Reality lives

Perhaps it takes a comic book—er, graphic novel—to tackle the issue of identity, if only because it’s a genre that comes much closer to being as malleable as humans tend to be, at least in how we define ourselves. Peter Bagge has written a graphic novel in which no one is quite who they pretend to be, but they’re all quite capable of messing up their own—and each other’s—lives. For instance, is Otis Boyd a spy who uses a Second Life-like online universe to conduct counterterrorism operations, or is he Javy Ortiz, the kid that famous journalist Darth Ryderbeck once stole a story from? And isn’t Darth Ryderbeck really Vlad Rostov, American scion of a dispossessed Russian aristocratic family? Throw in an Asian-American girlfriend-slash-fiancée and another buddy who lives in his car while pretending to be king of the world, and it’s a real mess that argues for a much simpler definition of identity.