Few modern storytellers focus on the ‘lower decks’ of the criminal world. Crime has it’s rockstars just as the greater good has it’s heroes. There are no saviours in this graphic novel. The lines aren’t blurry nor in this a morally bankrupt tale. Ghost Beach isn’t an ordinary story but it is a story featuring ordinary people. Ordinary people attempting to traverse Ghost Beach’s own cruel world.
Ghost Beach comes out of the depressingly dull reaches of eastern New South Wales, Australia. The story’s concentration is a hotbed of ‘no-hopers’ navigating what little life has to offer. All the while, the key characters are left to question the recent murders falling around their immediate micro-universe. Navigating their social circles and the quasi-problem of making ends meet are heightened as the novel’s big bad. More so than the actual killer on the loose. The heightened realism of Ghost Beach and added societal pressures the characters feel are not unlike real-life. Allowing fear and paranoia to seep in. In fact, the story itself acts as an interesting cultural narrative in the arrogance of humanity. Why do we value changing norms in our own social circles over the loss of human life?
An interesting question. One of many, which writer and artist Ben Mitchell, attempts to resolve.
Artistically, its easy to dumb down Ghost Beach as a universe of Captain Haddock from Herge’s Tintin. Unlike Herge’s work, Mitchell’s style of drawing cleverly juxtaposes the broken underbelly of Ghost Beach’s merry band of miscreants. The clean style leaves little opportunity for distraction from the reader’s perspective. The black inking mixed with an occassional singular colour to indicate a change in tone is a simple, yet effective technique. A welcome change from a dialogue heavy graphic novel. Something the big 4 should consider.
Ghost Beach is a cleverly depicted cultural narrative on south eastern Australia. Analysing the faults in city living while unpacking the unique traits of each character. Tapping into the theory that, behaviourally, a personality is the result not just of its parts but also of the effects society has on them. A comfortable art style meets a tale of debauchery, low working class and cold murder. Ghost Beach tests the coping mechanism not only of its own characters but also of its readers. A story fit for a Novocastrian!
How do we rate it? 6 Sodas!