I’m going to start off with a bold statement… Doomboy is one of the best comic books/graphic novels I’ve ever read. That’s not an exaggeration or over hype either. Doomboy is the embodiment of everything that seasoned comic readers want from a comic and everything a new reader should expect. It has an emotionally deep story populated by characters that are relatable, but that also grow and change throughout the course of the story. The artwork is both art and storytelling at its finest. To put it plainly, it’s the complete package of both art and story. The story follows the main character of ID. He’s a rocker kid that plays the guitar in a small coastal town. We’re introduced to him through a small show that he and other local artists and friends are attending. In the end ID heads home and a strange wind follows him flying around him. It’s not a normal wind as he can basically see it circling around him. When he gets home his mom is waiting for him and gives him some bad news… his girlfriend Annie didn’t wake up at the hospital.
In what’s a touching and emotional moment ID doesn’t cry, he just says “No” over and over as the distance between he and his mother grows on the page to show his isolation in the moment. He heads to his room and takes off his shirt because his chest hurts. He finds a hole going through him. He asks why he has a hole and the hole answers him saying that it will get bigger and bigger if he talks about Annie. It tells him to swallow the sadness and be brave, which is an incredible statement because it explains the metaphor, but still manages to keep it vague in a way. You either relate to it or you don’t.
Afterwards ID continues on life as if nothing happened because of what the hole told him. At his band practice though he can’t hide his sadness and rage. The lead singer yells at him for getting beer on the sound equipment and smacks him. This sends ID into a rage and he starts clocking people with his guitar and essentially leaves the band and several people now want to kick his ass.
As the story continues we find ID and one of his remaining friends hanging out with a radio at the beach. After they hear some amazing sounds ID decides to play some music on the same station. That’s where he reveals the moniker of Doomboy that Annie gave him as he plays incredible music that’s inadvertently broadcasted over the radio.
The artwork is incredible as it drives a lot of the emotion of the story. That’s saying a lot since the character’s all have long hair for the most part and as such their eyes are rarely shown. Creator Tony Sandoval relies on the character’s mouth’s to relay the emotion, but then also body language. The body language is honestly incredible; even when ID/Doomboy is pretending nothing is wrong you can see just how sad he is with his posture.
I’ve seen music represented in comics numerous ways, but never as brilliantly and artistically as in Doomboy. There are no notes. No sound waves. It’s all represented through imagery and it’s insanely brilliant. I’m not going to spoil it for you, but when the characters in the story rave about how incredible the music is you’ll feel the same way. It’s not like you can hear it, but you can feel it and I find that to be an incredible accomplishment of Sandovals.
The story sucks you in immediately. I was flipping through the book again to refresh my memory for this review and before I knew it I was at the end of the story and choking back tears. Not that it’s particularly sad, but it has stronge emotional moments. It’s about loss and overcoming it. It’s about friendship and fresh beginnings. It’s about music as an art rather than something made to produce monetary gain. Sandoval tells a story that is rich in meaning on so many levels that really you begin to feel like your apart of the world.
I’ve waited a long time to properly talk about Doomboy and so I’m extremely happy that others can now enjoy what I feel is the best comic of the year. Doomboy is a book that I think many will take notice of and hopefully it will challenge other creators to produce something as magical as this story. A quick note; I’m going to break our own review scale for this story which isn’t something I do often, but when I do it does mean something. I’m deadly serious about the score I’m giving it so keep that in mind and pick up this book.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Tony Sandoval Publisher: Magnetic Press Price: $24.99 Release Date: 10/15/14 Format: Hardcover