The Lost Boy is a graphic novel by Greg Ruth about a family who has recently moved into a new town and the son, Nate discovers an old tape recorder—belonging to another boy who has gone missing—under the floorboard of this chosen room. Judging by its cover, you’d think that you’ll be in for some kind of thrilling ride but in the reality of a bibliophile who is also a huge fan of anime, manga and games…
This book has failed to meet my expectations.
Firstly, typesetting, a job many overlook and probably even laugh at because hey, how hard can putting words on a page be, right? The answer: If you’re looking for a shitty job done, easy. I can slap in all the words using Photoshop for a 40-50 paged comic within two days, SFXs (special effects) and all. The font sizes may go from large to small in very noticeable manners within concurrent bubbles. The SFXs may not suit or bring out the mood/tone of the panel which at times, affects the overall product as well. And, there’s practically no variety in fonts. However, if you’re looking for an excellent, heart-pounding, page-coming-into-life kind of job? Challenging to the point of hair-tearing some times. There will be multiple re-does, possible crying and definitely several hours spent combing through the internet and your own collection of 2000+ fonts. Instead of two days, it can expand well into a whole week, depending on whether the quality checker/author/artist approves or not.
In order words, typesetting is as crucial as the art and the plot itself. Those three come together, joined to the hip and with only one leg each. Remove one from either left or right and the removed will fall while the others might be stable but there’s no denying the gaping hole of the fallen. Remove the middle and there’s nothing holding them up at all.
Therefore, for The Lost Boy, I find the typesetting terrible and as someone who has years of experience in this section, I cringed very hard while I read this book. Practically the same font is used for almost all kinds of dialogue between the humans—a big no-no unless you’re aiming to provide something subpar to your audience. There should be different fonts for whispering, normal dialogue, shouting and all—not just simply words typed in capitals, bold or italicized, etc.. Yes, the current font choice may fit the general mood of the story but I can’t even tell if different fonts were used and if they were, they look too similar. Thus, failing in fitting in with the actual ideal mood in its panel. Additionally, there are multiple unnecessary emphasis (bold) on words in just about every single bubble. It distracts from the actual important points in the dialogues and gives off the vibe that the typesetter didn’t actually bother to double check whether his or her choices are actually suitable or not. Oh, and there are inconsistencies within the text too—shifts in a character’s speech who uses contractions in one bubble but doesn’t in the next.
Despite that, there’s no denying that the art is gorgeously detailed. It provides a very good atmosphere which suits the plot. No complaints from me for this department.
On the other hand, while not as bad as the typesetting, the plot is a lot on the meh side, much disjointed and too fast paced. It’s pretty clichéd and expected, really. Nate’s character development isn’t done well—he allows himself to be dragged into a strange world too quickly and too accepting to be realistic, hence why I found page 86 ironic. Tabitha, Nate’s sidekick of sorts can be quite interesting but her character isn’t fleshed out much as well, and honestly, which teenage girl in the world doesn’t flinch when they’re stabbed by a tiny arrow, especially when it’s pulled out? The only character that attracted the majority of my attention is Walt, the missing boy.
Honestly, this graphic novel could’ve turn out better. The art didn’t feel like it’s been rushed but everything else does, causing it to just end up as a book that’s good to look at but dulling to read the second go you give it (from the point of the climax to the ending was rather exciting). If you’re expecting something fantastical and realistic characters, this book isn’t where you’ll get them.