Sam Alden has compiled two gorgeous, nearly wordless stories in It Never Happened Again. “Hawaii 1997” tells the story of a mystical, moonlit encounter on a beach between a young boy named Sam and an unnamed young girl who leaves him with the enigmatic message, “you will spend the rest of your life trying to find me.” “Anime” is the tale of a young American woman, enamoured with a Japanese anime, who feels she just doesn’t fit in. She takes a trip to Japan, but finds it’s not quite what she expected. Alden’s pencil drawings play beautifully with light and shadow. Each page uses just the right amount of detail, and no more, to accurately portray emotion. His loose, sketchy style renders the soul of each scene more perfectly than a finely detailed drawing would, whether it’s Sam chasing the mystery girl down the beach or Kiki crying in front of her laptop.
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