The New Ghost
The New Ghost by Robert Hunter is another in Nobrow’s line of single-issue author spotlights. It’s been out for more than five years, but I only found out about it recently through, of all things, a well-targeted Amazon recommendation. (Sometimes the computers get it right.) And since it’s a stand-alone, it doesn’t matter when you read it.
Our unnamed protagonist is the new ghost of the title, following his companions through pages of deep blue night populated by faceless, formless swirling figures. He falls behind and is seen by an astronomer, alone in an observatory, who tries to help the lost spectre.
It’s an odd tale, one that the reader has to be willing to participate with. It’s quiet instead of shocking, melancholy instead of blatant. The character pairing — and the lack of detail about where they came from or how — is unusual. There are no word balloons, just text caption narration, and page layouts that vary from strongly formalist to more experimental in how panels are set next to each other.
The New Ghost, both the character and the comic, are purposely remote, not opening up easily to the reader or anyone. It’s metaphorical, with the end result more important than answering our questions about origins or motivations. It left me wondering.