(Please excuse the varying image quality.)
“Space Boy“, by Stephen McCranie (author of “Mal and Chad”), is one of the most beautiful graphic stories I have laid my eyes on. The vibrant colouring, lush landscapes, gripping plot, and wonderful character design are only some of the many reasons I love the series. Although I am posting this as a book review, “Space Boy” actually is currently being serialized as a free webcomic on Webtoons. However, in the comic’s popularity, McCranie has offered merchandise and physical copies in several volumes, so I figured it was okay to review here. I will be reviewing the comic as a whole, though it is yet to be completed.
Since this is a graphic novel, I guess it’s only fitting to start with the graphics. As you can see from the covers, the colouring and illustration are stylised and bright, with many round, bouncy looking shapes. This ‘cute’ style does not detract at all from the beauty McCranie instills in the world he’s built. Each illustration aspect is brought together with soul, colour, deep expression, and emotion. This is especially true for the characters.
Characters: all of the”Space Boy” characters are flawed, realistic, and lovable. I speak for the main characters, but also the side characters, when I say that they are all well developed with strong motivations and depth. Each character has their own quirk, charm, and personality. The characters also have good chemistry with each other, which I think is pretty important.
Now, the heavy stuff. Plot. I’m not going to lie, I have been brought to tears on multiple occasions. The book starts with Amy, a girl who has moved to Earth with her family after being cryogenically frozen for 30 years. As she settles into school, she finds friends, confronts new technology, and makes the most of her new life. Eventually, she is drawn to a mysterious boy in her art class. Darker/more serious parts include murder, emptiness, and the lengths we go to for people we love. The plot as a whole is inventive and creative, with fun solutions to sometimes clichéd problems.
Though “Space Boy” travels to dark and suspenseful places, it is also filled with the many simple joys in life, like snowball fights and lunch with friends. There is a light humour that accompanies the series and ties it together, keeping it from getting too heavy. I would 500% recommend it for most ages, especially those who like sci-fi and adventure! Before you jump in, a short note: Space Boy includes romance, but I don’t consider it a romance novel. Romance isn’t really a main theme.
Be ready to drown in your own emotions… (In a good way, I promise.)
You can find the author’s website by just googling his name if the link I have included doesn’t work. It includes samples of his art, his works, a link to “Space Boy“, etc. If you are reading the comic online, there are also some special features such as fanart and author tips on writing/illustrating your own webcomic! He also replies to each individual fanartist, which is really kind and rare to find among comics with a following as huge as this one! Pretty cool!
Stephen McCranie’s website: https://stephenmccranie.com/
Space Boy: https://www.webtoons.com/en/drama/space-boy/list?title_no=400