Graphic Novel Review: A Gift For A Ghost: A Graphic Novel by Borja González

A Gift For A Ghost: A Graphic Novel by Borja González. English translation by Lee Douglas. Abrams ComicArts, 2020.

In 1856, Teresa meets a person in a skeleton costume in the woods, and makes the mistake of telling her little sister about it. Teresa’s sisters don’t get her, and her mother is not impressed with the poem she’s writing for her debut, “The Ghost Rider,” about a “fire velocipede hero.” (Her mother tells her everyone will be happier if she lowers “the dose of vampires, crypts, and dementia” in her work.) Teresa is someone you’ll root for; she’s not only misunderstood, she also has a foul mouth and performs Lovecraftian shadow puppet shows. One of her stories seems to be about a ghost in our time buying ice cream.

In 2016 Laura, Gloria, and Christina are talking about starting a high school punk band, The Black Holes, even though Laura and Gloria don’t really know how to play any instruments. It won’t stop them because Christina has the best basement / rehearsal space ever. There are butterflies everywhere. Halloween and horror movies are involved. Laura writes incomprehensible lyrics about science and worms and weird things, and it’s secret how she comes up with them (though it comes out at the end).

I worry that last sentence won’t make much sense but trust me, this is a beautifully mysterious, somewhat circular graphic novel by (which I believe was originally published in Spanish). It’s so great when I started skimming through it to write this review, I had to read it again. I’ll be on the lookout for more of González’s books; his art reminds me of work by Ruppert and Mulot (Barrel of Monkeys, The Grande Odalisque), mostly because González doesn’t draw faces either, and, in the shading of the pages that take place at night, of some of my favorite Hellboy pages drawn by Mike Mignola.


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