EDILW favorite James Kochalka has a new Johnny Boo book bout, Johnny Boo and the Mean Little Boy. As the title indicates, there is a mean little boy in the story. He enters the story with a butterfly net, attempting to capture a butterfly that has landed on Squiggle's head. Thinking Squiggle is himself some sort of crazy butterfly, the mean little boy chases him with the net and (spoiler alert!) catches him:
The scene is part of a much larger sequence that is as charming and funny as pretty much any other sequence in one of Kochalka's Johnny Boo books, until I realized that Squiggle is, in fact, a ghost. And this boy captured him with a net. And plopped him into a jar, which he could not escape from. He's not just playing along with the boy; he's really stuck in there: Aren't ghosts insubstantial? Can't they, like, float through walls and stuff? And if you hold out your hand to try and touch a ghost, won't your hand go right through it? I thought the only real physical impact ghosts had on the world around them was limited to coldness and, in some cases, ectoplasm. Sure, you hear about poltergeists who can open and shut doors and throw objects around, but they themselves don't seem to have any physical mass. How did the mean little boy capture Squiggle? Is he a wizard? A ghostbuster? A ghost himself?
Kochalka never answers this question at in the course of Johnny Boo and the Mean Little Boy (despite reasserting that Johnny and Squiggle are, indeed, ghosts in near the climax of the story). But it's a pretty good comic nonetheless.
If you'd like to read more of me talking about Johnny Boo and the Mean Little Boy, I have a review of it (and Kochalka's Dragon Puncher), up at Blog@Newsarama today. You can go read it, if you like.