Title: Shark Summer by Ira Marcks
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publication Date: May 25th 2021
Synopsis: When a Hollywood film crew arrives on Martha’s Vineyard with a mechanical shark and a youth film contest boasting a huge cash prize, disgraced pitcher Gayle “Blue Streak” Briar sees a chance to turn a bad season into the best summer ever.
After recruiting aspiring cinematographer Elijah Jones and moody director Maddie Grey, Gayle and her crew set out to uncover the truth of the island’s own phantom shark and win the prize money. But these unlikely friends are about to discover what happens when you turn your camera toward the bad things lurking below the surface.
Rating: 4 Stars
As many of my readers will know I don’t read comics and graphic novels that often but Shark Summer caught my eye with its beautiful cover and interesting premise. On thing I noticed straight away about this graphic novel was that the art style was super cute and really appealed to my tastes. The way the graphic novel is designed and the story itself really reminded me of later 2000’s kids movies that were slightly edgier, moving towards the teen genre like Monster House. We are introduced to Gayle who after breaking her arm gets to spend the summer at Martha’s Vineyard. Her mother is working extra hard in order to cover her medical expenses (America!) which means the dream of opening an ice cream store are put on hold for the time being. I really liked how the family dynamic was established early on and that some of the internal conflict came from things that ordinary people reading this novel can relate to like medical expenses.
While Gayle mopes around as kids do she makes some new friends in the form of Elijah and Maddie. Both Elijah and Maddie are outcasts like Gayle which means they instantly bond and end up working together on a youth film project in order to win the prize money. Any horror movie fans like myself will be able to tell that the movie in this graphic novel is clearly inspired by Jaws if it wasn’t obviously from the cover then it soon becomes very easy to see in the story. The rest of the graphic novel is just following Gayle, Elijah and Maddie on this wild adventure that to me reminded me a little of Scooby-Doo mixed with some major gothic vibes, strange history about cults and the sharks themselves.
Overall, I wasn’t expecting Shark Summer to be as dark as it turned out to be and I think depending on the reader this might be too dark for some younger readers. If you were fan of scary books like Goosebumps as a kid or enjoyed movies like Monster House then I would definitely recommend Shark Summer as it brought back all those creepy, nostalgic feelings for me and I really enjoyed it, however, I would recommend getting a physical copy rather than a digital one as the layout was strange to read on my kindle and I did have to go back once or twice as I felt that something was missing but it was probably a formatting issue.
About the Author:
Ira Marcks is a cartoonist living in Upstate New York with his wife, two cats, a dog, and lots of books he’s been meaning to read. His love for ancient magic and possible futures has led him to create a warehouse of esoteric objects for the Hugo Award-winning magazine Weird Tales and to tell stories about villainous technology for the European Research Council. Shark Summer is his debut graphic novel.
I received this review copy from TBR and Beyond Tours