I recently got to read Exlibrium, a cool comic from Bubble Comics, a Russian publisher. Exlibrium’s art is done by Ozich, and the writer of the comic is Natalia Devova. Victoria Kim provides the cover art, which is not only beautiful but complimentary to Ozich’s art, which doesn’t suffer in quality when either artist’s works are compared. Margarita Kablukova provides warm and inviting colors to the art as well.
Exlibrium is quite a cool and eye-catching read, with some anime/manga influences in the art and the story. As “western” comic styles and anime fusions have become increasing popular since the late ’90s, it’s a good choice for a series that can appeal to lovers of both American and Japanese comics. The art is done by Ozich, and the writer of the comic is Natalia Devova. Exlibrium is a very fast-paced, action driven comic with dynamic scenes throughout the story. There’s a cuteness to the manga/western fusion style art. There are also magic and monsters which are depicted in a way that seems influenced by Miyazaki, though the story line is a bit more mature than Miyazaki’s works. Age wise, the comic seems fitting for middle school readers and up, not too graphic but filled with cool fights and an early adolescent coming of age story.
The story’s main character is Lilia Romanova, a girl that is a self-proclaimed geek. She loves comics, video-games, manga, and anime. Her life soon changes when she bumps into some stranger on a motorcycle, and a weird green octagon cylinder falls into her possession. Lilia soon goes into a strange transformation when a weird marking appears on her body. Monsters start to pursue her, and the antics begin.
There are aspects of this comic that remind me of Sailor Moon and other “fighting girl” shojo Japanese comics. Even more so than Sailor Moon, Exlibrium reminds me of Inuyasha, which did such a great mix of comic themes geared towards boys and girls with romance, fighting, real life situations, and comedic aspects.
Lilia isn’t as cutesy as some of these Japanese comic characters found in shojo, and is more Kagome than Usagi- character wise, she’s tough, and realistic, grounded. She’s likable and it’s easy for a reader to relate to her. Lilia is very believable as a geek, from the silly sequences where she quotes things from video-games and comics, to the clothes that she wears. Along with her silly geek-filled dialogue, her internal thoughts are even funnier to read, as she compares many of her own dilemmas to situations from well-known pop culture series like Superman and Aliens. Like many shojo stories, there’s a mix of adventure and slice-of-life scenarios. Lilia balances her regular, everyday life as a young teenager with the new magical duties hoisted upon her.
It’s cool to see comic creators from Russia using the diversity of genres and subject matters usually found within Japanese shojo (young girl) and shonen (young boy) manga. With the mixture of comedy, action, and regular life themes, Exlibrium has enough eye-catching material within the comic book for a wide audience, and not just a small segment of the population. It has a female protagonist, but it’s not written strictly for females, especially since it has a wide cast of both male and female characters.
Check out Exlibrium when you get a chance. It’s great to see a new and exciting comic book publisher from Russia, as well as a diverse comic with lots of action and combat. Even the regular moments of day to day life depicted in the comic are entertaining and funny to read. This is a comic for almost everyone, and you’ll find something in it that will appeal to you, whether you’re male or female.