Part of the stories that I get to experience comes right from my students. I get offered suggestions for films, comics, and television shows all the time. And I try to do a decent job of watching or reading those suggestions. I dig that my students feel comfortable sharing with me, so I want to imbibe the media and have a conversation about it.
This week, with the exception of Wednesday (NCBD) and Sunday (Sunday’s For Teachers), I will be reviewing comics that this semester’s students have given me to read. Today’s tale is a good one. It’s an interesting story of space exploration and self discovery in the package of a YA graphic novel series entitled Space Boy.
Title: Space Boy Vol. 1
Author(s): Stephen McCranie
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics (2018)
Age Rating: 13+
Amy is a teenage girl that has lived the majority of her life floating through space on a city-sized ship, heading to explore the unknown. Her dad gets fired from his job, and Amy’s family finds themselves cryogenically frozen for a thirty-year trip back to Earth to start anew.
While this is the basic shape that our plot points slide into, the story sets itself up to be anything but simple. Amy must not only deal with the fact that she and her family have missed thirty years of existence, but we are tossed a murdered scientist, an opening that alludes to nothing working out for our protagonist, and an intriguingly mysterious boy with no distinguishable personality that pops up in unexpected places.
McCranie has set himself up for some plot/character development for many volumes to come. It’s actually one of my only criticisms of the book: I want more. There are so many questions that are left unanswered in volume one that it could be a bit overwhelming for some readers. Luckily, the frame of Amy’s world is strong enough for us to stand on as we take the journey with her. I just worry that I might have to reread this volume before I pick up book two. But that’s the way it is with a lot of plot…it’s not a bad thing; it’s just a thing.
The art style is great, although, very digital in aesthetic. McCranie uses a good amount of blank space and simplistic background to stress the characters and their interactions. This is especially true when we are in space during Act One. Huge panels fill entire pages to allow us the opportunity to take in the immensity of space. Accompany that with the simple digital lines and we have a book that seems to mimic the cold, stylistic future that McCranie lays out for us.
I have to discuss what I feel to be my favorite part of this book…no serious spoilers. After Amy has come back to Earth and has made some friends, she finds herself assimilating to an Earth culture that she only dreamt about as a kid, while watching old 80s films with friends.
After taking a photo with her new Earth friends, she states, “The people in the photo are stylish and beautiful and perfectly in sync with the latest Earth trends. And I am one of them. I am one of them now.” And her face is set in what looks to be a saddened state. This image closes the book.
I found it to be profound. McCranie is giving us a character that seemingly gets all that she wants but is potentially left empty. It was a thoughtful ending, and a fantastic place to tease what is to come in book two…which is out right now, by the way (I just looked it up).
So if you dig book one, snatch up book two, and get ready for the book three release this coming March!
Come back tomorrow for another treat as I continue to review books given to me by students.
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