Will O' the Wisp

Will O' the Wisp

Graphic Novel - 2013
Average Rating:
4
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Aurora Grimeon is sent to live with her grandfather. She finds herself in the middle of a mystery uncovering secrets that should be left buried
Publisher: Los Angeles, Calif. : Archaia, c2013
ISBN: 9781936393787
1936393786
Characteristics: 214 p. : col. ill. ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Will of the Wisp

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m
msteinross1
Jul 11, 2016

Set in the deep swamps of Louisiana the protagonist is as new to the folk hoodoo and superstition as the reader. Ghosts and spirits abound. Fun read.

Kereesa Dec 28, 2015

Urg. Jumpy, inconsistent, and flat out dull. At least the art was nice...at times.

s
skyekilaen
Jan 18, 2015

(The illustrator, Megan Hutchison, contacted me about a possible review on my blog, and provided a digital review copy.)

Here's the plot in a nutshell. Teenager Aurora Grimeon is sent to live with her grandfather after her parents' deaths. He lives in a remote, swampy area on a cemetery island. He's not much into the local Hoodoo, but the rest of the residents are, so he encourages Aurora to go along to get along. She really takes to it, though, in large part due to a growing friendship with local wise woman Mama Nonnie. It's a little sad at times as Aurora wonders if she'll ever feel at home, or win her grandfather's approval. When something evil starts attacking the community, though, such concerns are left aside as everyone has to pull together to stop it.

I really liked Aurora! She's a realistic mix of unsure, scared, self-reliant, and brave. She finds her place during the course of the book and I enjoyed watching that process. She's out of her element, but she doesn't throw temper tantrums even when she has a hard time. Instead she perseveres. Aurora is a strong female character, by which I mean resilient, fully developed in the story, and not stereotyped. I always love to see that in comics. The relationship between her and her grandfather isn't plotted quite as well as the main storyline of the evil in the swamp, but I gave it a little slack because both characters are well developed and I was rooting for them to get it sorted out.

The art is very expressive with characters' emotions. It's often as if they're drawn how they feel, more than how they look. And Hutchison's illustrations and Adam Guzowski's colors make it easy to see what's happening even in low-light situations. That's a blessing in a "spooky" book where a lot of the action takes place at night.

I especially appreciated that the residents of this diverse Southern rural community, most of whom would probably be classified as living in poverty, are treated with respect by the story and the art. They aren't freaky aliens with strange ways that Aurora has to learn to put up with. They're human beings with their own culture and customs, that her immigrant self needs to learn more about, and she behaves accordingly. Mama Nonnie's character edges up to the Magical Negro trope, but I think it avoids that trap. She's more than a springboard for Aurora's action. She's a human being who has relationships, not just a plot device. The community works together to stop the evil that's threatening the island, and Aurora's key role is more about earning her way into the community than being a chosen one / savior empowered by Mama Nonnie's character.

b
briannek7
Jul 29, 2014

Really loved this book. I love the whole environment -- the Louisiana swamps, the gothic buildings, the hoodoo superstitions. Aurora isn't really an interesting character, but gothic heroines often aren't, and I didn't mind her. I still look forward to seeing more of her adventures. And her goth outfits were really cute.

You may notice the artwork seems a little bit amateurish, but the book is full-color, so that makes up for it to me.

(This is one of the most beautifully bound graphic novels I've ever seen. Gold-embossed hard cover, nice glossy pages, and even a little latch on the side!)

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