Last week was our Graphic Novel Book Club here in Lewisville, TX. We meet on the last Tuesday of every month, at Boomerang Comics, to review a book and help expand the horizons of the those that attend. Good conversation is had and sometimes you are introduced to a hidden gem of a story that you may have never considered picking up otherwise. Last month we braved the elements, trudging through the snow and ice like characters out of a Jack London novel, to discuss The Cape.
This is the story of a guy struggling with some inner demons who is all of a sudden granted some flying powers through an old blankey. I know it sounds endearing and maybe like a story of redemption and heart, but it isn’t. Joe Hill likes to take his characters and grind their lives down to nubs and pour salt on those bloody nubs while he laughs maniacally. The Cape is a straight up tear-down piece. There is no real protagonist and the main characters only real purpose is to slowly descend into darkness and chaos.
Joe Hill is obviously an excellent writer. I don’t think anyone disagrees on this. There may have been mixed feelings about the book during our sit-down, but everyone found it interesting and the characters worthwhile. I didn’t even know Joe Hill was Steven King’s son until we were sitting around our table tearing apart the “dropping of the bear” panels; very interesting scene which really pushed the “willful suspension of disbelief”. The characters and the worlds Joe Hill create are unusual and interesting.
While I didn’t love this story completely, I did think it was ok and was glad I read it. “That Dude” from First Print Podcast, who was in attendance at our meeting, loved the story and recommended it for the read last month. Others had some very positive thoughts on the book. Like the art, which was spot on, and the clear descent of the character and his madness. There are several clever writing twists that I hadn’t noticed on my original read through. The Book Club also reminded us what a fun use the character makes of bears and chainsaws. Can’t disagree.
I don’t want to trash the book or turn people off from reading it. Was it Locke and Key, no. Was it original and inventive and dark, yes. The story just didn’t go the way I would have wanted the story to go. The purpose of our book club is to bring stories, we may not have normally grabbed off the shelves, into our lives. It did that. There is a prequel to the book and I can’t say “I am not interested” in reading it. One of the bigger negatives I’d say is the fact that the mythos wasn’t entirely explored. It’s basically kind of bad guy gets cape with powers and becomes villain. There could have been a whole world to explore here and that may be what you get with the prequel.
Check it out. Joe Hill makes an impression. Bring that impression into your life.
Join us next month where we will be reading The Bunker by Josh Hail Fialkov and Joe Infurnari. Feel free to disagree below or @werewolforigin on twitter and ericbookout on instagram