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Ghostopolis Hardcover – July 1, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 7 Up When readers first meet Garth Hale, he is about to receive the fifth diagnosis that his disease is incurable. How fitting, then, that a boy who thinks about death more than other kids his age should be accidentally zapped into the afterlife. When washed-up ghost wrangler Frank Gallows realizes that he accidentally sent Garth through to the other side, he does everything in his power to rescue him. Meanwhile, Garth explores the spirit world with a skeleton horse, a variety of terrifying and fantastic creatures, and some family members whom he never expected to meet. TenNapel mixes emotional epiphanies with humor in a way that will appeal to a broad audience. Characters experience personal growth and learn lessons about themselves throughout the course of this book, but these lessons feel integral to the plot rather than forced down readers' throats. TenNapel's colorful illustrations are filled with energy and life, and they use shade and silhouettes to great advantage. The planned film adaptation made by Disney and starring Hugh Jackman means that this book is bound to have an extra surge in popularity, so it's probably a good idea to buy it now and get in on the ground floor. Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library
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From Booklist

Frank Gallows, a weary officer from the Supernatural Immigration Task Force, and Garth Hale, a young boy with an unspecified incurable disease, are the dual heroes in this ghost-driven graphic novel. When Frank sends a troublesome horse skeleton back over to the afterlife, he accidentally zaps the boy along as well. The sinister ruler of Ghostopolis feels threatened by the boy (who, naturally, has all sorts of off-the-charts latent powers) and sends his buggy minions after him. Frank enlists the help of an ex-flame (who’s also a ghost) to cross over to the other side and rescue the boy. Sure, there’s a lot of characters with not a lot of characterization and a few too many good-for-you messages poking out from all the madcap antics, juvenile jokes, and overblown dramatics, but all in all, the story is a good blend of creepy, grotesque, and wacky. He’s got a few lumps to work out as a storyteller, but TenNapel—best known as the creator of the cross-platform character, Earthworm Jim—is a terrific cartoonist and in fine form here. Grades 5-8. --Ian Chipman
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Product Details

  • Series: Ghostopolis
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: GRAPHIX; 1 edition (July 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545210275
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545210270
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,042,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joshua Drescher on September 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
I've been a fan of Mr. TenNapel's work for many years. Books like "Gear" and "Iron West" are among my favorite graphic novels and my copies bear fuzzed corners and worn covers earned by countless loans to friends and family. The mix of funky (sometimes vaguely naughty) humor, dynamic action and underlying (and usually spiritual) moral lessons make for a potent, readable mix in most of his books.

In the interest of fairness, I must admit that I have, on occasion, been put off by some of the more blunt and humorless manifestations of political or religious messaging in some of his work. Most notably, "Earthboy Jacobus" - an otherwise rollicking and bombastic adventure - was ruined for me by the overt and mean-spirited political commentary that is shoehorned into the beginning of the book. It's the only one of Mr. TenNapel's books that I won't loan out. Thankfully, such lapses are rare.

"Ghostopolis" is a great read. It's filled with the kind of humor and heart and action that Mr. TenNapel is so adept at delivering. The story is a lot of fun and is certainly safe for young adult readers without pandering to them either. The initial set-up and establishment of the Ghostopolis as a setting are wonderful. The cast of characters is diverse and distinct and the reader will be hard-pressed not to feel invested in their adventures. That being said, after the rather luxurious trip through the first 3/4 of the book, the VERY end of the story winds up feeling a little rushed by comparison. A lot of loose ends get tied up in the final pages and it sometimes feels like things are being glossed over.
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Format: Paperback
I totally enjoyed this book. Who can resist having a pet skeleton horse. It did not have too much violence. Just plain fun. The sense of humor in it was wonderful. I was looking for something for Christmas for a boy who likes "sci fi stuff" and I think I will get him this graphic novel. It's the first I have read of this author but I think I will want to read more!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've enjoyed "darker" animated movies such as, "The Nightmare Before Christmas", and "Coraline", and when a friend of mine recommended this book on the basis that it had a similar vibe to said movies, I decided to give this graphic novel a look. What followed was a very unique peek into the afterlife, and one boy's quest to escape it.

Garth is dying of an incurable disease. But that turns out to be the least of his problems when a paranormal secret agent named Frank goofs up in his pursuit of a literal "night mare", and ends up accidentally teleporting Garth to the afterlife. Once there, he must tame a skeletal horse and traverse the various lands of the dead--befriending the various quirky residents, including his grandfather, all while trying to find a way home. At the same time, Frank and his ghostly girlfriend Claire are in hot pursuit to get the boy back safely (as well as save his job), while evil forces close in on Garth...for the boy now has special powers as long as he remains living in the land of the deceased.

The story is pretty engaging; always twisting and turning and leaving you in suspense as to what'll happen next. Garth starts out understandably depressed over his situation, but his adventures in the afterlife teach him to make the most of the time he has...and that there actually might be a ray of hope for him after all. Frank, oddly enough, serves as the comic relief; always bumbling with his job, and reacting to almost everything with a deadpan sense of humor. The villain seems to start off as one note, but in the final act, we get a major twist that changes everything you thought you knew about him.
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Format: Paperback
I love Doug TeNapel's work, and was excited to see a full color book by him. Ghostopolis is a fairy tale of sorts. An officer in charge of sending ghosts back to the afterlife loses his badge when he accidentally sends a boy, who has a disease with no cure, into the ghost world, a place of spirits, skeletons and mummies and other creatures, which has been taken over by a shadowy figure.

In order to get the boy back, he enlists the help of his ex girlfriend, also a ghost. Meanwhile, the boy befriends a skeleton stallion, and another young boy, who turns out to be his grandfather.

It's a mixture of poignant, sad, funny, and action filled moments. I will say the toilet humor isn't really my cup of tea, but it's a small complaint amidst the fun characters and imaginative artwork. Those paying attention will catch TenNapel's Christian symbolism, a common theme in his books.

This is probably the best from TenNapel in awhile. Sadly, the youth of the boy may cause some older teens to lose interest, I'd say 6-9 graders and the young at heart, will be most receptive.
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Format: Paperback
Doug TenNapel, the man whose imagination unleashed The Neverhood and Earthworm Jim, continues to be a force in the culture with this vision disguised as adolescent graphic novel. A young boy is mistakenly transported into a weird afterlife--call it whatever you like, he sees lots of dead people, including his own grandfather as a boy--and gets to ride a skeleton horse he names Skinny to an adventure beyond imagination. Assisting him in his quest are a ghost who has been successfully inhabiting the mortal world, and a mortal whose only redemption lies in returning to the ghostly one. Along the way are deep-fried tarantulas; a werewolf uncle; specular arrays; a creator named Joe; demon bugs; and a character who could only be portrayed in the live action film by David Bowie.

The artwork alone is stellar. The author/artist and his team of world-class colorists have given us a book that moves and impacts like a film. If a picture is worth ten thousand words, these could house their own library section.

Does this book have something to say? Not in the hamhanded way many such tales are presented, but in a much more visceral and powerful manner. Perhaps the age group Scholastic targets, not being as jaded as we older folks, is the most likely to move the world towards necessary change. One can only hope they are paying attention to Doug TenNapel.
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