My Dead Girlfriend by Eric Wight
I said before that my manga knowledge is rather low. Well, my knowledge of other types of graphic novels? Even lower. So, really, even though My Dead Girlfriend is an OEL published by Tokyopop, the only comparison I can think of making is with My Friend Rabbit.
Finney Bleak’s family is no stranger to death. His ancestors had a talent for dying in truly bizarre, macabre ways. Even his parents (who seem rather Sandy and Kirsten to me*) managed to die pretty spectacularly when they went to the carnival and were electrocuted in the Tunnel of Love. It was at the annual carnival that Finney met Jenny. They go on rides together, swap carnival stories, and agree to meet again the following day. Finney waits for two hours, but Jenny never shows. You can guess why from the title.
The most striking thing to me about this book is the art. With heavy, thick lines, it is unlike any other graphic novel I’ve ever read**, hence the comparison to My Friend Rabbit. Actually, make the art the second most striking thing. What got my attention the most were all the blurbs. Quote from Joss Whedon on the cover, another one from him on the back, along with Meg Cabot, Brad Meltzer, and Josh Schwartz. Inside, more quotes from more people, and an introduction from Allan Heinberg, whom I’ve never heard of, but apparently has written for several TV shows in addition to winning awards for his comics. Anyway, this is the first time I’ve seen a graphic novel with quotes on it and an introduction in it.
Getting back to the story and art, for a book with a “Teen” rating, the art makes it look suitable even for a younger audience. I’m guessing the rating has to do with all of the death in the book, but Wight’s style here is very, well, once again, My Friend Rabbit. Even the panels of Cornelius Bleak dying at the beginning of the story are cute (or maybe I’m just twisted). Bold lines, but cute characters. Striking, yet simple. Very cinematic.
As if it wasn’t totally obvious by now, I didn’t love the book. It’s good, it’s appealing, it’s just not for me. Like Twilight. I read it, it was good, I just don’t care enough about it to read the rest of the series. There are some books you love despite their flaws, some books in which you can’t see past the flaws, and some that just aren’t the right book for you despite everything it has going for it. So give My Dead Girlfriend a try; I’m sure there are a lot of people who will enjoy it.
* Wight, as the book’s cover points out, was the “ghost artist from The OC, ” which is probably why I thought of them. I only saw the first season of the show, but from what I’ve read, I probably should say that they’re like the first season Sandy and Kirsten. Also, no comparisons to Seth’s comics, since the only thing I can remember from that season about Seth and comics is Summer dressing up like…some comic book character. The artist stuff came later, right?
** Again, no graphic novel expertise here.