Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Book Review: Ghostopolis

Garth is a hopeless teenager, but not in a conventional sense, Garth is dying. His mom has dragged him to every doctor and they have all said there is nothing they can do. But Garth has somewhat come to terms with his mortality, that is until he accidentally is sent to purgatory. This happens to be just another mishap from the Supernatural Immigration Task Force and the last straw for officer Frank Gallows who is immediately kicked off the force. Despite being down on his luck, Gallows wants to save Garth and enlists the help of is ghostie ex-fiancee', Claire Voyant to help him get into Ghostopolis. Meanwhile, Garth explores his strange new environment (with his love-able skeleton horse). He comes across a silly kid named Cecil who shows him the ropes of Ghostopolis. Garth feels a strange connection to Cecil and rightfully so because he turns out to be Garth's long lost grandfather.
Now that your mind has officially been blown I can tell you how much I enjoyed this graphic novel. From this point in the story I had a feeling that Ghostopolis was something unique and special. This is due to author/artist Doug TenNapel. You may remember him from the cartoon/video game Earth Worm Jim. Ghostopolis is his latest graphic novel in which he displays his gift for creating compelling characters and putting them in situations that are just as extraordinary.   
The story itself is one we've all heard before, a boy is given extraordinary powers in a new world and of course there is a conflict of good and evil, but the story is still great and it is the world that TenNapel creates that I fell in love with. It is a supernatural backdrop that allows Mummy Pharaohs, Zombie’s, Bogey men and Bone King’s exist among each other. It also allows human inhabitants to be of an internal age (you look how old you feel, hence the young gramps) TenNapel also crafts simple yet noteworthy characters that are both comical and emotional. The first ghost we meet is Benedict Arnold and like what we believe from history he is a straight up jerk, but a funny one. Frank Gallows is a poor guy unhappy with his life just going through the motions until he falls back in love with Claire (and I don’t want to give too much away but there is a little love triangle!) The most moving characters are Garth’s Mother and grandfather, who are able to make amends.
This is a great read for any fantasy fans. The intended audience is children, but it is still enjoyable for nerdy adults like me! Another thing I particularly enjoyed about this graphic novel, is that it told a great story in a short amount of time and in one singular volume. It is a nice change of pace to not have the anxiety of anticipating more.
Released in the Summer of 2010, there is already a theatrical version in the works. Hugh Jackman has been cast as our loveable anti hero, Frank Gallows (which is pretty dead on). Let’s just hope they stay that accurate and faithful to the book.

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