‘Lola – A Ghost Story’ is a graphic novel by J Torres and ELbert Or, that’s steeped in Filipino folklore and beliefs. ‘Lola’ is the Tagalog word for grandmother readers are explained. The story is about a young boy called Jesse, who lives in Canada with his parents and they are all visiting their village in the Phillipines to attend his Lola’s funeral.
What I loved about this book is the theme of alienation in what is considered ‘one’s own land’. It’s not something other writers haven’t explored in the past, but combined with supernatural elements, “Lola” makes for an interesting read.
Jesse is an introvert who feels out of place in his ancestral village. It doesn’t help that his cousins constantly talk about ghosts, ghouls and local legends all the time. His grandmother was considered a “special” woman by everybody, considered born with a monster’s part inside her. And Jesse’s family believes he could have inherited some of her special powers too.
The artwork is simple, and colours monochromatic. The title can be misleading for horror fans, because despite horrifying local lores, the plot isn’t scary at all. So adult readers can be quite disappointed, although it’s a great pick for kids.
It’s 3.5/5 for me.