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The Eternal Smile: Three Stories

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3.65  ·  Rating details ·  3,967 Ratings  ·  530 Reviews
Meet Duncan.
Charming and brave, he's the Princess's favorite—and he's on his way to winning the throne. But lately, the walls of reality in Duncan's kingdom are wearing a little thin...

Meet Gran'pa Greenbax.
Nothing seems to satisfy this greedy old frog's longing for a pool full of gold—until, one day, a mysterious smile appears in the sky. Has his chance at happiness come
...more
Paperback, 170 pages
Published April 27th 2009 by First Second (first published April 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Erin
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-borrowed
1st story 3.5 stars
2nd story 2.5 stars
3rd 4 stars.

I read this with a student and so we discussed the stories. The third story really held all of the emotions. A woman with low self esteem and ridiculed at work starts an email conversation with a click bait email sender. In my students words, "this story shows that we all want to be accepted but sometimes we allow fantasy to take us away from reality. "
Seth T.
Jun 18, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
I am a huge fan of Derek Kirk Kim. I adored Same Difference and was enthralled with the abruptly aborted Healing Hands. I liked Good as Lily okay, but couldn't shake the desire to have it redrawn by Kim himself so that the art would be as delectable as the book's cover. His art is just that good to me.

The Eternal Smile by Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim

I'm not as familiar with Gene Luen Yang, but I did enjoy American Born Chinese nearly as much as the hype indicated I should. ABC was well-crafted enough that it prompted me to seek out this more
...more
Jessica
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Three short stories, all on the theme of fantasy vs. reality. The first one was heartbreaking. The second one was freaking odd. The third one was adorable and heartbreaking and just my absolute favorite. Worth it for that story alone.
Monica
Apr 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
The big follow up (of sorts) to Yang's Printz award (and National Book Award, and Eisner award...) winning American Born Chinese. The collaboration with Derek Kirk Kim is made up of three different shorts that all explore the idea of loneliness and loss. The art in particular is stunning, especially in the last story, Urgent Request, where everyone looks like a tiny eyed Precious Moments figurine. Urgent Request follows a painfully shy woman who receives a request from a Nigerian Prince in a par ...more
Sam Quixote
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"The Eternal Smile" contains three short stories by the brilliant Gene Luen Yang of "American Born Chinese" fame and Derek Kirk Kim. The first two are by Yang - one is about a young knight who goes to avenge the King's death by bringing the head of his murderer, the Frog King, to the princess, thus becoming the new King. The second is about a miserly frog (think Scrooge McDuck but amphibian) who exploits a constant smile in the sky by making it the centrepiece of a Christian Evangelical-like rel ...more
Nnedi
Jun 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the art of the storytelling. I loved American Born Chinese for the very same reason.

I found Duncan's Kingdom oddly moving. And I loved how it all came together at the end.

I loved Grandpa Greenbax. It had me cracking up. I could almost hear the zany sound effects. I especially enjoyed the sudden moment of violence that pulled me right out of the well-worn groove it had been previously moving in. Loved that. The twist at the end was really really sweet and poignant, too.

Ok, here's the r
...more
Colleen Venable
The end of the "grandpa greenbacks" story gets me every time.
Sunny Stone
Jul 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: summer-reading
Like the "American Born Chinese," this book also tells three stories that seem irrelevant but all have the same theme. The first one tells a story of a warrior who realizes that his glorious life is only a lie. He makes up the phony world to live in so that he doesn't have to deal with his crappy real life, but at last, he chooses to go back to and face the reality. The second little story just reminds me of the movie "The Trueman Show." A mercenary frog lives in a place that is in fact a studi ...more
Julia Sapphire
Jul 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
I personally didn't really enjoy this. This consists of three short stories in graphic novel format. The first Story was Duncan's Kingdom and this one was okay. It was definitely the better story out of the three. It had the most plot and I did think the art style was decent. The ending just did not work for me though.

Story 2: Grandpa Greenbax and the Eternal Smile
This one was okay... The art was bright and colourful. But the story as a whole was pointless.... Again with the ending like what th
...more
Sarah
Jun 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
The Eternal Smile consists of three short stories. All of them deal with the concepts of fantasy and reality in their truest sense, and about the decisions we make when faced with a choice between the two. All three start off whimsically but take poignant turns.

All three also showcase the greatest strengths of the graphic novel medium. As short stories without art the impact of each plot twist would be blunted; the reader would have to be told things that are far more surprising and moving in i
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Miriam
Feb 20, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic
In this trio of stories, Yang explores the blurred line between reality and fantasy. Interesting idea but not an engrossing read. Maybe this is what is called a concept piece?

The first story was the best, but once I'd read it and knew the twist, the subsequent two were predictable. I would actually have rated each one alone higher than the collection, but together they reminded me too much of made-for-school story collections, designed to be "thought-provoking" or "thematic" rather than enjoyabl
...more
Nabila Tabassum Chowdhury
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: english, fiction
লেখকের সবচেয়ে গুরুতবপূরন এবং পরশংসিত কাজ ভাল না লাগার পরও তাকে আরও একবার চানস দেয়াটা মাঝেমাঝেই কাজে দেয়। এবার দিয়েছে।

এটা ঠিক গরাফিক নভেল না বরং কালেকশন অব গরাফিক শরট সটোরিজ বলা যেতে পারে। তিনটা আলাদা আলাদা গলপ। তিনটার ছবি আঁকার ধরণও ভিনন। গলপ গুলোর বিষয়বসতুও সাইফাই হিসেবে খুব নতুন কিছু নয়। রিয়েলিটি ইন রিয়েলিটি। তবুও বেশ ফরেশ লাগলো। পরথম দুটোর পলটে বেশ মিল আছে, তৃতীয়টা আবার এই দুটোর রিভারস পলটে লেখা।

চরিতরায়ণ, ছবি, পলট সব মিলিয়ে বেশ ভাল।
...more
Kay
Apr 21, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a funky one.
Three short bittersweet stories by Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim.

I liked Duncan's Kingdom the most. It reminded me a bit of American Born Chinese. I liked the art, the fantasy setting (the knights and the Queen) & the trippy reveal (Snappy Cola). And though the ending was a little sad, it was also the most hopeful out of the three stories.

I didn't like the art or story in Gran'pa Greenbax and the Eternal Smile. I get why the art was cartoony, but I really pushed thr
...more
Flora
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Three distinct stories, each with a very interesting "twist" connecting fantasy with reality for each of the main characters. A bit reminiscent of Yang's American Born Chinese, though the three stories are completely unrelated and do not converge significantly as they do in ABC (though the characters of the first story make a brief cameo in the second). Even so, this was still a very worthwhile read... and to be honest, the twist in one of the stories caught me completely off-guard.
Ajani
May 22, 2018 added it
really great book and makes you happy and has bloopers from the last story you just read
Rachel
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Whoa. That's all I can say. In each story, I did NOT see the climax coming. And the last story was heartbreaking, but it ended with hope.
Hamster
I remember liking American Born Chinese, so I was excited to try this one out. First of all, it's not a children's book. Don't try to read it to anyone under sixteen. Second, for someone who spent his childhood dealing with prejudices of others, Yang is remarkably willing to engage in his own bigotry.

(I know that's a serious accusation, and I'll present my evidence in a moment.)

I actually really enjoyed most of the stories and I loved the art. Very cartoony and satisfying. At points I felt like
...more
Karyl
May 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I won't pretend to be an expert on graphic novels, so my opinions are rather uninformed. I do love a great graphic novel, though I'm drawn more to the journalistic books put out by Joe Sacco. Having read American Born Chinese by Yang, I figured this would be a great read as well.

I was not disappointed. It's a quick and fast read, though the reader does take a few minutes to enjoy the art in each story, different as it is from each to another. Each discusses the concept of fantasy vs reality, yet
...more
John Adkins
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
The eternal smile is a collection of 3 fantasy stories all vey different from each other. The first being a story of a Prince Duncan, who despite having nearly everything he could possibly desire, is distracted from his glorious life in the castle by a mysterious coke bottle. The second story depicts a cash hungry frog/entrepreneur named granpa greenbax who just can't get enough of that moola. The 3rd story follows Janet, an average joe working an office job who feels terribly unimportant. That ...more
Arianna
Sep 14, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Blue
Oct 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'd enjoyed ABC by Yang and never read anything by Kim. The short stories seem all to be themed around loss and disconnect. Not loss in the sense of losing something or someone, but loss of purpose or will. There is a certain quality of desperation in the stories. In the first story this becomes evident about two thirds of the way, in the second one at the very very end, and the third one is dripping of desperation from beginning to end. The stories explore a wide range of subjects from evangeli ...more
Jennifer
Aug 18, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoyed these three stories; they were short and sweet. They were also refreshing insofar as they actually *graphically* told a story without too much text, which is more difficult than people realize, especially when the pictures are deceptively simple.

I liked the exploration of the idea of reality and escapism through technology and sci-fi/fantasy geekdom, but I felt that in some ways the stories and characters didn't have as much depth as I would prefer. Perhaps it's fine, because the type
...more
Loyd
Mar 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
The Eternal Smile is a collection of three beautifully written and drawn stories with no common characters or settings, but they all share one thing: they are explorations into the fantasies that intrude into the our daily lives and shape our perceptions of the world.

In one story, a young man comes to grips with his inner demons, trying to decide which is the best path to take. In the title story, a frog becomes a cynical despot until he is seduced the simple joys of life in an average pond, whi
...more
Nicola Mansfield
Nov 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book of short stories is an adult title with crossover appeal to teens. Yang shows us here that he has a taste for the strange. In these three stories Yang has taken a person's reality and turned it into a fantasy or turned their fantasy into reality, making for stories that end with the infamous twist. I enjoyed all three very much; they were each enjoyable and unusual, as well as making one think about the good or bad consequences of living in a fantasy world and avoiding your own reality ...more
Sanum
Apr 19, 2011 rated it did not like it
ABC was much better than this. I don't even get this story. There was not many themes. I simply saw the theme of escapism because one of the characters, Janet just pretended she was talking to the Prince of Nigeria, but she knew she was being tricked, but let it happen to her. She hated her life, and this sense of escape let her be happy. Another story was the one of a (frog) man who only wanted money and killed his partner over money. All the stories in this comic book are of picking the right ...more
Earl
Apr 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
The Eternal Smile is a collection of three stories covering different subjects and even genres. And because each story’s illustration style varies as well, I should give credit to Derek Kirk Kim.

“Duncan’s Kingdom” is fantasy in all its forms and meaning. The twist was kind of too afterschool special for me. “Granpa Greenbox and the Eternal Smile” is a take on Saturday morning cartoons/animation. Think Scrooge McDuck. This was actually kind of deep even with its intended over the top quality. The
...more
Iggy D.
Jul 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
This was a great book. I picked it up because it was Gene Luen Yang and I'd read and loved American Born Chinese. I was also really intrigued by the title.
My favorite story was the first one about Duncan, but then I go for messed-up fairytales. The second story about Mr. Greenbax disturbed me a little. I wasn't expecting such violence from a cartoon story like that, but the ending made up for it. The last story was just very sad. Janet Oh reminded me of several people I know, people that don't s
...more
Emily
Apr 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Three beautiful stories with commentaries on escape and choice, blurring the line between reality and fantasy. The first is sort of a meta-narrative on how we use books and stories and games as a form of escape, and we sometimes have to make conscious decisions to be more present in real life. The second addresses religion, reality tv, and scientific experimentation. The final story looks at how our perceptions of reality are skewed by global internet culture. All thought-provoking, and the artw ...more
Sarah
Eternal Smile features a collection of beautifully wrought and diverse illustrations. The stories themselves tiptoe the line between reality and fantasy, pushing the boundary between two worlds. Entertaining and beguiling. I particularly loved the page depicting Janet walking down the hallway toward her office door - it was a stunning set of drawings. Each story is too short for me, though, giving the flow a rather clipped feeling. Recommended for fans of the not-quite normal.
quinnster
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If there is anything that all of these stories had in common it's that there is a deeper meaning in most of them that maybe you just don't see coming. Janet's story in Eternal Smile was so sadly poignant. The artwork though was gorgeous. The African scenes were my favorite in all three stories. The line between fantasy and reality and what world you must live in were very central here. All three characters struck a chord in me.
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Gene Yang began drawing comic books in the fifth grade. In 1997, he received the Xeric Grant, a prestigious comics industry grant, for Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks, his first comics work as an adult. He has since written and drawn a number of titles, including Duncan's Kingdom (with art by Derek Kirk Kim) and The Rosary Comic Book. American Born Chinese received National Book Award.

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