After years of homeschooling, Maggie is ready for her first day of public school. But can she survive the hallways of high school? Will she make any friends? And why does that ghost keep following her around?
Several months ago, we mentioned Faith Erin Hicks's The Adventures of Superhero Girl, a webcomic about a day-to-day life of a newbie superhero. Hicks is also the creator of Demonology 101, Ice, Zombies Calling, The War at Ellsmere, and a terrific little comic about Wolverine shopping for Canadian eggs. Friends With Boys will be a novel-length webcomic, with the print volume published by First Second, which has been publishing so many wonderful comics online.
Friends With Boys is the first of Hicks's comics to involve autobiographical elements (although she's careful to stress that it is not an autobiography). Like her protagonist, Hicks was homeschooled and didn't attend a brick-and-mortar school until high school.
But young Maggie is dealing with more than a change of educational venue. Her mother, who homeschooled Maggie and her three older brothers, recently took off, leaving the four children with their father, the town's newly appointed chief of police. In fact, the only thing that hasn't changed is the ghost that Maggie has been seeing since she was a little girl. It's a coming of age story with a touch of supernatural mystery.
Friends With Boys highlights Hicks's expressive artwork and talent for creating fully realized characters. The opening scenes with Maggie's family show off a group of people who are at once warm and wounded, intimately familiar but still capable of surprising one another. I'm looking forward to seeing more of the Hicksian characters that will populate Maggie's school, and how Maggie's haunting will impact the rest of her life.