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Cemeteries have always held a mysterious place in the human
heart. It is a place where living souls come to mourn those who have passed on,
while waiting for the next person to die. Though the cemetery itself is nothing
more than headstones and rot, many people have come to avoid them and fear
them, while some use them as sanctuaries.
A FINE AND PRIVATE PLACE, based on the novel by THE LAST
UNICORN’s Peter S. Beagle and adapted into a comic by IDW Publishing and writer
Peter Gillis, takes the latter attitude and paints a world of strange and
mournful ghosts that never quiet moved on and the man who can see them.
Delicately handling issues of death and mourning, the comic moves into places
past the grudges of spectral rage and delves into the solemn area that lives
inside all of us—a place where all our memories are stored, and only death can
ever tear them away.
The story begins with a man, Jonathan Rebeck, who lives by
himself in a cemetery. He spends most of his days talking to dead people and
hanging out with crows, while camping out at night in an old mausoleum. One
day, a new ghost arrives by the name of Michael Morgan, who, like anyone in his
situation, is thoroughly confused about where he is and what is he doing in a
graveyard. As Jon begins to explain the situation, the comic launches into a
tale of love, death and memories. It explores the philosophical side of death,
and what life really means to those who now exist beyond the confines of daily
existence. Michael and Jon are soon joined by other characters, and a new world
begins to open up to them, of others who felt the pain of loss.
A classic, Gothic-toned tale of ghosts, A FINE AND PRIVATE
PLACE mixes the supernatural with the human stubbornness to live to create a
story truly worth reading. This is by no means a “scary” comic; there are no
blood or monsters, nothing that will jump out from under your bed and eat you.
But what it dramatizes is the core of those horrors: the fear of dying and the
life, or lack thereof, that comes afterward. Though reminiscent of TV’s GHOST
WHISPERER, the comic stands on its own when it comes to addressing these
issues. The story is solid and translated beautifully into this medium, while
the art, though a bit choppy in parts, faithfully recreates the feel of the
writing. Be sure to grab the first issue when it hits stands this week.
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