- Hardcover: 136 pages
- Publisher: Magnetic Pr (October 28, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0991332474
- ISBN-13: 978-0991332472
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.7 x 11.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,534,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Doomboy Hardcover – October 28, 2014
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D's not trying to be a rock god. He's just a lonely teenager with an active imagination playing songs to his lost love beyond the grave. But when that music reaches farther than expected, he unknowingly becomes the anonymous Metal Legend known only as DOOMBOY! Eisner-nominated DOOMBOY tells the story of an ordinary, lonely teenager with an active imagination and a love of metal music. When his girlfriend passes away suddenly, he decides to broadcast songs to her beyond the grave, playing his heart out under the secret name “Doomboy”. What he doesn't realize, however, is that those broadcasts are picked up all across town... and beyond. Soon the music of Doomboy becomes legendary, and his innocent private life quickly turns inside out. The award-winning graphic novel by the internationally-renowned comic virtuoso TONY SANDOVAL! Includes the original, unpublished 5-page short story from Tony's sketchbook that inspired the full-length graphic novel!
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Doomboy is a comic that takes you back to being a teenager again, or at least it did to me. Back to a time when adults were near invisible, the future wasn’t even conceivable, all that mattered was the here and now, your first love - so intense you’ll believe it’ll never end and if it did it would destroy you - and glorious music, music, music!
There’s not much of a story to this book: Doomboy plays his music anonymously, it gets picked up and broadcast over the radio, and he becomes a local celeb. The comic works fine when it’s just Doomboy and his music. There’s a kind of simple charm to that.
And it has all the melodrama that only a teen could conjure up: Doomboy playing his doom metal on the beach, swirling clouds manifesting as Viking warriors battling in the sky, his beloved being carried away, lightning everywhere, wind whipping up Doomboy’s hair as he launches into another epic solo… And then of course there are his names - Doomboy. Could you get more perfectly emo? And ID, the Freudian term for the unorganized, instinctual part of a human’s personality, which suits most teenagers to a T.
That stuff is surface level but a little sweet in its innocence, like the way Doomboy wears his heart on his sleeve. Where it really shows up its shortcomings is when it attempts to be a real book by introducing conventional story threads. Doomboy’s tough guy friend turns out to be a closet homosexual; Doomboy and his former band’s leader have a rivalry; none of this really matters or goes anywhere, it’s just thrown in as an afterthought. The book would’ve been more memorable and effective if it’d just been the story of a metal kid playing metal on the beach.
The art style is cool and quirky. Doomboy and numerous other characters are seemingly eyeless, their shaggy hair covering the top half of their faces, their arms are impossibly thin, their heads bulbous on a pencil neck, and so on. It’s not going for realism but a stylised, Gallic approach that’s interesting at least. But the style works when it comes to dramatic moments because the characters’ faces are really expressive when they need to be. And Sandoval really shines when it comes to drawing the elements - those stormy pages were fantastic, exactly like how metal albums look while reflecting the intensity of the music.
Doomboy doesn’t fully draw the reader in and I was very aware that I was reading a comic the entire time. That said it’s well drawn, has its moments here and there, and it depicts teen angst well. Ultimately though its lack of substance makes it a light read that doesn’t leave much of an impression on the reader.
The story is simple and direct. A regular teenage boy, who likes "doom metal" music, is left lonely and heartbroken when his girlfriend suddenly dies. He plays music for her, and just sends it out into the world. Unknown to him the music is being picked up all over his town and soon the mysterious story of "Doomboy", the name he uses to broadcast his music, becomes the stuff of legend.
This is a spare and gentle story, and it is complemented perfectly by the delicate line work and muted watercolors of the drawing. At the outset it is a bit hard to follow who is who, (a lot of characters have blonde bangs), and to make out who is speaking to whom. There are mumbled asides and statements directed to no one in particular. After a few pages the characters become distinguishable, the reader begins to fall into line with the character's cryptic conversational style, the storyline falls into place, and the novel begins to be carried along by the dreamy and spare lines of the illustrations. Once you reach that point the tale takes on weight and builds momentum, even as it drifts from time to time into fantasy and a sort of magical realism.
From book to book Sandoval's style is fairly consistent. His heros and heroines have round faces, tremendously expressive eyes and mouths, button noses , and what, for want of a better term, I would call "personality". While very stylized these are not those creepy big eyes types or some kind of demented Hallmark cards kiddies. These are arresting and memorable images. A few full page set pieces are particularly striking. And, even when the scene is sad or moody, there is a very generous gentleness and good humor and intelligence that shines out from each panel or page.
So, not to put too fine an edge on it, these books, and this book especially, seem to marry fine modern art and compelling storytelling to create a satisfying whole. This was certainly a happy and unexpected find, and strikes me as being worth a close look. (Although the jury is still out on the cephalopods.)
Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
Doomboy is the story of a lonely, metal-obsessed teen who sends heartfelt songs to his dead girlfriend via a rigged broadcast station along the coast. His music travels beyond the make-shift broadcast station and is re-broadcast to the entire city. Only his best friend knows that he is really the mysterious rock god and anonymous legend known as “Doomboy.”
While the book itself is quite short the story is funny and touching. There were times I would just stop and stare at various panels. The figures/characters were drawn slightly like caricatures and I loved it – big heads, exaggerated facial expressions. It contains violence, humor, teenage angst, bullies, and an awesome vomiting panel.
If you’re a fan of great art, graphic novels, books, comics, etc. this is a must-have.
When reviewing a book of this sort (heavily graphic) I think it is important to consider the art & the story as part of my review along with the 5 basic story elements I usually use for my rating system. With that being said…
Art – 5 Story – 5 Characters – 4 Setting – 5 Plot – 5 Conflict/Purpose – 5 Resolution/Outcome – 5