You Brought Me The Ocean, a graphic normal published by DC Comics, is set to be released on June 16th, 2020. The graphic novel was written by Alex Sanchez, illustrated by Julie Maroh, and lettered by Daron Bennett. The story follows Jake Hyde, a high school kid who desperately wants to leave his hometown. Jake has always been attracted to the ocean and dreams of being closer to it. To make this happen, he sent an application to a college on the east coast that has an oceanography program. However, he’s worried about telling Maria, his best friend. To make matters worse, Jake has to deal with his mother’s constant fear of the open water. But, things start to change after Jake develops feelings for Kenny, one of his classmates. Suddenly, Jake finds himself worried about coming out to the most important people in his life and discovering the secret of why he’s always been attracted to the ocean.
I’ll be honest and admit that I wasn’t quite familiar with who Jake Hyde was or the fact that this would act as an origin story to an already-established character. I decided to pick up this graphic novel because of its premise focusing around the LGBTQ+ community. I haven’t read too many other comic stories that include Jake, but I’m glad that his identity was the main focus of this graphic novel. As I was reading the story, I found myself wishing that a graphic novel like this one existed while I was growing up. This is a graphic novel that I know many people, including personal friends, would have benefited from reading.
Aside from the premise of You Brought Me The Ocean, I was really blown away by Maroh’s artwork. It’s one thing for the artwork to just accompany the story, but Maroh completely elevated the emotion and overall quality of the story. For instance, the raw emotion given by Jake reflecting on his hike with Kenny gave me chills. His thoughts on the overall experience would have been sufficient to paint a picture in the minds of the reader. However, the pictures add so much more to give us a better idea of how he feels. Looking at the world map and then at himself in the mirror show his desire to escape from his life but feels trapped in his own body. The final two images on the page show Jake feeling defeated but still looking directly at the fish in front of him. I can’t remember the last time I read a comic book or graphic novel where the artwork went above and beyond to give off this much emotion. It shows me that time and dedication went into making something truly special.
The writing in You Brought Me The Ocean is superb. What makes the writing really stand out is the fact that it’s written by someone who is a part of the LGBTQ+ community. The entire graphic novel would be different if someone else had written the story. Sanchez didn’t ignore any part of Jake’s identity that had already been established in the past, which is incredible. If anything, he expanded on the character’s identity to make him a more fleshed-out character that more people could relate with at any capacity.
I also appreciated the few instances where Spanish was included in the story. It made the story much more personal since I have people in my life who speak like this in their everyday lives. The writing alone is enough to make me want to read this graphic novel over again whenever I get the chance.
There were a few issues that I had with You Brought Me The Ocean, but not enough to fully pull me out of the story. For one, I wanted Spanish to play a bigger role in the story. If a few moments of dialogue were going to incorporate Spanish, it would make sense to add more of them. It would do incredible for Latinx representation in the world of comic books and graphic novels. On top of that, the lettering at times made it difficult for me to read the story. There’d be times where the letters would clash with either the drawings or the colors used in panels.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading You Brought Me The Ocean. This graphic novel does an incredible job of supporting representation for the LGBTQ+ community, which correlates with June being Pride Month. Maroh’s artwork adds a lot of emotion to the story that elevated the graphic novel to new heights. The writing feels personal, which is something I’m sure many readers will appreciate. I’m very grateful for having read this incredible graphic novel. It may very well earn a spot on my “Best Books of 2020” list.
You Bought Me The Ocean is set to be released on June 16th wherever comic books and graphic novels are sold.
You Brought Me The Ocean
This graphic novel does an incredible job of supporting representation for the LGBTQ+ community, which correlates with June being Pride Month. Maroh’s artwork adds a lot of emotion to the story that elevated the graphic novel to new heights. The writing feels personal, which is something I’m sure many readers will appreciate.