All My Ghosts #1-2
The digital comic All My Ghosts is hampered by a really extended release schedule. Issue #1 came out last October, and the second issue (of four) is just now coming out. (The artist, Jeremy Massie, has said he aims to release quarterly.) It’s one of Alterna Comics’ ComiXology titles, $1.99 for a 24-page digital “issue”.
I’m talking about it, though, because it tackles a relevant, intriguing subject that I haven’t see done in comics, the idea of family legacies and wondering “what if” when you get to middle age. Joe Hale is the editor of a small-town newspaper, one that’s been in the family for generations. He’s got writers’ block, because he’s contemplating finally selling off the business, now that his daughter has stated her wishes to choose her own field. (He would have done the same, but someone had to take on the family business.) The economy’s bad, and his apathy is palpable.
For a first issue that’s primarily dialogue-driven, Massie keeps the characters interesting through a variety of poses. The storytelling is straightforward but involving. Hale’s work feels realistic, as though this is what the details of being responsible for a small-town paper would be like. I want to know more about Hale, about his background and choices. Lots of us can relate to trying to be part of a business that’s dying as times change.
Issue #2 flashes back to Hale and his father and the company’s history. He and an old buddy set out to recapture some of the feelings of their youth (a futile endeavor, but a tempting one). The choices one makes during a night of drinking may seem inspirational, but they may not be the smartest.
I’d rather read this as a graphic novel, myself, so I can find out what’s going on all in one go (including if the hall of family pictures is really haunted). In the meantime, though, these chapters are good chunks, raising my curiosity about what Hale will do next. (The publisher provided digital review copies.)