Mysteries and ghosts are always a great combination. Just ask the Scooby gang – it’s been their schtick for decades! So now Charmz, an imprint of Papercutz (who published those Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew graphic novels a few years back), has offered up a new series called G.F.F.s – Ghost Friends Forever. It’s a new series (hopefully!) of graphic novels written by Monica Gallagher and drawn by Kata Kane about a fifteen-year old female protagonist, Sophia Greene-Campos, who comes from family of paranormal investigators. Thus, ghosts don’t scare her and solving mysteries – well, it’s pretty much in her blood.
“My Heart Lies in the 90s” not only introduces readers to Sophia, her brother Felix, her boyfriend Jake, and Sophia and Felix’s parents, but it also presents readers with Sophia’s first ghost, Whitney – a young girl who died twenty years ago. She has no memory of what happened to her, she only knows she is stuck on the bridge Sophia happened to be crossing and can’t move away from it.
Until she meets Sophia!
Meanwhile, Sophia has decided to make it her business to figure out what happened to Whitney so the girl can move on. But Felix finds out, and warns her that he will rat her out to their parents, since they were both forbidden to go into the family business until they had been properly trained. And with her parents split up and living separately, Sophia knows there is no hope of that any time soon.
Gallagher provides a well-plotted mystery for the teenage paranormal sleuth to solve – what happened to Whitney and who did it? But even more than that, Gallagher throws in several subplots involving Sophia’s parents and what happened that caused them to separate. And what happens when Sophia suddenly finds herself breaking the one big rule that her parents were always warning her about? Don’t get attached to the ghosts! Only, Sophia can’t help herself, because the more she helps Whitney and delves into the mystery surrounding her death, the more she finds herself attracted to the young girl.
Gallagher’s dialogue is natural and flows smoothly among the characters, giving each one his and her own distinctive personalities. There is plenty of teen angst, jealousy, betrayal, as well as a bit of humor thrown in for good measure, and the story has all the makings of a great ongoing series. Hopefully sales on this first book will be enough to warrant future stories.
Kane’s art is simple, but effective. It’s almost a cross between Manga and old-style Archie, and it almost has a feel of a Saturday morning cartoon from yester-year. The backgrounds are detailed, without being overpowering, and the only critique I have is that the characters in a lot of places look cardboard (meaning when there is action, the reader doesn’t get the feeling of movement like you do with other artists). However, it was not something that took me out of the story, just something I noticed as I was reading.
What’s in store next for Sophia? Only time will tell…
RATING: 7 servings of orangey spicy pasta out of 10 for serving up a good little mystery and introducing a new gang of supernatural sleuths!