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Comic Book / Ghostopolis

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I don't think we're in Turlock anymore, Skinny.

Ghostopolis is a graphic novel written and illustrated by Doug TenNapel. Clocking in at 272 pages, it ties with Earthboy Jacobus for being his longest book. Unlike most of his comics, this one is published by Scholastic's Graphix imprint rather than by Image. Along with Gear and Solomon Fix, it's one of his few comics that's been printed in color and the first one that was not initially published in Black and White.

Basically, it tells the story of a young, terminally-ill boy named Garth Hale, a cynical paranormal investigator named Frank Gallows, and the fateful day their lives intertwined... and the madcap adventure that resulted.

Apparently, Hugh Jackman is either a fan of TenNapel's or got an advanced copy because, before the book was even released, it was reported that he'll be producing and starring in a feature-length adaptation. If this is true, he'll almost certainly be playing Garth.


Despite the similar title, it should not - in any way - be confused with Ghost World, nor should it be confused with the tropes Ghost Town or Ghost City.

This work contains examples of:

  • The Antichrist: Vaugner, the charismatic and sinister leader who promised the ghost world unity under his rule and also serves as the Big Bad of the story.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Claire becomes the new ruler of the afterlife (or rather, the interim version of the afterlife that comes between Earth and Heaven).
  • Break Her Heart to Save Her: According to her uncle, this is why Frank left Claire; he was afraid his bosses would find out and banish her back to Ghostopolis.
  • Covers Always Lie: The cover kind of makes it look like it'll be a supernatural western. It's not.
  • Creator Thumbprint: Like many TenNapel yarns, this one's got monsters, Christian undertones, a speechless, heavily silhouetted final page and the obligatory scene with a cat.
  • Dead All Along: Inverted. Vaugner appear to have died but he was alive all along.
  • Demoted to Extra: Skinny starts out as Garth's sole companion, but then gets pushed to the sidelines until the end of the story
  • Eldritch Abomination: Any still-living person who winds up in Ghostopolis has the potential to be this, not that they all do, though.
  • Humongous Mecha: Garth transforms into a giant robot during the final battle.
  • Kid Hero: Garth looks to be around 10 or 11.
  • Obvious Judas: Played for laughs when the protagonists run into the ghost of Benedict Arnold; there's maybe a fraction of a second where it looks like he'll help them, than he immediately sells them out to the villains while standing right next to them. Towards the end of the book they run into him again and Frank makes sure to call him a jerk, to which Benedict says "sorry, but it's in my nature!".
  • Older Than They Look: Cecil looks approximately 10 years old, despite being the ghost of a 60-to-70-year old man.
  • The Place: The book is named after the titular city.
  • The Reveal
    • It starts as if Vaugner is dead. He isn't dead
    • A minor one occurs near the beginning. When she first appears, it isn't immediately clear that Claire is actually a ghost...until she suddenly starts floating.
  • Revenge: Vaugner wants to kill Garth, regardless of whether-or-not he's an actual threat, because that's the best way he knows of to hurt Claire.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Not much is ever revealed about Claire's personality other than that she has conflicting feelings for Frank.
  • Shout-Out: To The Matrix. Specifically, the video game version of Neo's final fight with Agent Smith.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Aside from the government having the technology to make round-trip expeditions into the afterlife, Garth and Frank's world really isn't anymore different or advanced than our own.


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