cover image Bad Houses

Bad Houses

Sara Ryan and Carla Speed McNeil. Dark Horse, $19.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-595829-93-1

Two teenage lost souls struggle to find their future in the past of a dying town in the latest from novelist and comics creator Ryan (Rules for Hearts). The story, set in Falin, Ore., explores the idea that houses and their interiors are shadows of the humans who lived in them. Lewis works for his mother arranging estate sales. Anne, who lives with her hoarder mother, provides something positive for him to cling to when they share a bewitching moment while she lurks around a sale. Lewis’s confusion centers not only on his mother’s dominance in his life, but on his lack of a father. It becomes apparent that the other characters in the story share some links from the past, and Lewis and Anne must dig out the truth of these tattered strands of an earlier era. One of the keys: the lore behind the local beer, Faithful Angus, a memory of better times represented by empty bottles sold in antique shops, a bittersweet shadow over Falin. Ryan’s well-rounded sympathetic characterization and the scrappy energy in McNeil’s art make this a drama with true depth. (Nov.)