CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 39. . . .June 10, 2016
Ben Sears’ new graphic novel Night Air follows the eccentric goggled protagonist Plus Man and his sidekick robot as they embark on the adventure of a lifetime. On a quest to find valuable alloys in Apple City, Plus Man and his sidekick meet a strange figure that suggests they visit an old castle on the city’s outskirts that reportedly contains buried treasure. Ever the opportunist, Plus Man cannot resist this opportunity and heads straight for the castle.
However, once the duo arrive, they witness strange happenings at the castle, including a typewriter that won’t stop typing on its own and an old woman who appears in mirrors. Despite the fact that the castle seems to be haunted, Plus Man continues his quest for the treasure. On his journey, he encounters an odd assortment of characters, including a skeleton man, a talking head, and a severed hand. Even stranger than these characters are the Dracula-like Duke of the castle and his paramour who are luring treasure seekers to the castle in the hopes that they will die and become real ghosts.
In the end, goodness prevails as Plus Man uses his friction mines to blow up the dungeon in which the Duke is hiding himself, along with all of his treasure. Even though Plus Man does not get the fortune he so desires, he discovers that real wealth isn’t always found in possessing things; sometimes it’s all about the journey.
Ultimately, I really enjoyed the premise behind this storyline which I feel will appeal to young readers. A little boy goes on the adventure of a lifetime with his sidekick, all while meeting a strange cast of characters in a haunted castle. But aside from the plot, itself, the artwork provided by Ben Sears is exceptional. In particular, I feel like the strong point of the entire work revolves around Sears’ freehand cartoon style. The illustrations, themselves, are endearing in their childlike minimalism, evoking a nostalgic feeling of cartoons long gone. Described by the publisher as “…a comic that puts the Saturday morning cartoon into adventure serial”, Night Air gives off a very nostalgic, almost whimsical feeling precisely because of Sears’ artistic talents.
Teresa Iaizzo is a Senior Library Assistant with the Toronto Public Library.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.