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Doomboy by Tony Sandoval
French writer Tony Sandoval has created a tour de force of storytelling in his latest graphic novel. In France, Doomboy was an Official Selection of the 2012 Angouleme International Comics Festival and winner of the Coup de Coeur Youth Jury prize (for best comic book). Published in the States last fall, it is ideal for teens and will appeal most to readers drawn to mood–and metal music! Art-lovers will wallow in the gorgeous illustrations.
There is an excellent interview with the author on CCN (Comics Creator News) and you can see the book trailer, which will give you a great idea of the art, on the Magnetic Press Doomboy page.
SANDOVAL, Tony. Doomboy. illus. by author. tr. from French. 136p. Magnetic Pr. 2014. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780991332472.
The beautiful drawings of this graphic novel were inspired by the beaches and deserts of Sandoval’s native northwestern Mexico. The title character is teenager D, a heavy metal freak with a guitar, who has just lost his (maybe) girlfriend Annie tragically. D hides at an empty beach with Annie’s orphaned dog at his side to write the music no one would listen to… for her. As he composes, his friend Sepelium transmits his thunder chords via pirate radio. The music reaches friends and enemies, inspiring one especially sweet tough guy to make art, not war. Drawn with round faces and button eyes, Sandoval’s mopheads are adorable. But the protagonist’s face, obscured by his hair throughout the story, reminds us that many teens in this subculture don’t always fit in, and the dominant culture would often prefer that they disappear. D may have his aggression issues, but he’s not a “headbanger” who’s unable to express emotion: “I’m always a little sad,” he tells his mom about his loss. But it’s Sandoval’s illustrations that soothes readers, with pages of beaches and deserts awash in rosy browns, purple grays, and pale greens and blues whitened by the sun—the artist’s argument for the natural world as a resolution in itself. Heavy metal fans will love Sandoval’s sea serpents, dragons, and horned Vikings—all signaling D’s distress at overexposure. That won’t be the artist’s problem, when overdue recognition in this country of his fine work comes to pass with Doomboy. VERDICT A touching graphic novel about an alienated youth, beautifully executed by an internationally known artist new to the U.S. audience.—Georgia Christgau, Middle College High School, Long Island City, NY
Filed under: Graphic Novels, Weekly Reviews
About Angela Carstensen
Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.
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