THE LOST BOY (Graphix/ Scholastic, 2013; Softcover)
Original Graphic Novel
Writer and Artist: Greg Ruth
The gist- A family moves into an old house. When Nate, the couple's son, goes in to pick out his room, he steps on a creaky, loose floorboard which the real estate agent, city inspectors, and property appraisers all seemed to have missed and discovers an old reel to reel tape recorder. Mysteriously, the boy seems to know how to activate this archaic device and gets the tape to play, revealing the story of the recorder's previous owner, Walt. Walt tells tales of talking insects, talking squirrels, and other bizarre, unbelievable things. Rather than thinking that this was the musing of a delusional child, Nate decided to look more into this magical forest kingdom thing.
Tongue in cheek “criticisms” aside, The Lost Boy is a brilliantly constructed story. Ruth's writing and artwork are both excellent, conveying mood and a sense of uneasiness while being all-ages friendly, hence the Scholastic imprint. The ending is a set up for future books, and it wouldn't surprise me to see a movie come out of this. I hope that we see more graphic novels first, though.
This is Horror tinged, with creepy, eerie black and white artwork set against an Americana backdrop. I especially enjoyed this aspect, as I am a sucker for Americana. I live in a historic neighborhood, with some houses going back as far as 1900. Mine is one of the newer constructions, a 1925 arts and crafts bungalow. My house is huge and weird and seems haunted at times too. Maybe I should try prying a few floorboards loose. Who knows, maybe I'll find a cool mystery. More than likely I'll just destroy the California oak hardwood floors and tick my wife off.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- The term Graphic Novel is thrown around recklessly these days. A Graphic Novel is a comic book that was originally published in book format. Nearly every single comic book that is published these days is reprinted and slapped between two cardstock (or hardback) covers and branded as a Graphic Novel. This is a marketing term, but it is a false one and I do not subscribe to this incorrect use of the term. Those would be called trade paperbacks or collected editions. Books with original comic book content published in the book format first, such as The Lost Boy, are true Graphic Novels.
Paper rating: 5 out of 5. Beautiful thick coated glossy stock.
Binding rating: 4.5 out of 5. Sewn binding on a softcover makes me smile.
Cardstock cover coating rating: 4 out of 5. I'm not particularly fond of the dull matte finish coating found on so many books these days. They feel coarse and are not pleasurable to hold. If we are indeed going to continue having physical books then we need to make sure that they are things that people want to hold and own. The white lettering on the cover and spine has a thin screen print coating to it. Everything seems scuff resistant but I do not like the aesthetic choice of the cardstock cover coating. Your mileage may vary.