There are very few comics I get as excited about as I got when I read my copy of “Friends with Boys,” this comic has everything that I love in a comic. A story that is engaging and full of mystery and intrigue, relatable characters and Hicks’ charming art style.
This is the third release from Faith Erin Hicks, a writer illustrator from my home town, but it’s the first that I had read! Her other two books are “Zombies Calling” and “The War at Ellsmere.”
Hicks also is the creator of two web-comics “Demonology 101” and “ICE” which predate any of her print work also worth note is that Hicks is currently releasing a serialized unofficial web-comic version of “The Hunger Games."
“Friends with Boys” is the tale of a home schooled girl, Maggie, and her venture away from home into her first public school experience. Maggie’s start at high school is rough at first as she learns that things in her life really have changed. Her brothers have their own lives and Maggie is left to fend for herself, don’t fret because she soon finds her footing and makes new friends. The problem is that her new friend Lucy and her once popular brother Alistair seem to be the “wrong crowd.” Maggie through her choice of friends is thrown into a history between Alistair and her brother Daniel and the effect that has on her place in her new school is where things get interesting. As things develop you see sides of people that may be unexpected and the story gets really interesting when Maggie decides to uncover the mystery of the ghost who has been haunting her for as long as she can remember.
Faith Erin Hicks has a distinct art style and I wouldn’t call it traditional comic book art, although this isn’t a bad thing. I love her expression and there were times when I was reading “Friends with Boys” that I stopped just to enjoy the work and to laugh. Hicks’ style is obviously influenced by anime and animation. You can tell through the entire book that Hicks puts care and thought into every panel and page. She obviously cares a lot about her works. The design of the characters is one of my favourite parts of the book they are charming and notable. Each character is distinctly different from the last and the dress she uses is incredibly current and fresh and the addition of concept designs is a great addition and adds insight into Hicks’ process.
When I was done this story initially I was sad, not because of disappointment, but because I really didn’t want the story to be over. I fell in love with the characters and the world that Hicks has created for them. This is by far my favourite graphic novel I’ve read in a long time it has a charming characters, mystery, and a well written engaging story that I think many will be able to relate to. Who doesn’t love a coming of age story with a ghastly twist? The book was so good I immediately bought her other two books; you should add “Friends with Boys” to your collection because as far as comics go it’s the total package!