Possessions: Unclean Getaway
It’s a crazy idea for a kids’ book, but it works surprisingly well. Possessions: Unclean Getaway by Ray Fawkes is the story of Gurgazon, a demon inhabiting a five-year-old girl, who is taken away to the Llewellyn-Vane House for Captured Spirits and Ghostly Curiosities. Once captured, it only wants to escape, resulting in weird comedy.
It’s done in black, white, and a weird light green the publisher appropriately describes as “sickly”. It’s billed as suitable for “all audiences”, but I think it’s best given to someone who’s a little familiar with monster/horror stories, so they can appreciate the twists Fawkes puts on the usual expectations. I found it quite funny.
Fawkes does an excellent job with the art, switching easily from innocent little girl to evil demon, as well as the conversation. My favorite line: “Gurgazon appreciates your sarcasm and will remember it fondly when Gurgazon eats your head.” The wiggly panel borders are a nice touch, emphasizing the uncertainty of the world and the readers’ impressions. He also comes up with visuals like a possessed jukebox and a headless Pale Lady who likes playing croquet.
I could relate to the way Gurgazon is determined to be grumpy and alone, instead of relaxing into the community of folks like him. That’s the core of the story, how to adapt to a new group of potential friends and deal with not always getting your way, and the spirit gag slapstick (Gurgazon and the poltergeist don’t get along) is a funny wrapper to keep the reader entertained along the way.
Gurgazon is nothing more than a suspicious teenager; for all its dictatorial aims and grandiose claims, it’s not nearly as mature as it would like to be. I re-read it immediately after finishing, to catch all the details once I knew what happened.