Graphic Novel Review 276/365: Spectacle

Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days! Or search #365GN on Twitter.

Hey, all! I have some cool things coming your way in April, so make sure that you are checking back every day. I appreciate you for reading.

Here’s another cool Oni Press book that I received from the fine folks over at Oni at C2E2.

Title: Spectacle 

Author(s): Megan Rose Gedris

Publisher: Oni Press (2018)

Age Rating: 13+

An interesting book from an interesting author, Spectacle from Oni Press and Megan Rose Gedris is about a traveling circus that get stalled due to technical difficulties, and during the stall, circus psychic Anna finds her sister Kat murdered in their train car, and now she must uncover her sister’s killer.  But wait, there’s more!  Anna can actually see Kat’s ghost, but ghost Kat did not see who placed all of the knives in her back, so she is of no real help in finding the killer.

You will quickly notice the “Book One” on the cover and the big “1” on the side of the book.  Yes, this means that there will be more and this book, while tying up a couple of ends, leaves you in the dark about much of what transpires.  And considering that this trade just came out, you might be waiting a bit for “Book Two,” but if you enjoyed the book as much as I did, you will not mind waiting.

The cast of characters is what makes this book fun, and that comes in part from the setting: a traveling circus.  A unique template breeds a cast that works on a few levels; with so many options of jobs and characters in a circus (that includes a freak show), you will never get confused as to which character is on the page.  Gedris even gives one of the sisters a scar across her face to help the reader determine the difference between them.

Through the back matter, we find out that Gedris herself was/is a traveling performer, and some aspects of the book are inspired from her travels.  I can get on-board with a author/artist that brings a unique perspective to the craft.  Having read over 250 graphic novels in the past nine months, I can say with certainty that this book has an originality that allows it to stand out among its peers.  If I had to put my finger on it, I’d say that originality is born from the cast of characters, mixed with Gedris’ bold color/cartoon-y art style, mixed with Gedris’ ability to tease clues and properly develop a nicely paced plot.  Most of the “Book Ones” that I have read this year have given closure to nothing, and as a reader, spending time with 150-250 pages, I better get some sort of payoff and not just an unanswered plot that will be further developed in Book Two…without some closure, I might get frustrated and not remember to pick up Book Two, yo!  So, that’s a lesson to all you fledgling graphic novelists out there: if you’re planning a series, close some doors before ending Book One, and with any hope…the doors that close will open windows for our characters to crawl through and continue the adventure.

Solid work, Spectacle team!

Happy reading!


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