cover image Dead Boy Detectives, Vol. 1: Schoolboy Terrors

Dead Boy Detectives, Vol. 1: Schoolboy Terrors

Toby Litt, Mark Buckingham, and various. DC/Vertigo, $9.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-4012-4889-5

The Dead Boy Detectives Edwin and Charles, the ghosts of two abused boys who pal around together and solve crimes, were created by Neil Gaiman in The Sandman as a morbid commentary on boarding schools. This series adds Crystal Palace, the daughter of two spoiled, neglectful performance-artist celebrities, who%E2%80%99s attending Edwin and Charles%E2%80%99s school, which is now co-ed. Conveniently, she happens to see the boys, who help her fight the threat of demonic possession and rescue spirits trapped in a mirror. While Crystal%E2%80%94a hacker and a cosplayer%E2%80%94is a great character, the boys aren%E2%80%99t given as much attention as one would like, playing second fiddle to both Crystal and the ghost of an evil schoolmaster who has a pack of violent dogs. Edwin was killed a century ago and Charles 20 years back, but you couldn%E2%80%99t tell it by the way they act here. The somewhat ordinary stories by Litt (a novelist known for such works as Corpsing) aren%E2%80%99t up to the accomplished level of the Buckingham%E2%80%99s art, which has expressive characters and detailed settings. The art makes the struggle through an experimental novelist%E2%80%99s first comic series worthwhile. (July)