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Jordan Peele’s NOPE Heads for Home

Jordan Peele’s NOPE Heads for Home

Universal City, California, September 13, 2022 – Oscar®-winning filmmaker Jordan Peele (Get Out, Us) unleashes his latest spine-tingling thriller with NOPE, a mysterious sci-fi pop nightmare available to own for the first time as a Collector’s Edition on Digital September 20, 2022 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on October 25, 2022 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, this “spellbinder that keeps pushing boundaries” (Peter Travers, ABC News) will have you never looking at clouds the same way ever again. The exclusive Collector’s Edition comes filled with more than 90 minutes of never-before-seen bonus content, including a revealing documentary that dives deep into the film’s rich DNA and Peele’s extraordinary vision; an exploration into the conception, design and execution of entity “Jean Jacket”; deleted scenes, a gag reel and more taking audiences behind the scenes of the out-of-this-world adventure. 
Featuring an incredibly talented and dynamic ensemble cast, NOPE is written, directed and produced by Jordan Peele and showcases outstanding performances by Oscar® winner Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, Judas and the Black Messiah), Emmy® Award winner Keke Palmer (Hustlers, Scream Queens), Oscar® nominee Steven Yeun (Minari, The Walking Dead), Michael Wincott (Basquiat, What Just Happened) and breakout star Brandon Perea (The OA).
Jordan Peele reimagines the summer movie with NOPE, an expansive epic of uncanny science fiction. Following their father’s shocking death, Hollywood animal wrangler OJ (Kaluuya) and his sister Emerald (Palmer) begin observing unexplained phenomena on their vast Southern California ranch that leads them down an obsessive rabbit hole as they plot attempts to capture the mystery on camera. Along with a former child star turned family theme park ringmaster (Yeun) who neighbors the siblings, the pair’s efforts to chase the spectacle soon bring terrifying consequences and unimaginable horror. The result is a complex social thriller that unpacks the seeds of violence, risk and opportunism that are inseparable from the romanticized history of the American West … and from show business itself.
With the purchase of NOPE on digital or disc, fans are eligible to earn points towards digital movies via the Universal All-Access Rewards program. Members can redeem their points for digital movies, swag and more!  For registration and details please visit

  • SHADOWS: THE MAKING OF NOPE* – Unpack the meaning of NOPE with Jordan Peele. Secrets are revealed with this 56-minute immersion exploring the film’s unanswered questions, taking you on an intimate journey inside every aspect of production and offering a detailed look at Peele’s revolutionary filmmaking process.
  • DELETED SCENES – Watch five unreleased scenes from NOPE
  • GAG REEL – A highlight reel of bloopers and outtakes featuring main cast
  • CALL HIM JEAN JACKET – The object of the Haywood siblings’ fascination is an entity known only as “Jean Jacket.” Filmmakers provide insights into the conception, design, and execution of this mysterious organism.
  • MYSTERY MAN OF MUYBRIDGE – A deep dive into THE HORSE IN MOTION by Eadweard Muybridge, its relationship to the Haywoods, and how it relates to the larger themes in NOPE.
    *Not on DVD 
The Original Highlander Makes 4K Debut in December

The Original Highlander Makes 4K Debut in December

Genre:                                    Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Rating:                                   R

On 4K Ultra HD:                    December 13, 2022

Running Time:                       117 minutes

Cast:                Christopher Lambert, Roxanne Hart, Clancy Brown, and Sean Connery

Written by:                            Gregory Widen, Peter Bellwood, and Larry Ferguson

Directed by:                           Russell Mulcahy

Produced by:                         Peter S. Davis, William N. Panzer

Executive Producers:            E.C. Monell

Associate Producers:           Eva Monley, Harold Moskovitz, John H. Starke

Director of Photography:     Gerry Fisher

Production Designer:            Allan Cameron

Edited by:                              Peter Honess

Casting by:                            Diane Dimeo, Anne Henderson, Michael McLean

Costume Designer:               Jim Acheson


The original HIGHLANDER, in electrifying 4K! When Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) is slain in battle in the Scottish Highlands, his kinsfolk don’t mourn the tragedy of his death – they mourn the seeming witchcraft that’s brought him back to life. But MacLeod can’t die, and neither can Juan Ramírez (Sean Connery), who befriends Connor and shows him what it means to be immortal. Time dissolves, the centuries pass, and Connor and his fellow immortals are drawn to New York City, where one will be awarded the Prize while the rest lose their literal heads. This is the timeless tale that launched a film and TV franchise, beloved by millions of fans worldwide. There can only be one!


Year of Production: 1986

Title Copyright: Highlander © 1986 Highlander Productions Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Package Design and Summary: © 2022 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc.

Type: Catalog Re-Release

Closed-Captioned: n/a

Subtitles: Spanish Subtitles, English SDH

Blu-ray Format: 16×9 (1.85:1), 1080P 23.98 High Definition

4K Format: 16×9 (1.85:1), 2160P High Definition, Dolby Vision

Blu-ray Audio: English 5.1 (DTS-HD Master Audio), English 2.0 (DTS-HD Master Audio)

4K Audio: English 5.1 (DTS-HD Master Audio), English 2.0 (DTS-HD Master Audio)

4K + BD SRP: $22.99

Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook SRP: $27.99

4K Special Features:

– The Immortal Attraction of Highlander – Looking back at four decades of Highlander magic

– A Kind of Magic: Music of The Immortals – A featurette on the soundtrack

– There can only be one Kurgan – Clancy Brown remembers Highlander

– Capturing Immortality: Interview with photographer David James

– Audio Commentary with author Jon Melville

– Audio Commentary with Russell Mulcahy

– Audio Commentary with Russell Mulcahy, Peter S. Davis and William N. Panzer

BD Special Features:

– Audio Commentary with Russell Mulcahy

– Interview with Director Russell Mulcahy

– Interview with Christopher Lambert

– The Making of Highlander

– Deleted Scenes

– Archival Interview with Christopher Lambert – Trailer

Barbarian Comes for to Digital Oct. 25

Barbarian Comes for to Digital Oct. 25

BURBANK, CA (October 10, 2022) – 20th Century Studios and New Regency present Barbarian, the scariest movie of the year. From writer/director Zach Cregger, and noted horror producer Roy Lee (The Ring, The Grudge, and It) comes a film both critics and audiences are raving about. The “exquisitely crafted scary story” (Simon Abrams, The Wrap) is Certified-Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes™ and fans can enjoy exclusive behind-the-scenes bonus features when the film arrives on all major digital platforms October 25.
Film Synopsis
Arriving in Detroit for a job interview, a young woman books a rental home. But when she arrives late at night, she discovers that the house is double booked and a strange man is already staying there. Against her better judgement, she decides to spend the evening, but soon discovers that there’s a lot more to fear than just an unexpected house guest. From 20th Century Studios and New Regency, Barbarian stars Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård, and Justin Long. Written and directed by Zach Cregger.

Bonus Features*

  • Behind Barbarian – Director Zach Cregger and the cast and crew discuss both the unique and familiar horror elements that make Barbarian terrifying and reveal the inspiration behind the horrific tale.

Deleted Scenes

  • Bonnie
  • Doug Extended
  • Tess Calls Marcus
  • The Rat

*Bonus features vary by product and retailer

Georgina Campbell as Tess
Bill Skarsgard as Keith
Justin Long as AJ 
Matthew Patrick Davis as “The Mother”
Richard Brake as Frank
Jaymes Butler as Andre
Kurt Braunohler as Doug

Produced by
Arnon Milchan
Roy Lee
Raphael Margules
J.D. Lifshitz

Executive Producers
Yariv Milchan
Michael Schaefer
Natalie Lehmann
Danny Chan
Alex Lebovici
Bill Skarsgård

Music by
Anna Drubich

Written by
Zach Cregger

Directed by
Zach Cregger

Product Specifications
Street Date
Digital: October 25, 2022

Product SKUs
Digital: 4K UHD, HD, SD 

Feature Run Time
Approx. 102 minutes

U.S. Rated R
*Rated R for some strong violence and gore, disturbing material, language throughout and nudity.

Aspect Ratio
Digital: 1.85:1 (16×9)

U.S. Audio
Digital:  5.1 & 2.0 Stereo English, Spanish, & French

U.S. Subtitles
Digital: English SDH, Spanish, French (some platforms)

REVIEW: The Munsters

REVIEW: The Munsters

Starting in fall 1964, children across America could watch CBS’ The Munsters but come January 1966, they seemingly all flipped the dial to ABC and Batman. The superhero series’ smash ratings cast a death spell on the humorous take on the classic monsters, with the exaggerated look as perfected by Universal’s horror films of the 1930s. Fred Gwynne was a delight as Herman Munster, paired nicely with Yvonne DeCarlo and Al Lewis. The sitcom transferred traditional family drama tropes to the residents of 1313 Mockingbird Lane and for 70 episodes, it was tremendous fun, revived for wildly successful syndication.

Ever since, there have been revivals in feature films, animated series, and failed attempts at series revivals. Now, here comes director Rob Zombie with his take on the classic characters, largely retaining the look of the original series, but in garish color.

The film, now available both on Netflix and disc from Universal Home Entertainment, lacks the charm of the initial performers and atmospheric black and white look. Over the course of approximately 1:50, we get an origin story for Herman Munster (Jeff Daniel Phillips), created by Dr. Wolfgang (Richard Brake), and his idiot assistant Floop (Jorge Garcia). [They appear straight out of the Hammer remake with Brake looking like Peter Cushing.] At the same time, Lily (Sheri Moon Zombie) has been seeking her perfect mate, when she sees Herman on Good Morning Transylvania.

What we know and they don’t until later, is that much as Fritz stole the wrong brain in the 1931 classic, Floop fails to obtain the brain of the second smartest man in the world but has, instead, taken the brain of Shecky, as big a moron as he is. There’s still Grandpa (Dan Roebuck) but added is Lily’s brother Lester (Thomas Boykin), a werewolf.

As the romance heats up, the gypsy witch Zoya (Catherine Schell) conspires to force Lester to have Herman sign over the house to settle his gambling debts. Ho hum.

It’s padded, not terribly funny, and the actors just don’t feel right for their roles. Maybe at half the length, with some judicious editing, it could have been a serviceable pilot for a new series or a special. But it fails as a tribute, a revival, and as entertainment. Perhaps the best parts of the film are the cameos from Cassandra Peterson, as the realtor, and the original stars Butch Patrick (their son Eddie) and Pat Priest (their ‘plain’ cousin Marilyn), who provide voiceovers.

The film, on Blu-ray, looks just as garish as a superior 1080p transfer. It is visually strong and well matched to the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless audio track.

The only Special Feature is The Munsters: Return to Mockingbird Lane (1:01:52), a detailed behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film. This is only for the handful who may have been entertained by the misfire. Zombie provides an audio commentary that attempts to show what he had in mind but failed to execute.

NY Public Library to issue Spider-Man Library Card

NY Public Library to issue Spider-Man Library Card

October 4, 2022 — Spider-Senses will be tingling across New York City as The New York Public Library (NYPL) and Marvel Entertainment join forces to release a special, limited-edition Spider-Man library card on October 11 to inspire new and existing patrons to explore a multitude of free books, resources, and programs at the Library, including Marvel graphic novels. This dynamic collaboration—which debuts just in time for New York Comic Con—marks the 60th anniversary of Spider-Man’s first comic book appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15 and emphasizes the importance of reading, knowledge, and libraries to Peter Parker’s crime-fighting comic book adventures. Images of Spider-Man—alongside Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy, two other iconic web-slingers—will be featured on the card, as well as on upcoming banners outside the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building and the windows of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL), exciting patrons of all ages to tap into the unique power of reading, comics, and libraries to discover their inner super hero. Details about the card and related activities are available online:

The Spider-Man card follows in the footsteps of previous library cards issued for the beloved children’s book The Snowy Day and the Library’s “Knowledge Is Power” card; aiming to help New Yorkers discover their full potential by tapping into the power of everything NYPL has to offer—millions of books to help readers scale new heights, a web of information via free computers and internet access, and a super-team of library staff—all available at your friendly neighborhood library.

The release of the Spider-Man card also marks the one-year anniversary of the Library’s decision to eliminate fines as a way to remove barriers to accessing the Library for all New Yorkers. This historic move was even a plot point in Marvel Comics’ Amazing Spider-Man #900, released on July 27. In a special story written by Daniel Kibblesmith, drawn by David Lopez, and colored by Nathan Fairbairn, Peter Parker returns a large stack of overdue books to the Library after learning of the elimination of late fines. Readers can check out Amazing Spider-Man #900 in a special bonus release on Marvel Unlimited, Marvel’s premier digital comics subscription service.

The launch of the special-edition card also marks the start of the Library’s Open House week, which begins October 11. The card will be available to new and current patrons free on a first-come, first-serve basis at all NYPL branches, located throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Libraries will be hosting a variety of programs and events throughout the week, as well as featuring book displays and reading recommendations from a special reading list curated by NYPL staff.

“Reading is a superpower—one that provides everyone with the ability to learn, to be inspired, and understand the world more fully,” said New York Public Library President Anthony W. Marx. “At The New York Public Library we remain dedicated to providing books and resources that help New Yorkers reach new heights and working with Marvel on this exciting, limited-edition Spider-Man card reinforces the exceptional accomplishments people can achieve when they have access to information. It also states unequivocally that we think our patrons are ‘beyond amazing.’”

“Marvel’s history has always been rooted in telling stories on the page. And to many people, those stories taught them the joy and power of reading, whether it was their first comic book or graphic novel at a young age or the first time they shared their passion for Marvel comics with their friends and families,” said Marvel Vice President of Licensed Publishing Sven Larsen. “With so many of our most iconic moments and characters established in New York City, we’re thrilled to work with The New York Public Library to invite even more people to dive into Marvel and find their own favorites across Spider-Man’s legacy.”

REVIEW: Batman: The Long Halloween Deluxe Edition

REVIEW: Batman: The Long Halloween Deluxe Edition

Batman: The Long Halloween has been embraced as a superb Batman tale, a solid mystery story, and a superlative effort from Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. It has remained in print since its arrival in 1996-97. Warner Animation tackled this in 2021, releasing it in two parts, which I liked when I reviewed them here and here.

The parts have now been sewn together into a far more satisfying single volume, upgraded to 4k Ultra HD, which incrementally enhances the overall enjoyment.

The 13-part story is set early in Batman’s career, with Loeb plumbing the Gotham underworld as established by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli in Batman: Year One. Interfering in Carmine “The Roman” Falcone’s (Titus Welliver) gang operations is the arrival of the Holiday Killer. Tracking him with little effect over the course of a year are Batman (Jensen Ackles) and his grudging allies Captain James Gordon (Billy Burke) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Josh Duhamel).

The trail pits the newly minted Dark Knight against his familiar rogue’s gallery with the addition of Solomon Grundy. Along the way, we see Falcone deal with his adult children with varying degrees of success counterpointed by Dent’s strained marriage with his unhappy wife Gilda (Julie Nathanson), and Gordon’s fraying homelife.

The adaptation is one of the more successful ones from the studio and edited together, is stronger. The 2160p is marginally better than the Blu-ray, even with the HDR10 enhancement added. There appear to be numerous banding and compression issues here and in the combined Blu-ray version, also included.

The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio mix for both 4K and Blu-ray are perfectly fine, though unexceptional.

The 4K, Blu-ray, Digital HD code combo pack offers one new 4K featurette: The Long Halloween: Evolution of Evil (24:56) with Loeb, screenwriter Tim Sheridan, producers Jim Krieg and Butch Lukic, and others.

The Blupray repurposes older features including


The Long Halloween: Evolution of Evil (24:56)

From the Vault – Batman: The Animated Series: “Christmas With The Joker”, “It’s Never Too Late”, “Two-Face – Part One”, and “Two-Face – Part Two”.

Bottom line: if you don’t have this yet, buy this version for an all-in-one experience. If you have the two parts already, there is nothing to compel you to upgrade.

Hot Ghosts: Season One Haunts Homes in November

Hot Ghosts: Season One Haunts Homes in November

Everything you love about the silly and the supernatural comes together when Ghosts: Season One arrives on Blu-ray™ +Digital and DVD November 22 from Lionsgate. This CBS produced comedy is adapted and developed from a UK series by producers Joe Port and Joe Wiseman (TV’s “New Girl” and “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”) and featuring a brilliant ensemble cast of fresh faces and quick-witted writing, this hilarious series has a favorite ghost for everyone! The hit comedy that CBS calls “the number-one most-watched comedy this season,” Ghosts: Season One will be available for the suggested retail price of $34.99 for Blu-ray + Digital, and $29.98 for DVD.
Freelance writer Samantha (Rose McIver) and aspiring chef Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar) throw both caution and money to the wind to leave NYC and convert a rundown country estate they inherited into a bed & breakfast — only to find that it’s inhabited by a close-knit, eclectic group of spirits of deceased former residents! Adding to the supernatural surprises, Samantha discovers that she can see and hear ghosts everywhere, including those with whom she now shares a home. Old-school haunting and oddball humor fuel this sharp-witted, quirky comedy series that gives new meaning to the real estate phrase, “It’s got great bones.”
Rose McIver The Lovely Bones, Woke, iZombie
Utkarsh Ambudkar Brittany Runs a Marathon, Blindspotting, Free Guy
Richie Moriarty What We Do in the Shadows, Orange Is the New Black
Sheila Carrasco The Good Place, I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson
Brandon Scott Jones Can You Ever Forgive Me?, The Good Place, The Other Two
Danielle Pinnock Young Sheldon, This Is Us, Tell It Like a Woman
Rebecca Wisocky Devious Maids, The Mentalist, Hello, My Name Is Doris
Asher Grodman Law and Order, House of Cards, Succession
Román Zaragoza Stumptown, Austin and Ally, Those Who Can’t
Devan Chandler Long  NCIS, Bosch, Doom Patrol, The Rookie

Tarantino’s First: Reservoir Dogs gets 4K Steelbook

Tarantino’s First: Reservoir Dogs gets 4K Steelbook

Genre:                                     Drama, Crime

Rating:                                    R

On 4K Ultra HD:                      November 15, 2022

Running Time:                       100 minutes

Cast:                                        Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi, Harvey Keitel, Chris Penn, Edward Bunker, Kirk Baltz, Quentin Tarantino, and Lawrence Tierney

Written by:                             Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary

Directed by:                            Quentin Tarantino

Produced by:                          Lawrence Bender

Executive Producers:              Richard H. Gladstein, Monte Hellman, Ronna B. Wallace

Co-Producer:                          Harvey Keitel

Director of Photography:       Andrzej Sekula

Production Designer:             David Wasco

Edited by:                               Sally Menke

Casting by:                              Ronnie Yeskel

Costume Designer:                 Betsy Heimann


Frenzied, soaked in blood, and featuring gangsters both ruthless and engaging (who debate the deeper meanings of “Like a Virgin”), Reservoir Dogs — Quentin Tarantino’s debut film about a heist gone horribly wrong — attained iconic cult status upon its release in 1992, and launched the career of a director whose singular vision has influenced a generation of filmmakers. To celebrate the movie’s 30th anniversary, the cocked-and-loaded world of Mr. White (Harvey Keitel), Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi), Mr. Orange (Tim Roth), and their ’90s-cool cohorts makes its swaggering return in razor-sharp 4K.


Year of Production: 1991

Title Copyright: Reservoir Dogs © 1991 Dog Eat Dog Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Type: Catalog Re-Release

Closed-Captioned: N/A

Subtitles: English, Spanish; English SDH

Blu-ray Format: 16×9 (2.35:1), 1080P 23.98 High Definition

4K Format: 16×9 (2.35:1), 2160P High Definition

Blu-ray Audio: English 5.1 (Dolby TrueHD), Spanish 2.0 (Dolby Digital)

4K Audio: English 5.1 (Dolby TrueHD), Spanish 2.0 (Dolby Digital)

4K + BD SRP: $22.99

SteelBook SRP: $27.99

Blu-ray Special Features: 

  1. Deleted Scenes
  2. “Playing it Fast and Loose” Featurette
  3. “Profiling Res Dogs” Featurette
Westworld Season 4 Comes to Disc in November

Westworld Season 4 Comes to Disc in November

BURBANK, CA (September 28, 2022) – The Emmy® winning HBO original drama series continues to captivate fans and critics alike with every season of Westworld certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Now, the dark odyssey about the fate of sentient life on earth continues as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment gets set to release Westworld: Season 4 – The Choice on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-ray and DVD on November 29, 2022. Featuring all eight episodes plus an exclusive never-before-seen featurette. Westworld: Season 4 – The Choice is prices to own at $44.99 SRP for the 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, $34.99 SRP ($39.99 in Canada) for the Blu-ray and $29.99 SRP ($34.99 in Canada) for the DVD. Digital copies are included with the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray sets in the US only. Westworld: Season 4 – The Choice is also available to own on Digital via purchase from digital retailers.

The fourth season picks up over seven years after the protracted war between A.I. hosts and sentient humans – humanity is finally free. Or so it seems. Maeve and Caleb soon begin to suspect that Hale and a host version of The Man in Black are seeding a conspiracy to regain control of the human race. Meanwhile, Bernard returns from The Sublime with a new power. And a young writer, by the name of Christina, begins to question the nature of her reality. Westworld continues to thrill as it deftly weaves together stories about the complicated relationship between man and machine. 

Westworld: Season 4 – The Choice features returning cast members including Emmy® and Golden Globe Nominated actor Evan Rachel Wood, Emmy® winner Thandiwe Newton, Oscar® Winner Ed Harris, Emmy® Winner Jeffrey Wright, Tessa Thompson, Emmy® Winner Aaron Paul, Luke Hemsworth and Angela Sarafyan. Additional cast this season includes Oscar® Winner Ariana DeBose, Aurora Perrineau, and Daniel Wu.

Westworld was created for television by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy, who are executive producers with Alison Schapker, Denise Thé, J.J. Abrams, Athena Wickham, Richard J. Lewis, and Ben Stephenson. Production companies: Kilter Films and Bad Robot Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television; based on the film written by Michael Crichton.


  1. The Auguries
  2. Well Enough Alone
  3. Années Folles
  4. Generation Loss
  5. Zhuangzi
  6. Fidelity
  7. Metanoia
  8. Que Será, Será


  • Westworld on the Road (Exclusive to 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD)
  • Westworld: An Exploration of Humanity (Exclusive to Home Entertainment)
  • Westworld’s Temperance: A Set Tour
  • Creating Westworld’s Reality Episodes 1-8


Street Date: November 29, 2022

Order Due Date: October 25, 2022

4K UHD, BD and DVD Presented in 16×9 widescreen format

Running Time: Feature: Approx. 480 min.

Enhanced Content: Approx. 79 min.


Price: $29.99 SRP US / $34.99 SRP Canada

3 Discs (3 DVD-9s)

DVD Audio: English 5.1

Subtitles: English


Price: $34.99 SRP US / $39.99 SRP Canada (No Digital Copy)

3 Discs (2 BD-50s)

BD Audio: English 5.1

Subtitles: English


Price: $44.99 SRP US / $49.99 SRP Canada (No Digital Copy)

3 Discs

4K UHD Audio: English 5.1

Subtitles: English

The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag

The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag

Morgan Kwon knows exactly how her life is going to go. She’s going to get through highschool, being exactly the person she seems to be now, with exactly the same friends, and then she is going to get off Wilneff Island forever, go to some big city, and begin her real life as the person she really is. All she has to do is keep everything packed up in the right boxes until then, and everything will be fine.

Narrator: everything will not be fine

Morgan is at the center of Molly Knox Ostertag’s mid-grade graphic novel The Girl from the Sea , and I think every reader – even those on the young and thoughtless end of that age-band – will sense that Morgan protests too much, that she can’t keep all of the boxes separate. Her parents have already separated when the story starts, so that’s one box broken up…and that, of course, is the point: she’s trying to control the things she thinks she can control, because something so central to her life was just totally uncontrolled.

In the opening pages of Girl from the Sea, Morgan slips on some rocks and nearly drowns. She’s saved by what she thinks is a cute girl, Keltie. And, if we readers are paying attention, we notice one very big box that she’s trying to keep separate and closed: that she likes girls. She thinks that’s got to stay hidden until she gets away, that it can only be a piece of her eventual adult life.

But Keltie is not just a cute girl: she’s something more special, and already loves Morgan. She’s loud and pushy and wants things and can show Morgan different ways of viewing and living her life.

Some of that is a metaphor for coming out. But a lot of it is literal: Keltie is a selkie, transformed from seal to girl, and with a lot of the traditional folkloric issues. (Ostertag plays a bit with reader expectations for some of these, I think, especially Keltie’s skin, but she’s not retelling any specific story or doing the usual folkloric stuff here.)

So: this is a story about whether Morgan will let herself unbend, if she will let herself break through her own boxes and be the person she actually is right now. And what will happen along the way: do her friends and family react the way she fears they will?

Oh, and Keltie has something pretty important she needs to do, too – she’s not in human form for nothing. Oh, sure, she’s crazy about Morgan, too – that definitely is part of it – but she has a mission for her people as well, and that’s not optional.

I liked Girl from the Sea better than Ostertag’s Witch Boy  books – those were fine, but had a slight whiff of formula about them, a sense that they were Teaching Lessons and Being Good Models and all that. Girl from the Sea feels more personal and specific, tied to a specific place Ostertag knows well and centered in a deep but new relationship. I also like the way it implies conflicts that never happen – there are things that are huge in Morgan’s head but don’t really exist in the real world. It’s still very much a book for younger readers, so people even more cynical and world-weary than me might find it too too, but it’s the kind of book I love to see for young readers, the kind that tells them they can be exactly the people they really are and that they have good, loving places in the world that they just need to find or make.

That may not always be true, in the actual real world. But it’s an important story, and it needs to be said as often as possible.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.