Ghosts is probably my favorite graphic novel that we read this semester.
Maybe it’s just me, but I am way more drawn to what some might call kiddish comics than those with adult themes. Granted, I am the same way with regular novels. I’d much rather read YA over adult books any day. Moreover, I have recently realized just how genuine and creative children are, and how genuine and creative content for children is!
Graphic novels such as Watchmen were interesting, but I didn’t connect with them very much. Adult themes are important and relevant and I obviously can’t ignore their existence. I don’t exclude texts with these themes in them from my reading list, but if given the choice I’d rather not read them.
Specifically to our class, Ghosts felt more genuine, personal, relatable, and inspiring to me than anything else we’ve read. The themes within it were underlying and personal, whereas those such as in Watchmen were outright and on a more global scale. Ghosts was able to dig into relationships with showing and not telling. The way the sisters interacted really explained their relationship more than any monologue could. There are still well thought out concepts in the content of the book. The fact that ghosts get their energy from the wind, the detail of them enjoying bubbly soda because of the carbonation, and unpackable symbols like the reappearing cat and the ghost of the eight-year old uncle.
And just because it is generally directed toward younger audiences, that does not mean that style and artistic choice are put on the back burner. Raina Telgemeier makes very much purposeful decisions in the set up of her panels, sequencing, and depictions. Of course, nearly every other comic pays the same attention, but I really appreciate and am in tune with Telgemeier’s style.
In no way do I mean to say major issues such as trauma make a text lesser in comparison to more heartwarming stories. I acknowledge that it is important to be aware of what is going on in the world and that everything can’t always be hunky dory with life– that’s life!
But, uplifting stories fuel my soul in particular, so I will choose them over a sad story in a heartbeat.