Writers: Kirsten ‘Kiwi’ Smith & Kurt Lustgarten
Artist: Naomi Franquiz
Colourist: Brittany Peer
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Cover: Naomi Franquiz
Publisher: BOOM! Studios/BOOM! Box
In the interest of full disclosure, I need to inform you that I’m a straight white male between the ages of 18-49. I fully realize this title is not necessarily trying to reach me as an audience, but I went in with an open mind because BOOM! Studios has made some real headway into producing quality comics for all ages, interests and cultures in the last few years. I was under the impression that their BOOM! Box imprint was geared towards young readers, but had to investigate it further when I got to a swear (sort of) on one of the early pages. I found that BOOM! Box is actually the imprint they use for “experimental” or “gleeful” projects, not all-ages books.
From the cover, it’s not hard to trace back some of the Oregonian influences in this book. Whether the giant impact lettering of Gravity Falls, or the tattered map with a giant red “X” (evoking the The Goonies) the writers made no effort to hide their inspirations. In fact, they fully embrace them, basing the story in Cannon Cove where The Goonies, Point Break and Twilight were all filmed.
We’re slowly introduced to the four main characters at each of their jobs, giving a bit of background for each, as well as the town itself. The small coastal town is a tourist trap for people who loved the “Gloomies” movie, bringing in a class of yuppy only interested in movie memorabilia and not in the storied history of the town.
The main characters are a diverse group of (teenage?) girls, each with their own looks and personalities. Once again, you can see a heavy north-western influence here, at times bordering on the “too-cool-for-school” hipster vibe. It is funny that the disinterest of the pubescent girls almost makes them ignore the call to action that sparks the entire storyline. Things start to come together when a ship captain dies, leaving a chest to the local museum where one of our protagonists, Macy, works. The girls find a hidden treasure map in the chest, but think nothing of it till the chest is stolen later that night. This is the catalyst that sets them on their own Goonies-like adventure.
Both Naomi Franquiz and Brittany Peer do a wonderful job on art. It is reminiscent of BOOM! Box’s other books, but that may not be a bad thing. It conveys its tone to someone who might pick it up in the store, without having to read a word. There’s some great dialogue and character-building here, but I don’t think they grab the reader with the premise. Leaning so heavily on your influences can seem like just re-treading if you don’t present a new hook for people to latch on to. I think they’ve got a solid foundation, but I hope this book can come into its own in the coming issues, as it caters to an underserved population of comic fandom.