In September of last year, I reviewed a book called Kickstarter for the Independent Creator by Madeleine Holly-Rosing about her experiences crowdfunding her paranormal Steampunk comic, Boston Metaphysical Society. When the comic itself came up for review as well, I was eager to see what all the fuss was about.
Set in 1895, we follow paranormal investigator Samuel Hunter and his team, the Boston Metaphysical Society, as they find and stop ghosts and other supernatural threats around Boston. When Samuel’s partner, Andrew O’Sullivan, is killed on the job, his daughter Caitlin steps up to take his place—despite Samuel’s protests. Meanwhile, another organization, B.E.T.H., consisting of Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and Harry Houdini, attempts to track an extra-dimensional creature called “The Shifter” who thrives on violence and chaos and seems to cause it wherever it goes.
The overall story arc over these six issues involves both B.E.T.H. and the Boston Metaphysical Society trying to understand, locate, and ultimately destroy this Shifter. Each issue also features its own self-contained story, though, of Hunter and co. investigating a ghost of some sort. In one issue, they look into a haunted theater, and in another a wealthy woman hires them to get rid of the ghost in her home in time for the party she has planned that night. In general, I found these individual adventures more interesting than the overall arc.
From the very beginning, writer/creator Holly-Rosing throws us headfirst into this world. We see the characters in action before we really have a chance to meet them. This is a great way to cut down on needless exposition and makes for a more compelling story—though it does mean that the audience has to work a bit to catch up sometimes. Important backstory elements are eked out sparingly as the story progresses, and when they do become clear, they can throw the reader for a bit of a loop.
The artwork by Emily Hu is a great complement to Holly-Rosing’s story, giving us a colorful Steampunk world of ghosts, gizmos, and more.
Fans of Nikola Tesla may be a bit disappointed in the story, as he’s a thoroughly unlikable character from the first panel in which he’s introduced. Edison, meanwhile, though rightly portrayed as an arrogant invention stealer, still manages to be sympathetic, at least in part.
All in all, this is a fun and compelling comic. If you’re a fan of Steampunk, or the paranormal, you’ll definitely want to check out Boston Metaphysical Society. To learn more, check out their website or Like them on Facebook.
Note: Madeleine Holly-Rosing is a contributor to Fanboy Comics.