‘My Life Among Humans’ by Jed McGowan – Book Review

A fast-moving and beautifully illustrated graphic novel

My Life Among Humans is a fast-moving and beautifully illustrated graphic novel. With bright visuals and a simple story to follow, this is an easy book to slip into, even if the narrative fails to hit the thematic and emotional heights it strives for.

The story focuses on a nameless alien data compiler that arrives on Earth to study humans. With instructions from its manager to watch over Will and his family, it begins working undercover to read the minds of its hosts and figure out what it really means to be human.

Thematically, the book attempts to touch on the key elements of humanity, including ideas like free will, emotion and kinship with our fellow homosapiens. For the most part, that is actually conveyed pretty well on the pages and the journey itself has some suitably melancholic moments. As things escalate, the story becomes that much more intriguing.

The premise feels like an early Pixar prototype, like a hybrid version of Wall-E blended with elements of Monsters VS Aliens. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, but at times this story almost needed another 20 pages or so to really flesh out the characters and dive into their psyche a bit more. The internal monologue from our alien narrator does help to alleviate some of those concerns though.

That earlier idea of friendship – especially between man and machine – is not a new concept in this field but given the story is about humans, it’s quite surprising then to find a distinct lack of humanity with some of the plot beats. For example, no one really bats an eyelid to discovering this alien data compiler outside of the first instance, while a reveal late on about mind control is completely shrugged off by everyone who learns this. It’s a bizarre way of showcasing the story and it holds the narrative back from being more endearing.

On that same note, those earlier themes this comic explores feel very surface level. Given how quick-paced the story is, and how beautiful the artwork is as well, it’s reserved to a minor quibble rather than a flaw that holds this back from being more enjoyable.

With all things considered, My Life Among Humans is a fun read and it’s not a complete time-sap either. The themes are nicely explored and the story is endearing enough to see through until the end. As a one-time rental or a quick read during a break from work or studying, this one’s well worth checking out.

Our thanks to NetGalley and Oni Press for the advanced reader’s copy. My Life Among Humans will be published on February 7th, 2023. You can pre-order the novel here!

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  • Verdict - 6.5/10

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