Batcave Beach #1
by Aaron Whitaker and Melinda Tracy Boyce
Batcave Beach #1 begins to tell the very strange story of a boy named Issac.
Issac is just a young guy still attending high school, the eldest son of three otherwise annoying kids and a shy artist whose dad also happens to be an artist. He likes horror movies and PBR and dinosaurs. But really, he’s just a boy on the verge of becoming a dude.
On Halloween night while walking home after school, Issac finds an invitation on the ground for a Halloween party. It’s not addressed to him or anyone he knows. It’s addressed to a girl he’s never met.
Amazingly, and one would believe uncharacteristically, he decides to crash this party and he does so alone.
Isaac makes himself a quick costume by transforming a bed sheet into a ghost costume. Seems like a pretty good plan. His outfit gains him entrance to the party with no one aware that he’s not an invited guest. Unfortunately, the party is being held on a private island. And he IS found out. And there’s no place to go.
All the kids at the party make up the popular crowd from another school, and they are not amused by Issac’s shenanigans. They exile him to the woods and tell him he can’t stay in their cabin and he has to stay outside. Kids can be so cruel.
Luckily, two other outcasts at the party take pity on him 1) Penelope Printz, a twee queen who loves opera-style gloves, Franny & Zooey and Elliott Smith and 2) Frederick Frick Goldenburg, Penelope’s friend from school who inexplicably has a full, manly beard, reads Plato, loves pizza and nature and bikes, and does not appear to be in a relationship with Penelope or have any sort of jealousy (or even surprise) when she develops an immediate crush on Issac.
Sounds like an idyllic story, in a way, and one you might have heard before. Our hero’s journey is one that presumably will release Issac from his shell and make him a cooler human being. He finds two people with whom he really clicks and they even share weed with him. He might have even just met his first best friend and first major relationship all because he did one little unexpected thing.
At this point in the reading I thought, ‘Oh great. Didn’t I just see Adventureland? And wasn’t it sexist and awful? I see where this book is going…’ But I’m telling you guys, I was wrong. This story really starts to turn around in the final pages.
So back on the beach, things are great — until the trio gets the munchies and wanders back to the party for a snack. They’re hoping to steal food from the preppy jerks that exiled them but when they arrive all the guests are gone. It’s still daylight, so there’s no reason the party would have gone back to sleep at the cabin and left all their stuff and music behind. The situation is very weird. Soon, they find a mostly limbless boy under the snack table ominously crying out “HE KILLED US! HE KILLED US ALL!!!”
(Yuck!) Oh my gosh! A twist! Now I can’t wait for #2. I am hooked.
The story was written by Aaron Whitaker and it’s been drawn by Melinda Tracy Boyce. Even though this book has input from two people, it truly feels like it all came from the same hand. This artistic team really has a good thing going for them. The about page indicates that they’ve worked together on other projects, but it’s like with this project they have one mind directing everything in a really harmonious way. The art and story share equal part in this coming-of-age horror story.
Whitaker’s story is couched nicely into Boyce’s colorful, clear art. The book is beautifully drawn, colored and assembled. It’s all handmade by the two of them. Even the corners are rounded (nice!). The production quality is high inside and out. I really hope the other issues live up to this tremendous first issue of Batcave Beach.
The book is full-color, 52-pages long, 8.5″x7″ and available in print for $6 + shipping or as a digital download for $2 through their online store: http://batcavebeach.com/Store
– Sarah Morean