Moody Hauntings – “Festering Romance” by Renee Lott
In Renee Lott’s graphic novel, “Festering Romance,” this theory is turned on it’s head. Moody college student Janet literally lives with a ghost. Paul, the ghost, is a friend from her childhood who drowned one day while the two were swimming in a storm. Now, Janet lives in an apartment that she shares with Colombo-loving Paul, the best undead friend a girl could have.
Enter Derek. A pushy friend of Janet and Derek’s sets them up on a blind date, and though they clash, there’s an attraction. Things go semi-well until Janet visits Derek’s apartment and discovers he has a ghost of his own – named Carol. Surprised, Janet leaves without mentioning her own ghost. So, of course when Derek discovers Paul, he flips out. Janet and Derek stop speaking, go on about their lives unhappily, and each have to come to terms with letting go of their ghosts in order to move on with their lives.
Renee Lotts has a really cool visual style, which perfectly captures the moodiness of leading lady Janet in it’s boldness and simplicity. I liked looking at this novel more than I did reading it, as the emo hero and heroine not being able to get themselves together and grow up story quickly grew to grate on my nerves. (At some point, someone needs to give.) Janet and Derek are stubborn, immature people, and it isn’t until the last couple pages that you begin to think they might actually have a chance. Juxtaposed against them, ghost-dude Paul is the only likable character in the story (Derek’s ghost, Carol, is a pill too) – and you begin to think the story could have been more interesting if the Paul was the alive one. A sweet kid with moody ghosts hanging around? There’s comedy in that, I’m sure.
That said, this is the debut graphic novel from Renee Lotts, and there’s definitely potential there.
If this talented artist had a better story to wrap her artistic sensibilities around, she might be unstoppable.