tsu is forced to choose a dangerous path leading beyond the periphery of human perception.
Johnson brings Tsu to life, in a beautifully illustrated and a detailed inky style. Tsu must balance the challenges of two separate worlds: being neuro-diverse and different in a small town, and having unique powers in a treacherous and fantastical world of monsters.
E Eero Johnson is a graphic artist from the Northern Midwest. His illustrations have appeared in the New Yorker, Rolling Stone Magazine, and Wired. His comics have been featured in Los Angeles Magazine, The New York Times, and Nozone. He collaborated on the Minnesota Book Award Nominated hybrid novel/graphic novel Original Fake with author Kirstin Cronn-Mills for Penguin Books, and he co-published the experimental Kozmo-Knot the Never-Ending Comic Book with Uncivilized Books. Tsu and the Outliers is his first complete graphic novel.
"There's an odd story structure here that keeps the reader off balance. It starts in the middle of an action scene and eschews conventional pacing and three-act structure. The book also defies the typical hero's journey and gives every character murky motivations. Is the scientist good or evil, or is that classification meaningless? Is Tsu a hero or simply someone in the wrong place at the wrong time? Is Tsu entering a dangerous world with unknown terrain, or is he finally traveling into territory where he can finally be understood? Johnson keeps this all delightfully vague and is aided by his dynamic, scratchy line. The professor jumps around like a Jack Kirby character and the action is larger-than-life in that Kirby style. The single-color wash serves to highlight the dense quality of the line rather than bleed over it, making it just one more slightly off-kilter thing about this odd, compelling book." — Rob Clough, HighLow Comics