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Night Fisher

3.06  ·  Rating details ·  553 ratings  ·  89 reviews
R. Kikuo Johnson has created an intimate and compelling graphic novel-length drama of young men on the cusp of adulthood. First-rate prep school, S.U.V., and a dream house in the heights: This was the island paradise handed to Loren Foster when he moved to Hawaii with his father six years ago. Now, with the end of high school just around the corner, his best friend, Shane, ...more
Kindle Edition
Published October 12th 2005 by Fantagraphics
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Average rating 3.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  553 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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May 08, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels, teen
A graphic novel about teens doing crystal meth in Hawaii. I enjoyed the drawings of Hawaii but the storyline was blah.
Jan 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novel
Moody, pretty, brief.
Olivia Arrow
Classic case of a graphic novel that is gorgeous (Habibi comes to mind), with stunning artwork, but with such a lame story. Just yuck. I couldn't identify with anyone in this, not the rich kids, the financially ruined dad, stupid druggies and no female characters worth anything but a few panels of ass. Another coming of age story for the average white dude (I Never Liked You was similar), how dull and uninspiring. ...more
Oct 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 03, 2018 rated it liked it
The art is beautiful. The story is the weaker point. But, it's also a multifaceted look at growing up in Hawaii, and I think it's somewhat telling that it focuses on a group of mostly white/white-presenting teens. Very male gaze-y though, and the female characters were disappointing. ...more
This is a beautiful book about a young man moving through late adolescence, struggling with wayward friendships and the big question mark of his future. He's a good kid, a hardworking student at an expensive prep school that his father can't really afford. Kikuo Johnson does a good job of showing how a kid like this can still fall into a meth crowd, even while he's still more or less on trajectory--and what it means for kids from remote, racially- and economically-divided Hawaii to be headed off ...more
Pua Hawaiʻi Book Blog
This comic novella may not be for everyone, but if you enjoy these realistic and unapologetic looks at adolescence I recommend giving Night Fisher a read. Even if the story doesn’t resonate with you, the skilled ink drawings will make you appreciate everything that R. Kikuo Johnson has put into this work.

Read the whole review here:
Ill D
Apr 13, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty lame. Saying anything else would just be wasting my breath. Characters are lifeless, uninteresting, predictable, and not really all that deep; and neither is the plot for all that matter. From the crappy plot to the even crappier ending I have no idea how this crap got published. The art-work is pretty I guess though. Two thumbs down.
Jul 30, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ugh. The cover is deceiving. Yes some of the drawings are amazing and haunting--oceans crashing up against factories, a sense of the spoiled innocence of the island. But the storyline is pretty bad--rich teens on crystal meth. I wish I could rip off the cover and frame it though!
This graphic novel gritty and honest and has something to say. The symbolism of the white outsiders to Hawaii with the jungle trying to take over their yard, while the natives live next to a rat poison plant was spot on. But the characters lack development, so I just didn't care. ...more
Nikki Fox
Yay Reid!
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sequential-art
A story that ends just when something interesting happens.
Nov 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This graphic novel almost feels like two separate books to me.

The art is gorgeous, evocative. It sets a mood and delivers an emotion that the written words just don’t. It is mostly simple line work but there are a lot of moments that are just freaking gorgeous. You feel the heat, you can visualize all of this so well through the panels. Heck, there are points where you can almost smell Hawaii through this art.

The written story, though, doesn’t work nearly as well for me. It feels disjointed and
Arantxa Orig
I started reading this graphic novel after seeing R. Kikuo Johnson's cover for the April 5, 2021 edition of The New Yorker showing an Asian American mother and daughter anxious to get on the subway, wary of the current hate crimes on Asian Americans amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I did a quick Google search and found that he is a comics nerd and have two graphic novels under his belt 🤩

I found Night Fisher to be half-baked. Most readers voice the opinion that the graphic novel started picking up s
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: loeg-archives
So I finally got around to reading one of the most celebrated and hyped up debut graphic novels of 2005, and it didn't live up to its press.

Story-wise, there just wasn't enough there. It was a fairly standard "good kid experimenting with drugs and playing on the wrong side of the tracks" story. I really liked Johnson's art. His characters are (usually) fairly distinct, and he lays out scenes pretty well. I enjoyed the way that he illustrated motion in the early pages, and the detail that he put
Zachery Steven
This was an interesting read. I am fascinated with YA graphic novels. They bring a whole new level to storytelling that I find intriguing. This book caught my eye, as something of a coming of age story. The main character is about to graduate high school, and is introduced to the world of drug use. Sure, he knows people who do it, but once he personally gets wrapped up in it, his life changes. None of that change is particularly good.
In a classroom setting, I'm not sure I would have it in my cla
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As someone who enjoys Johnson’s illustrations for The New Yorker and The Atlantic to the point of following him on social media just to keep up with his work, I was very disappointed with this graphic novel. The story and dialogue are atrocious. While some frames have a smooth, haunting stillness (Johnson is able to illustrate inner silence with uncanny aplomb), these moments are too few and far between. And while the black ink images lend a noir-ish quality to the work, I have always been most ...more
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love love love the way that Johnson captures movement, depth, grandeur, and grime. A story about a high school kid who feels out of place, whose family is disconnected (is his mom dead), grappling with issues of class and privilege and soft emotions when he wants to be/hang out with the harder guys and just escape into a meth buzz. Brief but deep.
Sep 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story of toxic masculinity amplified by drug use. Beautiful art, yet the characters feel frozen in the sparse text and blocky blackwork. The novella makes me curious about the work of other contemporary Hawaiian writers--off I go.
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love it. The artwork is really refreshing and inspiring. The story is just snippets of life, mostly insignificant events of teenage life. It’s more about the mood rather than any big story arch. I appreciate that a lot.
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i liked it. just wish there was more to it. also it fucked itself by glossing over/skipping the best parts.
(Jen) The Artist Librarian
Night Fisher was an ... interesting look into the life of a hapa teenage boy living on Maui at the cusp of adulthood. It captures the stress and uncertainty many high school seniors face and depicts how one choice (or a series of choices) can affect your life.

The art is very naturalistic and there are little elements interspersed like “artifacts” of the characters’ lives: a land deed, a map, knot diagrams, botany style plant sketches, etc. I also liked how Johnson dealt with “whispered” dialogu
Jun 23, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics, hawaii
I just don't get the whole brooding, self-destructive adolescent machismo thing. Johnson's illustrations are undeniably beautiful—visually, NIGHT FISHER is of the Jessica Abel school of chiaroscuro brushstrokes. But narratively, these characters reveal so little emotion that it's difficult for me to be sympathetic. The redeeming scene of this story is when Loren, the protagonist, wanders through the Filipino market after his arrest. It's only in this mess of babies and breadfruit that the story ...more
Jan 09, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This graphic novel was a short and stunning look at life in Hawaii, but more important, teen drug use and its causes and consequences. I was torn while reading this book, wondering about what parents might say to have their teenager take home a book that shows drug use and at points has some rather bad language. But I'm realizing that these things seem somehow worse when shown in a visual format as opposed to simply being described in a traditional book. And ultimately, the book is a very dramat ...more
This is a dark graphic novel. It takes place in Hawaii, and explores the lives of some rich prep school teenage guys who get together and smoke crystal meth. Then they steal stuff in order to afford their next hit. They eventually end up in jail for stealing a generator from a building site. The kids are really disaffected and seemingly out of touch with anything really important. They’re bored and they have nothing better to do then get high. It’s sad and scary. They don’t seem to care much abo ...more
Loren is a Boston transplant to Maui with his dentist father. He attends an elite prep school with his best friend Shane. He and Shane have drifted apart as Shane gets more involved with a dicey, drug-using crowd. They reconnect in this environment primarily because Loren has access to his dad's truck which is used to facilitate runs of petty theft. The boys are arrested when police find stolen goods in the truck. A days-in-the-life glimpse of Loren's balancing act between responsible straight-A ...more
Nov 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novel
I read this in one sitting. It's short, reading as the middle of a larger picture. It's a slice of a high school kid's life. He's shy, but has the loudest friends. He's nervous, but he does crystal meth. He's ambitious, but he doesn't really attempt anything. He's just Loren, some student with glasses and a reluctant taste for crystal methish "batu" on one of the Hawaiian islands. He wants to impress his father and he wants his friends to think he's cool, but he's sort of indifferent to it all t ...more
Oct 17, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
The illustrations are beautiful, and that's what initially drew me to this book. I had no idea what it was about, and even when I found that it was yet another "coming of age" tale, I wasn't deterred from reading it.

I thought some of the interactions between the characters were interesting and dynamic, but as a whole the story was lacking. The illustrations really carry the story forward, but unfortunately that was the only part of this book that impressed me.
Jason Das
This would be a better book if the best panels were just blown-up and presented as a picture book.

Comparisons to Blankets are apt: quasi-autobiographical; high school; contemporary regional Americana; often killer brushwork; often lame story, occasionally great comics grammar, occasionally weak comics grammar. Like Craig Thompson, he'll probably do a great book one day if his writing catches up with his drawing.

But at least Night Fisher isn't overly long.

Emilia P
Aug 21, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comic-books
Lalala comic book binge. Um, this had great artwork, and the makings of a great story, and captured the spirit of teenage misguidness/viciousness/lostness. But in the end it didn't tie them all together and I get a little tired of books where I can't clearly separate character identities from each other. It made me think fondly of Hawai'i, but I thought the invasive species message, whatever that was, was unnecessary slash meh. But I'd recommend it on the basis of the precise artwork alone. ...more
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R. Kikuo Johnson grew up in Hawaii on the island of Maui. For generations, native Hawaiians have told tales of the shape-shifting shark god Kamohaoali'i; The Shark King is the artist's version of one such tale about the insatiable appetite of Kamohoali'i's son, Nanaue. Kikuo's 2005 graphic novel Night Fisher - also set in Hawaii - earned him both a Harvey Award and the Russ Manning Award for best ...more

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