How Does One Learn to Be a Ghost?

The New Ghost, by Robert Hunter, (Nobrow), 24 pages

Last Friday, I reviewed Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space, published by Flying Eye. Today, I’m reviewing Robert Hunter’s The New Ghost, which is published by Flying Eye’s parent company, Nobrow.

This book captivated me from the moment I read the title. Who thinks about ghosts being new? But, if one is willing to imagine a world with ghosts, those ghosts are each going to have had a first day “on the job.” That’s the premise of this short graphic book.

The first page pictures a moody blue and black sky crowded with floating transparent grey figures and one additional floating figure in a more substantial solid white below the rest of the group. At the bottom of the page, one reads “It was my first day. To understand my role, I was told to follow the example of my colleagues.” The business of following colleagues turns out to be a bit complicated and, left behind uncertain and confused, the ghost befriends an astronomer, who is kind, but who has no more idea than the ghost does about what it is ghosts really do.

This is a small book (24 pages), but the price is more than fair at $11, and the images are, well, haunting. Hunter’s palette of blue, black, grey, and rose is perfect for the story. Even before one reads the text, the images pull the reader into the book’s mixed tenor of beauty and sorrow.

I know this book will be spending a lot of time in my hands. It’s perfect for rainy-day reading and just the sort of still, calming mix of word and image that one needs before falling asleep. Give yourself the pleasures of holding this book in your hands and of being able to pick it up again and again. Your world will be the richer for it.


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