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©2018 by Matt Ligeti the Comic Book Yeti. 

  • Matt Ligeti

ARCHIVAL QUALITY


Writer: Ivy Noelle Weir

Illustrator: Steenz

Publisher: Oni Press


WHAT IS IT?

A teen-accessible ghost story where the ghost is less “scary” and more a symbol of the stigmatization of mental illness.

Movie-wise, it’s kind of like The Others mixed with It’s Kind of a Funny Story.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

(Minor Spoilers)

Due to her depression and anxiety, Celeste loses her job at the local library. A short time later, she takes a position as an archivist at the local museum, which used to be a sanatorium and is rumored to be haunted.

She starts working the graveyard shift at this new job and encounters strange dreams, items falling off their shelves, other items disappearing or being misplaced altogether, and other strange happenings. As she tries to investigate, her coworkers begin to be concerned about her mental health – her productivity is down, she begins losing time and she’s even found unconscious in rooms she shouldn’t be in without any idea of how she got there.

Is this ghost and her mystery real? Or just a sign of her deteriorating mental stability? Can she prove the ghost is real and solve her mystery without sacrificing her job and her personal relationships?

WHAT WORKS?

  • The story explores mental illness in a believable, realistic way that ties into the narrative without feeling like it’s pandering

  • The moral of relying on those people who are close to us is important for a book that discusses mental illness so heavily

  • Steenz' art style makes the characters endearing and softens some of the serious tones of the book

  • The characters all have very good, specific styles and personalities and respond differently and realistically to the story’s events

  • Minority representation in this book gets an A+

  • The main character is a woman who copes with mental illness

  • Most of the supporting cast members are people of color

  • On the topic of characters: by the end of the book, I was sad to say goodbye to them

  • The bonus content at the end of the book was interesting, seeing how Weir came up with the story and how Steenz’ style has changed over time

  • It's a great "haunted house" style story that isn't too scary

  • Definitely a good, appropriate comic for young adults!

  • I personally really liked the book’s size, and the spot varnish on the front makes it feel like a special edition (plus, Steenz signed my copy and did a doodle in it, which gets all of the bonus points)

WHAT DOESN’T WORK?

  • If you’re looking for a ghost story that will terrify you, this isn’t it

  • Celeste may not be the most likable or sympathetic character for all readers (but does she have to be?)

  • I would’ve been OK reading more backstory on Celeste and the ghost who is haunting her

  • The ending’s logistics have me a little confused, but I won’t spoil anything


WHY SHOULD I READ IT?

It’s not often we get to discuss mental illness in comic books, and this graphic novel does a fantastic job of showing the realities of it without dwelling or losing the story. I also have a feeling we’ll be seeing much more from this very talented creative team, so it’s interesting reading this heartfelt tale fairly early in their careers.

WHAT DO I READ NEXT?

If you like the writing:

  • Princeless: Girls Rock/Girls Leadership Anthology #4 by Ivy Noelle Weir, Steenz, Susan Beneville & Brian Hess

  • LOW, Vol. 1 by Rick Remender & Greg Tocchini

  • Runaways: The Complete Collection, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona & Takeshi Miyazawa

If you like the art:

  • MINE! A Celebration of Liberty And Freedom For All Benefiting Planned Parenthood by various creators (including Steenz)

  • Brave Chef Brianna by Sam Sykes & Selina Epiritu

  • Courtney Crumrin, Vol. 1 by Ted Naifeh & Warren Wucinich

ABOUT THE CREATORS

Ivy Noelle Weir – Writer

  • Multitalented: Formerly worked as a critic, photographer, librarian, archivist

  • Dream Team: Met her creative partner, Steenz, in The Valkyries, an online group for women who work in comics

  • Very inspired by Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House (I talked with her about it on Twitter briefly, and the exchange influenced me to read it!)

Steenz – Illustrator & Colorist

  • Moniker: Her full name is Christina Steward

  • Multitalented: Is an Associate Editor at Lion Forge Comics

  • Lives in St. Louis, the chosen habitat of a certain lovable comic book yeti

Joamette Gil – Letterer

  • Is a “queer Afrocuban cartoonist whose work centers around queer femmes of color and speculative fiction” (From ComicsAlliance.com)

  • Multitalented: Operates P&M Press, dedicated to “the creative and economic empowerment of queer creators, creators of color, and creators at the intersections

Deb Groves – Flatter

  • Does a lot of flatting work for Oni Press

  • Multitalented: Also designs for Gaia Online

HOW DO I BUY IT?

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The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.

All Oni Press characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Oni Press or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

#Weir #Steenz #Gil #Groves #ArchivalQuality #OniPress #GraphicNovel #DreamTeam #Multitalented #Drama #Ghosts #Mentalillness #Moniker

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