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My Dead Girlfriend Vol. 1 (Tokyopop)

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deadgf-headerEric Wight, the man behind Seth Cohen's art on The O.C., brings life to Finney Bleak, the only normal guy at the hell-ish Mephisto Prep high school, and his girlfriend from beyond the grave.

 

 

192 pgs B&W, $9.99

(W / A: Eric Wight)

 

 

Finney Bleak's life sucks. His only friend is his pet gargoyle Mookie, the ghosts of his entire family tree haunt his house, and his legacy dictates that he will die in the silliest way possible. As if that's not bad enough, he's in high school. And not just any high school either, but Mephisto Prep, where his supernatural classmates all resemble villains from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There are witches-in-training, adolescent werewolves, and a particularly rancorous young vampire out for Finney's blood. As the only normal guy in the school, Finney is an outcast.

 

The cover to My Dead Girlfriend Vol. 1 by Eric Wight, click thumbnail for a larger image.When the carnival comes to town, fate brings the adorable and animated Jenny into Finney's world. When she doesn't show up for their date the next day, Finney is devastated, and becomes more and more convinced that life is worthless when all you have to look forward to is a pointless death. Haunted by dreams of the Grim Reaper, he is consumed by thoughts of his own end. Can Jenny, now a ghost herself, break the barrier of life and death to show Finney how precious life can be?

 

Readers may be familiar with Eric Wight's work already, from his award-winning work on The Escapist, or his job as ghost artist for character Seth Cohen on Fox's teen drama, The O.C. His chunky, heavy-lined style may not be for everyone, but it's hip and very well-developed, and seems suited for the silly, fun mood of the book. Wight manages to keep the art just dark enough to keep up with the horror themes in the story.

 

With its monsters, spectres, witches, and even the odd Donnie Darko reference, My Dead Girlfriend may draw the same audience as gothish books like Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and Emily the Strange, but takes its Hot Topic-worthy qualities much less seriously. This is the story of a regular kid who happens to live in a world where playing with your pet at the graveyard is commonplace. The things that set protagonists apart in such books is usually their choice to wear fishnet tops and black lipstick, but what sets Finney apart is his lack of fangs, fur, or magical powers. He can't help who he is, or what fate holds for him.

 

The story is quite charming, blending horror perfectly into a high school setting. It seems natural that the Frankenstein's monster kid would be a bully, the trio of witches shrewd and popular. Readers wouldn't think to question Finney's embarrassment over his ghastly family meeting his crush. And while it's sweet, Wight never crosses into melodrama. Well, no more melodrama than teen life holds in the real world, anyway.

 

In My Dead Girlfriend, Eric Wight has created a world we can believe in, and identifiable characters with normal, human flaws. This book could be enjoyed by almost anybody, from manga fans to lovers of horror to those who just can't get enough of John Hughes' films. This is a very promising beginning to a series that could go a long way for this up-and-coming creator. | Elizabeth Bolhafner

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