It’s a ghost’s first day on the job and things are not going well for him in Robert Hunter’s first mini-comic “The New Ghost.”
Evidently, in this after-life, ghosts don’t just bum around in one place haunting their old homes. Instead they band together as a group and fly in the air, moving as a pack to do a very odd thing. These ghosts select living people, beguile them, and carry them into the sky. Where they burn up in the atmosphere and are essentially made dead.
Seems pretty grim. The dead making more things dead. But there is a purpose to it all that the new ghost doesn’t understand yet, nor does the reader, at the outset.
Our titular “new ghost” gets separated from the rest before he’s had a chance to learn his role. He is inexperienced at ghosting and instead of passing through an object he gets stuck in it and left behind the rest. A man with a telescope sees the accident and goes out to help. He takes the ghost in afterward and they become friends.
It’s no ordinary telescope that the man owns though. He has a huge observatory telescope and seems to be an astronomer. He tells the ghost that he watches the night sky, looking for stars. They decide to use the telescope to find the new ghost’s group so he can rejoin them and in doing so learn that this bunch of ghosts, at first blush, seem to be a scary group of life-taking bullies.
Robert Hunter is a trained illustrator who worked with the small-press publisher Nobrow Press to create “The New Ghost.” It’s a gorgeous piece that plays with color and panel structure. It’s an original story, told well, but the best and most unique thing about it is the highly saturated and beautiful artwork.
Probably because Hunter is an illustrator fist, his narrative style is unlike what you’d find in most comic books. Dialog does not drive the plot at all. In fact, no characters ever talk directly to each other. It’s all told through the first-person perspective of the ghost and illustrated in a comic book style.
It’s always nice to see experiments in cartooning though, particularly when they come out this polished and readable.
“The New Ghost” is a lovely book and a real achievement for its author and printer. It’s part of the 17×23 series produced by Nobrow Press, which, according to the publisher, “is a new graphic short story project designed to help talented young graphic novelists tell their stories in a manageable and economic format.”
“The New Ghost” is 24-pages long, 6.75″x9″ in size and printed in four-colors using the spot-color process, which is rare to see for its expense, but results in a lovely and true hue for each color represented. It costs $11 and is available through Nobrow Press. Learn more about the work of Robert Hunter on his website.