Saturday, January 15, 2011
Brody's Ghost (Book 1) by Mark Crilley... A Graphic Novel and a Review!
Brody's Ghost (Book 1) by Mark Crilley... Brody is a lost soul in a futuristic kind of dystopian world. He doesn't care too much for shaving or cutting his hair. He gets by with dead end jobs, like stocking shelves at what appears to be a grocery store. He also plays guitar to earn a little cash, and one day makes his way to a street corner with his tip jar to work his magic. But instead of seeing the money go in the jar, he gets this feeling he's being watched and notices this pretty young girl giving him the eye across the street. When she comes floating out of the top of the van and over to him, he can't believe his eyes...
The girls name is Talia, she's a ghost, she's been dead for about 5 years from Leukemia, and can't get into heaven (she doesn't want to talk about what she did to be banned from heaven). But if she does this "super good deed", a "life task" she's got a chance at the afterlife. Her life task is a big one - to solve the Penny murders, a series of unsolved murders all involving young women. But even with all her ghostly ways, she can't figure out who the murderer is. Then it comes to her - what she needs is a ghostseer! Someone who can see and communicate with ghosts. AND use his psychic abilities to figure who the murderer is! She searches long and hard for 5 years until she finds "The One"... And Brody is it! Of course Brody doesn't know about any "abilities", and so begins the story...
A hero who doesn't really want to be a hero, and a sassy little ghost who means to get into heaven any way she can- and if it means making Brody shape up, she's going to do it. Oh, and part of that "shaping up" is training by a centuries old samurai warrior ghost, but Brody's got to prove himself before the guy will take him on as a student. The theme is simple, but the story is engaging. And the artwork is beautiful. Mark Crilley's artwork is heavily influenced by Manga and his characters are beautifully drawn, stylistic but not cartoonish. He doesn't just focus on the characters in his artwork either, the surrounding landscapes are well developed too. At the beginning of Brody's Ghost it feels like you are walking through actual streets. The details in the streets and the buildings are a nice touch. The story is well written, with an easy, natural flow between characters. Of course this should be no surprise to fans already familiar with Mark Crilley's work, he is the creator of the Manga series Miki Falls, and the comic book series Akiko, which started out as a comic and was soon turned into a story book series for Random House.
Brody's Ghost will be six volumes total. This first volume is a slim 89 pages, but a wonderful introduction into what looks to be a great story. BTW, at the end of Book 1, Mark gives us a look at the development of the characters, from the way he first envisioned them on the page to his final developed drawings, which I thought was pretty interesting.
Brody's Ghost will be my first entry in the 2011 Graphics Novel Challenge. Ever since "stepping out of the box" last year and joining in the 2010 graphic novels challenge, I've discovered some great books. A good graphic novel will be a treat visually as well as literally, and if you're still on the edge I'd say take a step over and see what you've been missing. It really is a different kind of reading experience and so much fun. I would recommend Brody's Ghost to to anyone who enjoys a story with that reluctant hero, a samurai and a bit of the supernatural- that would be that spunky Talia. There's also that element of good versus evil lingering in the background. It's hard to recommend the series after reading just the first book, but the story hooked me and I look forward to picking up Book 2 later this month.