Sweeping in under the wire to become my favorite graphic novel last year (I read it Christmas week), The Case of the Missing Men is too good to be true. That’s what I thought when I picked it up. On the outside it doesn’t look like a graphic novel. It’s not flat, like many comic volumes, but a fat paperback that could pass for a book if you saw it in person. The cover evokes Nancy Drew, the summary on the back mentions David Lynch, and that’s not a comparison that always pays off.
When Sam’s dad goes missing, his peer mentor, Dana, offers to present his case to her high school detective club. Stranger, and more serious, than the cases they usually accept, it’s not a hard sell.
Like Twin Peaks, The Case of the Missing Men draws from a terrific cast of characters (Pauline’s a personal favorite) and finds a way to make its ‘Welcome to Hobtown’ population sign iconic. Should my description make the plot sound average, the fault is in my telling and not wanting to say too much. Artist, Alexander Forbes’, opening shots of Hobtown won’t make you feel at home, but they will make you anxious to know what’s going on. Also, in a move that’s pretty unheard of for a book starring teens—The Case of the Missing Men doesn’t include romance. That’s not to say romance is detrimental, but writer, Kris Bertin, proves it’s not needed to make his coed detective club work.
The Case of the Missing Men is available for purchase from Conudrum Press. Preview pages are posted below: