Mini-Comics Review: Coral and the King by Mai K. Nguyen

Mini-Comics Review: Coral and the King by Mai K. Nguyen

A few weekends ago, I went to the Alternative Press Expo, a.k.a. APE in San Francisco. Held this year in the Fort Mason exhibition hall, this year’s show was kind of a mixed bag… however, I did find several new books that were delightful surprises.

The standout hit of the weekend for me was Coral and the King, a limited edition mini-comic by Mai K. Nguyen, an artist/illustrator/comics creator from San Luis Obispo, California.  Published in an edition of only 30 hand-stitched books, Coral and the King originally appeared in a Kickstarter-funded anthology collection called Before, After, and In Between. So while I realize that I’m reviewing a book  you will have a hard time finding, I think it’s something special that’s worth seeking out, or at least following Nguyen to see what she’ll do next — because this little taste of her talent is certainly intriguing.

Coral and the King by Mai K. Nguyen

Coral and the Forest King, from Coral and the King by Mai K. Nguyen

Coral and the King by Mai K. Nguyen
Self-published, 40 pages

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
For readers 12 and up. No violence, sex or profane language

Coral is feeling pretty blah – she can barely will herself to get out of bed. Meanwhile, outside her window, a massive storm is pummeling her city. Sirens are wailing, heavy rain is falling, and cities are being swallowed by the rising tides. It’s at this moment that Coral is paid a visit by a fox-headed creature wearing a crown. It is the Forest King, and he’s looking for something that he thinks Coral now possesses. Eventually, the Forest King takes Coral on a remarkable journey to “where the gods draw their final breath.”

This is a mini-comic I picked up at APE in San Francisco a few weeks back and haven’t stopped raving about it since. The art is simply beautiful. The color palette of soft shades of teal, aqua, indigo, and burnt orange is tasteful and lush, the panels and lines are elegant, and the story is poetic without being too pretentious. It’s a magical, grown-up fairy tale that is memorably told. It’s a nice reminder that “end of the world” stories don’t need to be totally grim and gory — A rare gem of a self-published comic that needs to be seen and appreciated by more people.

See more of Mai K. Nguyen’s comics and illustrations at her website,


No Comments


  1. Printing Mini Comics for Mai K. Nguyen - […] and the King was first published as a limited, hand-made edition and was reviewed by Deb Akoi on Manga…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *