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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Graphic Novel Review: Polterguys Volume 1

PDF // Laurianne Uy // Read Online

One girl.  Five ghosts.  A lot of unfinished business!

Bree, a nerdy and ambitious freshman, can't wait to start college.  Shunned in high school for her single-minded devotion to her studies, she looks forward to a place where brains trump social status.  In her first week she adjusts to college life but finds it hard to get along her peers.  After a fight with her roommate, she moves into an old house, only to find that it is haunted by ghosts of five cute guys.

I got this through Kickstarter, mostly because I read the chapters online and was quite pleased.  I'm happy to say I am very very happy with the full result!

The creator states that she wanted to draw something that harkens back to three 'types' of stories--Buffy the Vampire Slayer type humor, The Frighteners level of paranormal hijinks and Ouran Host Club sort of romantic foibles.  On all levels she succeeds, making POLTERGUYS a highly entertaining read.

Bree starts off well, kind of sadly really. We see her pay some classmates to pose as her 'friends' for a graduation shot for her mom, her naivety in regards to how college works and then the look of disappointment when she realizes nothing really changes.  I felt horrible for her--I remember what it was like to be that 'nerd girl' in school.  I wasn't exactly shunned for my devotion to studies (quite the opposite, I was a bit of a lacklustre student), but I was dismissed because of my devotion to reading.  I thought college would bring like-minded readers--I mean look at how much reading you have to do!--but well.

The story follows a familiar enough pattern--girl meets guys, entanglements ensue as she jumps in before thinking and vows to help each of the five ghosts to figure out what happened to them so they can move on properly.  Even though the cards all line up for anyone used to the genre, the execution is the best part here.  Bree takes to helping these guys with a single-minded determination I greatly admired (she may be my researching GOD now).

As a cast, Bree is pretty much given the most spotlighting time.  By default we learn the most about her, her quirks and personality, though the guys are given quirks.  Frankie loves girls, but is shown to be protective of Bree when some jerks try to get a bit too feisty.  Ben appears to be the mediator of the group, especially when his twin Alex gets a bit too hot headed while Doug is science nerd.  Simon, as the youngest, is sweet and excitable, trying his best to make everyone smile.

My one nitpick is that the drawing is somewhat inconsistent in terms of the characters' ages.  Doug is meant to be 13, but much of the time the art perspective makes him seem much older.  The first time I saw him walking next to Bree and Frankie I was like 'wait a second, is he just REALLY short?'  Our charming villain, or at least antagonist, kind of stole the scenes he was in for me.  What can I say, I like the dapper sort?

There's another character, a guy that Bree meets while at the local coffee shop, that seems to be set up as her love interest.  I want to put in an early bid now (highlight to read the spoiler and speculation)--he's shown to be a ghost, but I bet you he's just in a coma. I will lay down MONEY on this.

Currently the volume collects all the pages of the comic to date.  I want a second volume.  Hell I'll settle for a new chapter or page or panel or the script even.  Check this out--what can go wrong when you can read the whole thing on her website for free?