A new graphic novel has hit the shelves and market this past week, The Only Living Boy, an intense journey with the episodic acts of discovery of a 12 year old boy as he awakes and tries finds his place in a new, alien world devoid of other humans. Created by David Gallaher and Steve Ellis, the story was eight years in development guaranteeing a tight and multifaceted story from this talented duo. Gallaher and Ellis have previously collaborated on the highly successful and critically acclaimed western comic High Moon, from DC Comic’s online publishing arm Zuda, and now available as a collected and printed graphic novel . The collaborative process between these two artists makes their comics ring with sincerity and integrity.
What I find most compelling about The Only Living Boy is that Gallaher and Ellis place you in the shoes of a pre-teen and the awkwardness that goes along with it. “Growing up
can often feel lonely and isolating,” says Gallaher, “With
this series, I’m exploring how children adapt to adversity.” It reminds me of the wonderful Bone series of graphic novels by Jeff Smith, and Smith’s ability to speak to a mature audience as well as entertain younger readers. Those novels were a thrill to read and voyage through as one of the main female protagonists, Thorn, came of age. I thought they were brilliant and my children loved them as well.
Steve Ellis is a masterful storyteller, his stylized gestures and expressive faces make each page a visual delight. It continues to boggle my mind that a comic artist must solve hundreds of compositional and narrative relationships in every issue of a novel. It is one thing to just under take the task, is it another to excel at it as Ellis does here.
I am eager to see the further two initial installments coming out this year and future volumes in 2017 and sharing these books with my two daughters!