I really can't stress it enough: people need to read graphic novels. I am especially fond of the single volume stories, like this one I picked up after the resident GN reader at my library told me how much he loved it. Earthboy Jacobus is by Doug TenNapel who is also the author of Tommysaurus Rex. I really didn't have any doubt that it would be something special. Special by way of bizarre, fantastical, heroic and heartwarming. I mean, look at that huge American flag. Heroic, y'all. Heroic.
We start off with Chief, who is Chief of Police for a police department in California. He's retiring and he's the type of ex-Marine, live-the-job guy you know won't survive long without having his job to go to. The day after his retirement (or so) he's off for a midnight run for fast food when his car hits a huge whale. Yes, I wrote "whale". Inside the whale is a boy, our boy, Jacobus.
Chief takes Jacobus home and it is immediately recognizable that Chief already loves Jacobus as a son. It is also immediately known that Jacobus is being hunted by creatures from his parallel universe. And thus we have our story: why are these creatures hunting Jacobus and how can he & Chief survive them.
Chief puts Jacobus through is own Marine boot camp to teach him how to fight. I never thought war training could be so loving. The story jumps a few years into the future and Jake and Chief are finally discovered and taken back to the universe Jacobus fled. We jump another chunk of time in this world before the story wraps up. So Jacobus is an adult, albeit a 20-something, when the story ends.
The art is in black ink and it lends well to the raw feeling of Jacobus on his quest. I did find it difficult to keep track of who is who in the parallel universe, but the story itself is not difficult to follow. This is a GN for teens. There's some cussing (dick, among others) and nekkidness (Jacobus butt!) and a panel of two naughty adults in a semi-embrace in bed (he topless, she in a bra). This is a great addition for a library's collection.
I'd also like to mention how much I love the name Jacobus. You know, if anyone is looking for boy name ideas. Just sayin'.