Review by C.J. Bunce
As you drift along through IDW’s new mini-series, Ghost Tree, don’t be surprised if the story evokes Japanese folk tales, like Momotarō or last year’s Oscar-winning animated short film Bao. Unlike so many comic book stories today, Ghost Tree is not an action-driven spectacle, but a refreshingly slow supernatural journey into the past for a young Japanese expatriate. His name is Brandt, and he is returning to the home of his youth because of a promise made to his grandfather a decade ago. And that takes him to a meeting in the woods near his grandmother’s home.
Writer Bobby Curnow (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and artist Simon Gane (Godzilla) paint a delightful, engaging, and haunting snippet from Japanese culture, bridging two generations, with a tale steeped in the otherworldly realm of so many Asian legends. Take Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo and merge it with something spooky that awaits in the forest–like something just this side of the dark of Kim Eun-hee’s Kingdom–and you’ll find the setting for Ghost Tree.
It’s a journey of self-discovery for grown-up Brandt, but what more can he learn from his grandfather now that he’s gone? Can he help the lost souls in the woods and take home lessons from his grandmother to solve his own problems? Learning from mistakes and regret, a haunted tree, and an assembly of souls that are drawn to it, plus monsters, and disembodied samurai? It’s no wonder the first printing of Issue #1 has already sold out in pre-orders. What prompted the advance sell-out? The description or that creepy character standing atop the cliff? Whatever the reason, the first chapter matches the hype. It’s coming to your local comic shop this week, and if you happen to miss it, don’t worry because the second printing is close behind.
Take a look at this preview of Issue #1 of Ghost Tree, courtesy of IDW Publishing:
The great color work is provided by colorist Ian Herring. If shades of green are your thing, this series is for you. Herring’s choices make for a great pairing with Gane, whose artwork frequently pulls readers into a myriad of fascinating cultural settings.
You won’t want to miss this one. Ghost Tree arrives at Elite Comics and your own local comic book store tomorrow, Wednesday, April 24, 2019.