Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
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by Doug TenNapel

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Imagine Garth Hales surprise when hes accidentally zapped to the spirit world by Frank Gallows, a washed-out ghost wrangler. Suddenly Garth finds he has powers the ghosts dont have, and hes stuck in a world run by the evil ruler of Ghostopolis, who would use Garths newfound abilities to rule the ghostly kingdom. When Garth meets Cecil, his grandfathers ghost, the


Imagine Garth Hales surprise when hes accidentally zapped to the spirit world by Frank Gallows, a washed-out ghost wrangler. Suddenly Garth finds he has powers the ghosts dont have, and hes stuck in a world run by the evil ruler of Ghostopolis, who would use Garths newfound abilities to rule the ghostly kingdom. When Garth meets Cecil, his grandfathers ghost, the two search for a way to get Garth back home, and nearly lose hope until Frank Gallows shows up to fix his mistake.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—When readers first meet Garth Hale, he is about to receive the fifth diagnosis that his disease is incurable. How fitting, then, that a boy who thinks about death more than other kids his age should be accidentally zapped into the afterlife. When washed-up ghost wrangler Frank Gallows realizes that he accidentally sent Garth through to the other side, he does everything in his power to rescue him. Meanwhile, Garth explores the spirit world with a skeleton horse, a variety of terrifying and fantastic creatures, and some family members whom he never expected to meet. TenNapel mixes emotional epiphanies with humor in a way that will appeal to a broad audience. Characters experience personal growth and learn lessons about themselves throughout the course of this book, but these lessons feel integral to the plot rather than forced down readers' throats. TenNapel's colorful illustrations are filled with energy and life, and they use shade and silhouettes to great advantage. The planned film adaptation made by Disney and starring Hugh Jackman means that this book is bound to have an extra surge in popularity, so it's probably a good idea to buy it now and get in on the ground floor.—Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library
Publishers Weekly
TenNapel's latest adventure comic for kids begins with the discovery of Benedict Arnold's whiny ghost hiding under a bed, and goes on to introduce readers to a host of other humorous and interesting characters, some historical, others very contemporary. Garth Hale is the protagonist, and he starts his story spunky but sick with a life-threatening illness. When, through a technological mishap, he's transported into the afterlife, death gives him a new lease on life. Garth is accompanied by a dinosaur skeleton he calls Skinny, and he soon meets up with his grandfather Cecil—who, in the afterlife, is Garth's age. The two join forces to fight the evil ruler of the ghost city, Ghostopolis, and to get Garth home. In spite of its many twists and turns, the story remains clear and engaging throughout, and Garth is a likable sort. There are plenty of action sequences, illustrated with energetic drawings, and a host of smart-talking characters make the story fun. Occasional wordless skits, like a scene of two squirrels wrapped in bandages fighting over an acorn, add charm and extra dashes of humor. TenNapel is an accomplished creator of graphic novels for kids, and this is sure to appeal to all those who love his most famous character, Earthworm Jim. Ages 12-up. (July)
VOYA - Timothy Capehart
Teenager Garth is dying of an incurable disease; he seems much more at peace with the idea than his mother for he is all that she has left. Frank Gallows is an agent of the Supernatural Immigration Task Force, sending ghosts who have escaped from the afterlife back to where they belong. When a spirit Frank is chasing accidentally takes the still-living Garth with it in the transference, Frank seeks the help of his ex-fiance Claire Voyant (a ghost herself) in getting to the afterlife to rescue Garth. Meanwhile Garth and the bone-horse (Nightmare) he has renamed "Skinny" meet Cecil, the teenage ghost of Garth's grandfather, who schools Garth in Afterlife/Ghostopolis history. It turns out that a very nasty person called Vaughner has taken over all seven kingdoms of the afterlife, and he wants Garth more than dead. Amazing battles, surprise twists, touchingly (but never sappily) real emotions, and excellent deadpan humor follow. Tennapel's stylized full-color illustrations straddle a perfect line between realistic and cartoonish. The panels move the story along at a breakneck speed with plenty of cinematic perspectives. As usual, multiple readings only increase the fun. How can hissing cockroaches in one's underwear, a psychic cat lady, and Benedict Arnold's ghost miss? And who but Tennapel could mix them with a love story and tale of intergenerational forgiveness? Earthworm Jim's daddy has grown up, and thankfully, he has not totally abandoned fart jokes. Reviewer: Timothy Capehart
Children's Literature - Reginald Wideman
The book opens with Garth, a normal kid in his teens, going from doctor to doctor with his mother to seek out a cure for his unknown, incurable disease. Garth is nonchalant about his condition, preferring to draw and read comics, while his mother takes a high-strung emotional approach to the situation. Meanwhile, Detective Frank Gallows of the Supernatural Immigration Task Force is on assignment tailing ghosts who have escaped from the afterlife to the real world. He is in the middle of capturing a horse skeleton when Garth accidently gets caught up in the chase and gets sent to the afterlife. Detective Gallows must call on his super genius ex-fiance Claire Voyant to find a way into the afterlife to bring Garth back, or he could lose his job. Garth befriends the skeleton horse, naming it "Skinny," and after Garth meets his grandfather he learns he has a higher purpose in the afterlife: to defeat Lord Frank Vaugner, another live human who was accidently sent to the afterlife twenty years earlier. Having never read a graphic novel, I was enthralled with this one. It is a short read, but a great story, with fun, entertaining characters and a teen hero who learns that terminal illness does not have to slow him down as long as he can realize the power within himself to achieve great things. Because of its humor, great graphics, and strong character development, I would recommend this book to anyone. Reviewer: Reginald Wideman

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.46(w) x 9.06(h) x 0.67(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Doug TenNapel was raised in the town of Denair, California. In 1994, he created the immensely popular Earthworm Jim. Doug's first graphic novel for Scholastic, GHOSTOPOLIS, was a 2011 ALA Top Ten Great Graphic Novel for Teens, and his follow-up, BAD ISLAND, is a 2012 ALA Great Graphic Novels for Teens as well as one of School Library Journal's Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2011. His most recent graphic novel from Scholastic, CARDBOARD, has been published to critical acclaim. Doug lives in Glendale, California.

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