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Same Difference and Other Stories

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  648 ratings  ·  85 reviews
After selling through the self-published run of Same Difference and Other Stories in just a few short months, Derek Kirk Kim proudly moves his debut collection to Top Shelf! Through a series of sensitive -- and often hilarious -- short stories, Kim deftly explores the not-so-average twenty-something's quarter-life crisis, romantic neurosis, and a refreshing slice of ...more
Paperback, 139 pages
Published July 6th 2004 by Top Shelf Productions (first published 2003)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  648 ratings  ·  85 reviews


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Kirsty
Sep 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
The main story was sweet, but the extra ones at the end were pointless –largely just the author's rants and masterbatory pointlessness. Should have stuck with the main story! ...more
Traci Haley
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels, 2012
The first story in this book was good, though a bit of a disappointment at the end, but the rest of the stories were just kind of "meh".
Tiamatty
Aug 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics, indie-comics
This was really, really good. All the stories were good. The bulk of the volume is Same Difference, about a 20-something guy who feels like his life is going nowhere and who's filled with guilt over how he treated a girl back in high school. So, the sort of thing that a lot of intelligent but unambitious people go through in their 20s, really. It's a story about that time of a person's life. It's also hilarious. The characters are realistic, and have realistic conversations, meaning they're ...more
Shanu
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
This was more of a coming of age story more than a reflection on the double Asian/american heritage some people have as i expected.

This story can only please hard core comics fan who might see magic where i only see flatness.

- underwhelming ending
- feeling of an unfinished story (vignette style)
- nerdy, embarrassing, disgustingly real characters
- bunch of pointless and humorless side short stories.

Would not recommend.
Kristin El
Jan 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics, asian
Love, love, loved the title story "Same Difference" which reminded me of a This American Life story. The rest of the comics are very short and not at all similar in theme or storytelling.
Kelly
Mar 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
Mixed bag. A few gems, but also a few more masturbation jokes than seemed really necessary.
Sharon
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
The title story is a slice of life comic that's amazingly immersive. It's strange and not too eventful, but the characters are so vivid and the dialogue is completely believable. Some of the other comics are pretty good too, including some sad and snarky autobio comics. I appreciate that the book is full of Asian American characters who live in the Bay Area.
John
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've thoroughly enjoyed everything I've read by Derek Kirk Kim and this book was no exception. This is a collection of semi and fully autobiographical short stories about high school, life, being alone and being Korean and being an artist. Kim straddles the line between oversharing indulgence and humorous self-deprecation. He's also an amazing and versatile artist and writer.
Amy
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
As with most short story collections, they're hit and miss, but when they're miss at least they end quickly and when they're hit, they remind me how wonderful it is to catch a snapshot of someone else's existence in the form of a well-told story.
Lisa
Jan 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I bought this book when it first came out. It was a lovely thoughtful piece back then and is still interesting today (though a little more horrifying since I know more about dangerous stalkers), but not a book I've wanted to keep.
Nicole
Dec 10, 2012 rated it liked it
The first story I enjoyed the most, though there were moments of eh mainly because that joke or statement was something I didn't think was funny or related to. But those moments weren't many that by the end, I thought Same Difference was a great story. The rest of the stories in the book kind of do the same thing. It's funny, I laugh. It's supposed to be funny but I don't laugh. It's something that I can't relate to or agree with. And mainly, it's stories that I am beyond. Meaning if I would've ...more
Lee
May 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Books should, as well as having an emotional connection, i believe take you to certain places that don't necassarily exist. The Story Same Difference makes me think of warm summer days-not too hot-and the absense of too much noise. The story is sparse, but is pure story. You spend an afternoon with two characters acting like friends do. They rib each other, tease each other, comfort and challenge one another. The dialogue is smooth and life like and in parts actually out load funny. I'm a fan of ...more
Dani Shuping
Apr 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
Cross posted from Amazon

Derek Kirk Kim is not only a pretty fantastic artist, but also a great writer as well. The bulk of the book is one story, "Same Difference." In the story we meet a group of friends discussing where they are in life and when one of them sees an old friend from High School, two of the friends set out on a journey back to home. Along the way they meet back up with old friends from High School and attempt to right a couple of wrongs. Strangely autobiographical, but
...more
Ariel Caldwell
Oct 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Same Difference (the first story) was interesting, and I haven't read many like it - firstly, the non-romantic friendship between Nancy and Simon, secondly the premise: Nancy's been pretending to be the woman that a guy named Ben is writing letters to, and she wants to go see him (as in, spy a little). I liked it that the two characters are just a little bit out of high school, a little bit older - they provide an interesting look (for younger people) at what life might be like when they ...more
Carrie
Feb 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Although I enjoyed all the short stories, Same Differences was my favorite of the collection. Kim's realness, his awkward and painful reflection on his middle and high school years are not overly relatable, but still brings to mind so many cringe-worthy memories I'd rather not reflect on. And he lets you laugh alongside him and at yourself.
Kapila
Jul 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
You know, I really wanted to like the entirety of this book. DANG there were some funny moments. And I absolutely loved the title story; I wished it could have developed more. I loved the fact that I was reading about Korean-American characters. The book's characters and stories really force the reader to invest emotionally, not surprisingly because at least one story is autobiographical in nature, but also because DKK, as author and illustrator, makes sure of it! DKK demonstrates a variety of ...more
Hollowspine
Dec 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
A collection of stories, featuring themes of awkwardness, the absurdity of American culture, coming-of-age, being different...being the same...and did I mention the awkwardness?

Even though the stories often made me remember my own awkward moments and cringe in embarrassment, I really enjoyed reading each story. His writing was very insightful (just as in the Eternal Smile) and goes beyond storytelling to ask readers to question and to remember and to connect with the characters in his work.

My
...more
Printable Tire
Nerdy slacker meanderings, definitely a product of its time. Speaks to a young, lonely, nerdy, self-loathing, (though apparently not just white) male population I was apart of not so long ago. Kim has great comic book talents while (like far too many) not having much originality in what he has to say. Stories which would otherwise be tired and annoying cliches in prose form have a certain sparkle to them as cartoons, and if you are into auto-biographical comics, you know what you are in for ...more
Heather
Oct 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
3.5 stars

As I have stated in other reviews, I don’t read my graphic novels simply because I don’t feel they provide the full background story and I’m missing some details. I read this one to see if it is appropriate to hand out to teens for World Book Night. It is NOT, however the first story (86 pages) was hilarious. I laughed out loud three times in the first 20 pages, Seriously! And I also am not one that typically enjoys stupid humor. However, the other short stories (just a couple pages
...more
Gretchen
May 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Jesus, this book fucking spoke to me. As a post-college graduate who's pretty sure (at this point), that I never want to get married, this book was so spot on and heartbreaking that it was ridiculous. Not that it's all about those ideas, but they feature prominently. Especially the idea of going back to your high school town and seeing people you know but don't really want to see. I'm not expressing this very well, so you should probably just read it. The main story, "Same Difference," was by ...more
Joy
Graphic novel short story collection. I enjoyed the opening story, "Same Difference"; it's by far the longest piece in the collection, taking up about half the book. It managed to portray Asian-American life without being obvious in the way that American Born Chinese often is. The remaining 12 pieces (none of which was more than 10 pages long) were pretty much disposable. Perhaps I'm too used to manga-style storytelling, but I was particularly annoyed by how text-heavy many of Kim's stories ...more
George Marshall
Dec 12, 2010 rated it liked it
I found it pleasant to read, nicely involving, with some good moments. But I also found the art too mannered, the dialogue too laboured and the characters too self-conscious to be realistic. And I kept
thinking of how well Adrian Tomine - the other prominent Korean American comics artist/writer - deals with exactly the same issues of young singles, love, rootlessness, finding an identity. In some ways its not fair to compare with Tomine, who is outstandingly talented and a superb artist, but
...more
Jim
Aug 10, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
first thing, the edition i read is from topshelf and has an english version of the spanish cover shown.
there are some good stories in here but w/too much swearing and using God's names as curse words. the author/artist has too much of a fascination w/the human ass and bowel movements. the book wouldn't be worth fighting a parent over if it were in a h.s. library. which is sad because "same difference" is a really good story and his two page "valentine's day" story is almost worth the price of
...more
Chris  - Quarter Press Editor
Dec 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful bit of a collection here. True, some of the shorts aren't the best, the titular graphic novella is well worth the read--especially if you're in the 25 to 30-year-old range, as it definitely brings up many things that seem to be relevant to that age group.

Both humorous and heartbreaking, the storytelling/pacing is spot on, and the art supports everything quite well.

Another fine book worth your time--especially as graphic novels take so little time to read. There's not excuse
...more
Raina
Most of this book is made up of one longish short story about two 20somethings stalking of a stalker (or something). LOVED that part. I can totally see the influence of Adrian Tomine (though he's not such a downer), and Alex Robinson (one of my fav gnists ever). The second part is a bunch of different short stories, including some memoir and travelogue, as well as some more wacky choices. Way fun, especially for a big fan, and especially since I saw him at the Oly library before teh Oly Comics ...more
Phoebe
This first book of collected stories shows its freshness but is worth the read. It's particularly interesting to have read it after reading Kim's two, more recently published Tune graphic novels. You can definitely see how Kim matures in both his illustrative style and story-building. The poop and sexual frustration jokes, however, remain. I forgive the frequency of them because Kim continues to exhibit a sensitivity towards the more complicated, emotional inner-lives of young men, and I ...more
Damien
Jul 24, 2009 rated it liked it
If the main characters weren't constantly referring to themselves as Korean, they could've been any number of the kinds of people I had known and hung out with since I was in high school. I really liked the primary story, although it had just a little too much in common with the subplot from another graphic novel. Some of the shorter stories were really good, others so-so. Whining about bad relationships is always annoying, unless you're Woody Allen, which Mr. Kim ain't... yet. I look forward to ...more
Thomas Andrikus
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Derek Kirk Kim has painted a painfully honest story in this graphic novel in what it means to become an Asian minority in the Caucasian-dominated USA.

With the hilarious anecdotes inserted in the latter-half of the book in form of short stories (which surprisingly have different drawing styles), he could not have done it better.
Erika
Mar 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
I almost want to give this lovely book a perfect score, because it touches the Asian-American experience so beautifully and humorously. However, there's just too much crude sexuality. Why? It can be funny, but it also can be unnecessary when everything else is so right on. I can't help myself from reading all the "young adult" "graphic novels" I can find about the immigrant experience. This one is a keeper, too.
John
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title story is the most interesting to me, filling a little over half the book. A nice little story of people behaving badly and then coming to realize and regret their bad behavior. The short stories aren't bad, but a couple of them aren't very well reproduced in the format making them difficult to read.

This gets an extra nostalgia star from me for being set in the Bay Area that I remember from the early 00's.
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Derek Kirk Kim is an award-winning Korean-American cartoonist. He won both major industry awards in 2004, the Eisner and the Harvey, for his debut graphic novel Same Difference and Other Stories, which was originally serialized on his website Lowbright (formerly known as "Small Stories"). He also won the Ignatz Award for promising new talent, in 2003, for the same graphic novel (which was ...more