Warning! Here there be Spoilers!
Below are my full and detailed thoughts and reviews of various graphic novels and trades that I’ve read. Reading this is a good way for you to get caught up on what’s going on in comic books today, but it also contains major spoilers for some of today’s most popular books. So, don’t say I didn’t warn you that Graphic Details begins, now!
Doomboy HC (Magnetic Press)
Writer: Sandoval, Tony (Illustrator)
Artist: Sandoval, Tony
Cover Artist: Sandoval, Tony
Graphic novel originally published in French (2011). This is the first English printing. The translation is really good, in part because the themes of the story are very universal, but also because the art is so endearing.
I want to talk about the art and the book itself, because the production values on the book are gorgeous. We talked last week on the Comics.Community podcast about the fact that some people like physical books better than digital, and this is a prime example of how having a high quality book in your hands can make reading more pleasurable.
The gorgeous book compliments the wonderful art which is somewhat cartoonish but still very relatable, and in some places very powerful.
Examples: When ID first learns about his girlfriend there’s a great use of blank white space to show his isolation and pain. Then, when he’s on the beach and he hears the sound of “the other side” on a radio, there’s a beautiful page of SKY SQUIDS! And finally, there’s a gorgeous splash page near the end of the book of Doomboy unleashing all his pent up feelings into one perfect chord as energy just explodes from his guitar.
Doomboy is a heartfelt story about love and loneliness, with a bit of mysticism thrown in to serve as a metaphor for things that people feel but can’t quite describe.
It’s about a young man named ID, who learns that his girlfriend has died. This seems very sad, and it is, but the story glosses over some of what ID is feeling and moves along with showing other parts of his life, so the reader doesn’t really have time to be sad. To me, the story moving along without dwelling on the sadness reflects how the main character also moves along without really dealing with his grief.
This is when the mysticism comes in and ID learns that he suddenly has a hole in his chest where his heart used to be. And that the hole gets bigger if he talks about her. Very much a metaphor for what happens when someone in your life dies, it feels like they’ve taken a piece of you with them into the afterlife.
I don’t want to give away the whole story, but, In order to deal with the hole in his chest and his inability to talk about his lost girlfriend, ID decides to pour everything he has into a heavy metal guitar project that he calls Doom Metal. He also adopts the name of Doom Boy, which was a nickname his girlfriend gave to him.
Eventually, this very personal music gets accidentally re-broadcast to the entire city by ID’s best friend. The music really touches people and inspires them. IDs music also becomes so powerful that it actually reaches his girlfriend in the afterlife, and through the music he’s able to fill the hole in his chest.
So, the story is very symbolic and mystical, but also very relatable and very human all at the same time. It’s definitely the most emotionally gripping stories I’ve read in a long time and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.