There are always so many new books released every week that it is hard to know which ones to pick up, but I have a simple rule: open the cover and see if the art grabs you. If you aren’t enticed by Jorge Corona’s art then there is so much emotional dramatisation gone to waste. From the outset he may appear to be one of those quirky artists with characteristic exaggerative faces and pointed accentuated postures but on deeper inspection you realise each figure wears their emotion on their person. Before we delve into the auspices of the art, it is worth describing what this book is actually about and the themes it embraces.

Goners is a comic about a family with a deep-seated involvement in the mystical, and whilst it seems to pitch a light hearted angle to the terror of monsters, it definitely has quite serious undertones. The very first issue sees the two children protagonists become orphans as their parents demise is seen nationwide on reality television. It is a difficult concept to wrangle your head around, especially when the artwork is so delightfully eccentric. However now were are four issues in, the story is well under way and the themes seems to have equilibrated to provide a sumptuous conspiracy story revolving around child adventures and scary monsters.

Goners 004-017

Semahn’s dialogue is quite apt in for each individual circumstance, which includes petulant children, indignant self-righteous adults and nervous naysayers. In fact the double page spread sees a great blend of these characters. The story has been making excellent headway and has pulled off the obligatory twists with impressive conviction; I mean the last issue saw the death of young Josiah. It certainly keeps you entertained with the black arts and fabled savages, but there does seem to be a few too many folk tales, making you wonder if they can feasibly be linked together. But ultimately it needs to maintain a coherent plot, which it is doing perfectly well at present.

The best way to describe the art of this book is vibrant because there is not a single missed detail. This sometimes leads to a rather convoluted panel such as the massive double page spread that contains so many characters. However there is a lot to explore because there is that much attention to detail. The Skin-Walker himself is genuinely terrifying, as each tuft of fur looks as menacing as his razor sharp incisors. The set of heroes are completely diverse in appearance and style and that includes the way in which they fight. Corona’s art tends towards panels of drama and emotional exposition as opposed to dynamic fighting sequences, which works incredibly well with the children.

Goners flashbackThe flashback sequences have a lovely yellow tinge to them and bear out the brightness of innocence and naïveté. This certainly contrasts with the shadowy gritty present where the company are fighting vicious wolves. The scenes of reconciliation between father and son are really well put together as they provide the space needed for the feelings to be let out. The panels are more sparse and coloured lightly; in fact Beem was used for his delicate watercolouring skills. Corona’s pencils are allowed a little more clarity with the light blues and reds around the characters, which is essential in showing the disappointment and upset of Josiah.

Siblings

As we come through to the end of the issue and have taken in the delights of this wonderful action adventure into mystery, we realise that the central core of this book is the revelation of the true nature of the Latimer family. Josiah has to endure some horrid truths about his parents and his reunion with his father is not the event he thought it would be. His cutesy and adorable nature allows him to continue with resolute determination to save the day, but also paints over the disappointment he feels. His sister certainly struggles more so with the events to come and parallels her brother’s fearlessness. It is characters like these that make this book a joy to read because they are so well fleshed out and physically manifested by Corona that you recognise them from afar. This is a very impressive story and one that may have bitten off more than it can chew but the Skin-Walker has a very impressive set of gnashers.

“If only there were time for tears”

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