I don’t recall what spurred me to pick this up(as I usually only go for graphic novels about superheroes I’m already wildly familiar with), but I’m so glad I did.
What a tremendous story – funny yet also heart-wrenching at times. The dialogue is perfect for the setting, and it’s hard to not get a strong feeling about Boyd (the main character).
Even more so than the dialogue, though, is the artwork. There are panels of complete silence where the story is being advanced and the characters get understood more so than any narration or dialogue could provide. You can see the influence of Calving & Hobbes, but also perhaps Jonah Hex.
I can’t recommend this graphic novel enough. I’ve gone through it a handful of times in the past week and each time I catch something new. I suggested it to my wife (who has no interest in comics or anything of the like) and she not only couldn’t put it down, she started doing research online about the artist and when Vol 2 is coming out (they’re working on it).
I already read the free comic book day selection and the stuff on the website, and I was actually planning on ordering this on Friday. While it's only been part of the story, I agree with absolutely everything you wrote about it. It's superbly written, and it goes way beyond the comedy gimmick. I'm glad to know that the rest of the story is as good as what I've already seen.
Typicialy, I only read books intended for 13-year-olds. If you are looking to get that special little gal on your list some books and are sick of all the Twilight-esque crud, I recommend Francesca Lia Block. Her Weetzie Bat books (The W at Amazon)