I've read a lot of graphic novel this year. Enough to do a best of list, a first for me. Ghostopolis is amongst the best.
Frank Gallows works for the supernatural immigration task force. Hecapturea ghost who sneak back into the world of the living from the afterlife. Frank hasn't been doing such a great job recently. He's fired after accidentally sending Garth Hale, a living boy to the afterlife.
Garth is trapped inside an escaped skeleton horse, Frank sends back to the afterlife. I am always intrigued by an authors interpretation of the heaven or hell. Rumor is, this world for the non living was built by Joe, a mysterious Tuskagee Airman , with his bare hands so ghosts would have a place to live. There are seven kingdoms in the. The Specter, Wisp, Mummy, Goblin, Bone King, (the horse belongs to this kingdom), Zombie and Booeymen. Now things aren't so great in the afterlife. Vaugner rules by summoning bugs from bellow and pinning the kingdoms aganist each other.
Garth must find a way back to the living. Vaugner is determined to stop him. Garth has some help, his grandfather, his new skelton horse friend (Skinny), Frank and his ex ghost girlfriend Claire Voyant.
When the story opens Garth and is mother are on there way to see a specialist. The doctor informs Garth's mom that her son as an incurable disease. Somehow TenNapel managed to make what should've been a sad moment very funny.
The main protagonist of this story (as well as its classification) was a toss up. Since Ghostopolis is considered a middle grade graphic novel, Garth is the main character. This is one of those stories where it really doesn't matter who gets top billing. TenNapel is skillfully attentive to all of this characters and storylines. Including Garth meeting his grandfather, Cecil in the after life. Frank's relationship with Claire. There is obviously something there and its fun watching it play out.
I think adults will love that part of the story. Still not sure how young readers will take to it. Though I am betting some will think its pretty cool that Claire is a ghost. The first time we meet Claire she's nonchalantly flying in garage. That will probably win her and this storyline a few points will the younger set. Also the writing is just plain good. The banter and dialogue between all the characters is hard not to love.
TenNapel's artwork conveys as much as his words. In a few panels when Garth first arrives in the afterlife, there's hardly any text. The author still manages to get across everything that needs to be said.
Ghostopolis has a little of everything, a main character discovering hidden abilites, escape scenes, fight scenes, humor, deception and good vs. evil. I loved it. ages 11up