by Doug TenNapel (Graphix, 2010)

It is difficult today to find comics works dealing with the darker side of the supernatural that do not employ a fair-to-massive amount of gore or a fascination with the occult. This could be due to the fact that comics have become much too focused on adults (and that the creators assume adult readers WANT such material). Or, it may just be that most creators are not as talented as Doug TenNapel.

TenNapel's graphic novel Ghostopolis puts the creator's immense talent on display, presenting fortunate readers with an engaging story containing a dark, ominous tone, moments of eeriness you can cut, as well as laugh-out-loud humor, frightening villains and heroic protagonists who maintain their realistic feet of clay. All of this is wrapped up in the big bow that is TenNapel's wholly distinctive art style; you've probably never seen monsters and machines like these.

Furthermore, those who are familiar with TenNapel's work may find the form itself to be his brand of inimitable material. While the story is clearly reminiscent of the Ghostbuster movies, the presentation -- the "twist," if you will -- is truly unique. TenNaple has given the fictional world of "ghost catching" a whole new dimension. And it's a fun place to hang out!

Perhaps best of all, by the end of Ghostopolis, characters are rounded out by the experience: fears are overcome, potentials are realized and each of their "worlds" are better for what they have endured. TenNaple gives readers a sense of closure and contentment, both as individuals enjoying a great yarn, as well as taggers-along, living vicariously through his charming characters.

Contentment may escape the reader in one sense, however; after reading Ghostopolis, you may have a gnawing desire for more TenNapel work. Well, it's out there. And it's recommended for all but the youngest readers.

review by
Mark Allen

23 March 2013

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