After seeing this graphic novel previewed in Comic Shop News, I was intrigued by the concept of three girls in a fantasy world. I was more impressed by Von Allan’s description of what drove him to write it, especially this part.
“More broadly, though, I feel that in many ways friendship and helping one another is what life is all about. I had a rough childhood: I was an only child, a welfare kid, and I was pretty introverted. What helped me cope more than anything else were my friends and the ability to escape into the world of comics, fantasy and science fiction. I mean, we were kids so we weren’t having gigantic ‘heart to heart’ talks or anything, but we were there for each other on the good and bad days, even if that was as simple as hanging out or wandering over to the comic shop. As I said earlier, and as you took away from the book too, I think the importance of friendship, more than anything else, is probably the key influence on Stargazer.”
This spoke to me as a reader, a writer, and more recently a critic (sadly paid for neither), and all three wanted to check this thing out. While I wasn’t a welfare kid, I can easily relate to the other two. So was it worth it?
Stargazer begins with the death of the focus character’s grandmother. The two would share fantastic stores and go on adventures around the woman’s house. Now Marni’s grandmother is dead and when her friends, Sophie and Elora, go to comfort her, an artifact of the grandmother’s transports the girls to a strange land where they make friends with a robot and Marni is confronted by shadow beings (or just one?). The back cover describes the book as “part fairytale, part science fiction, and part adventure story”.
It is indeed all three, and very well told. This first GN is set-up, allowing you to get to know the girls and become attached to them. Then you visit the strange world and get a robot. The teaser for the next volume seems to indicate Marni will have to fight an evil force and the cover indicates another local will join them. Von Allan creates a believable world (two, in fact) both in story and in the look.
As a bonus you get to see some behind-the-scenes of the book, from early art to the brainstorming process as to how he created the three-part graphic novel tale. I don’t know how the next two parts will come out, but I can easily recommend part one for the curious fantasy fan, young girls, or anyone who likes a decent story. It’s not a “girly book”, but it is a good book about girls coping with death and an unusual situation. I’m looking forward to volume two.
Tomorrow’s Comic> back to the usual format as we get into Darkwing Duck #8