Foodboy

Overview

A graphic novel about loss, hope and faith; bonds that are tested when the paths of two boyhood friends diverge.
The term 'graphic novel' is now used as shorthand to describe any fat comic book, whether it's a collection of short stories, journalism, autobiography, or history, but Carol Swain's work is among that minority of work published under the rubric 'graphic novel' that in fact closely approximates the visual equivalent of mainstream fiction. Swain has been publishing ...

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Overview

A graphic novel about loss, hope and faith; bonds that are tested when the paths of two boyhood friends diverge.
The term 'graphic novel' is now used as shorthand to describe any fat comic book, whether it's a collection of short stories, journalism, autobiography, or history, but Carol Swain's work is among that minority of work published under the rubric 'graphic novel' that in fact closely approximates the visual equivalent of mainstream fiction. Swain has been publishing comics since the mid-'80s, but this is not only her second book, but her first since 1995 and the first to receive proper distribution to the book trade.Foodboy is about loss and hope, friendship, and faith, bonds that are tested when the paths of two boyhood friends diverge. Garth—the Foodboy of the title—and Ross live in the small Welsh village of Llanparc, where they have grown up together, been baptized together, skipped Sunday School together. The attempt of a visiting troupe of Evangelists to convert the locals seems to trigger in Ross a physical and spiritual retreat 'into wilderness.' Gareth remains loyal to his friend, leaving food out for him, even when it becomes apparent that Ross is becoming increasingly feral. At that point we leave the story, never quite certain of just how wild he has become. (Her previous graphic novel, Invasion of the Mind Sappers, was set in a similar locale, and featured the Ross character in a small role.)Foodboy is drawn in Swain's trademark style of exquisite panel compositions in which the characters and landscapes embody the twin thematic poles of her work—anomie and empathy, pathos and passivity.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA
The tale of two friends, Ross and Gareth, are detailed in this substantial yet little graphic novel. Their paths start to veer away from one another when Ross takes up with a group of hippies and Gareth seeks employment in a restaurant. Slowly Ross lives farther away from society and becomes more feral than human. Gareth tries to maintain a relationship with him through providing Ross with food. Their relationship is examined in flashbacks as Gareth tries to help Ross save whatever is left of his sanity and life. Swain's story has something different for every reader. Swain folds multiple layers into the story and art and leaves the layers open to readers' interpretations. At first glance, the black-and-white art is rather bland, but it fits this challenging story line. Readers will need to read and examine the art closely to pick up the clues that Swain offers, indicating when the panels are in a flashback mode or Gareth's present time. The art consistently becomes darker as Ross becomes more feral. Overall this title is a thought-provoking piece that many readers might pass over for the more fun graphic novel. But if given the opportunity, readers will be able to get much out of it. VOYA CODES: 4Q 2P S A/YA G (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults; Graphic Novel Format). 2004, Fantagraphics, 80p., Trade pb. Ages 15 to Adult.
—Kristin Fletcher-Spear
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560975755
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
  • Publication date: 12/19/2003
  • Pages: 80
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Carol Swain is the acclaimed British cartoonist and author of the graphic novels Invasion of the Mind Sappers and Foodboy.

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