For a relatively young country, the United States holds a tremendous amount of history, with much of it leading back to Ole Virginny. “All My Ghosts,” a new comic from Alterna Comics, is set in a small town in Virginia, rife with history, and ghosts. Our main character is Joe Hale, the editor and owner of The Wise Progress. This is likely a nod to The Daily Progress in Charlottesville. Given that this story takes place in Wise, a small college town up near the Appalachian Mountains, I believe I’ve hit the nail on the head. It’s a nice quirky setting that adds some extra flavor.
Joe Hale is a pretty self-aware character. He accepts his fate with a certain amount of grace: He’s run the family paper, dating back to his great-grandfather, for as long as he can. He won’t really miss it, at least he doesn’t think he will. However, he feels sort of bad that his daughter, Anna, never got the option. For the time being, he can run the paper on auto-pilot with a bloodhound’s nose for news.
The Wise Progress is being gobbled up by something akin to a buy out from AOL. It is not a pretty sight. Anna, for her part, is not exactly displeased as she wants to be a drama major. But what about the paper’s forefathers? Ghosts! That’s where our ghosts come in.
Massie has a very organic quality to his artwork. Everything has a nice tactile quality to it, whether it’s a face or a still life of a laptop and a can of beer. It’s also a spare style that can evoke the feeling of urgency and despair in the daily grind of putting out a newspaper.
By the second issue, we get a deeper look into Joe Hale’s private life. Apparently, his marriage is over or something like that. He has gone through quite a dry spell but the newspaper buyout finally hits him and he begins to break free from his past restraints and inhibitions. Hale proves to be a complex character with some gusto to take on a full plate of problems. But is he ready to deal with resentful ghosts?