Wednesday, November 24, 2010


the problem with doug tennapel is that his christianity is strangling his storytelling. a section discussing the creation of ghostopolis reads something like this (not a direct quote; i don't have the book with me while i'm writing this):

some people say ghostopolis is only 6,000 years old, some say billions. hard to say because time isn't sequential in ghostopolis. all that can be said for sure is that a tuskegee airman, joe, built the entire place by himself: the mountains to make the bricks, the bricks to make the buildings. [dramatic close up zoom onto nail holes in joe's hands].

really, doug? i don't think we're actually talking about ghostopolis, are we? furthermore, i don't think tuskegee airman joe is really a tuskegee airman, is he? perhaps your lazy symbolism would have worked better if you put a sign around jesus' neck that reads "joe." er, strike that. reverse it.

beyond the lazy symbolism, tennapel goes out of his way to set up loose story threads so that the resolution can be extra syrupy. it can't just be about a boy who's lost faith in life, and the hardluck detective that rescues him. no. the boy's dead grandfather must also make up with the mother, the hardluck detective also learns how to be responsible, dies like how he wants (despite obvious discrepancies with the world's established physics), gets his girl, also the bad guy dies, but the boy gets to come back home AND learns there's a cure for his disease AND meets the ghost of his yet to be born child! the number of story threads doug unravels solely so he can provide a more saccharine ending is staggering, and makes for a wholly unsatisfying ending.

additionally, this book is done entirely digitally. doug's storytelling may be mildly retarded, but his art has always been unsurpassed. except here. i'm not sure of his motivation for making a digital book, but it doesn't benefit from digital brushes or digital coloring. instead of a standout black and white book that could turn heads, it ends up being indistinguishable from any other underachieving marvel or DC title.

i'm glad i didn't pay for it. i just got it from the library.