Insta Review: Ghostopolis, by Doug TenNapel

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TenNapel fever has taken over our library, and after our Cardboard book club, I can’t keep any of his graphic novel epic adventures on the shelves. Ghostopolis is probably his second most requested here, almost as beloved as Cardboard. I finally gave up waiting for it to be available and snagged the copy from the public library. In the opening pages, we find out from his mother’s tearful exchange with a doctor that young Garth is dying from a nameless incurable disease. He’s lying in bed, lamenting his bad luck, when more bad luck occurs – a washed up ghost hunter accidentally sends him go Ghostopolis with a loose ghost. Once in Ghostopolis, Garth ends tangled up in a quest to save the spirit realm from an evil leader, and discovers powers he never knew he had. I can see why the kids love it – it’s nonstop action, filled with snippy one-liners, and the illustration style is fun and exciting to follow. But the lack of depth in the characters made this feel like more of an onomatopoeia-fest and less of a novel. Garth’s “incurable disease”, the romance between the ghost hunter and his ex, the secret identity of the dark ruler of Ghostopolis; these major plot points seem to be casually mentioned with no substance to back them up. This graphic novel fits the stereotype of action without depth. A fun read, but not my favorite TenNapel story.

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