A mortally ill boy is prematurely transported to the afterworld through the inept agency of Frank Gallows, a ghost wrangler on the skids. It is a creepy land, populated by specters, mummies, will-o’-the-wisps, zombies and ghostly skeletons, all under the thumb of a dark master. But it is also just the kind of place where Darwin meets God on the road to Oz. Doug TenNapel draws the copious panels in a spidery hand, with sponge-soaking colors. “Being a writer/artist isn’t like wearing two hats,” he says. “It’s like wearing two halves of a hat. I have to meticulously write the story before I know if it’s even worth drawing.” This one’s worth it, a tale of loss, discovery, phantasmagoria and return. “My children are at the age when they ask the tough questions about life and death,” says the author. This is his apocalyptic, happily-ever-after answer.


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Pub info:


Doug TenNapel

Graphix/Scholastic / July / 9780545210287 / $14.99 / ages 10-14