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.
For those of you not familiar with the book, this is an IDW release by Locke and Key creator Joe Hill. Locke and Key is one of the greatest tales of all time, so I went into this with high hopes.
This is the story of a guy struggling with some inner demons who is all of a sudden granted some flying powers through his old blankey. I know it sounds endearing and 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 disagreed on this. There may have been mixed feelings about the book (I didn’t love it), but everyone found it interesting and the characters worthwhile. I didn’t even know he was Steven King’s son until we were sitting around our table tearing apart the “dropping the bear” panels. (very interesting scene which really pushed the “willful suspension of disbelief”, but fun). The characters and the worlds he 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 loved the story and recommended it for the read last month. He and several others had some very positive thoughts on the book. Like the art (which I agree was spot on), and the clear descent of the character and his madness. They also pointed out several clever writing twists that I hadn’t noticed on my original read through. They also reminded us all 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 the 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 felt came up last Tuesday was 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.
Really I’d just say check it out.
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