Wilde Life Comic Wikia
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Like You've Seen a Ghost

Chapter Title Page

Synopsis[]

Writer Oscar Wilde (no, not that one), a Chicago native, drives into Podunk, OK to rent a haunted house he found off craigslist from the witch Barbara Yaga. He quickly meets and befriends his home's ghost, Sylvia Synder and avoids talking to his concerned sister River.

Detailed Summary[]

Before the chapter title page, the comic protagonist, Oscar Wilde, is shown driving into the state of Oklahoma with (past tense) narration overlayed[1][2]. The chapter title page features Oscar with a moving box[3]. In story, Oscar exits the highway for the fictional town of Podunk, OK, stopping at a gas station with a convenience store. Oscar introduces himself to the store clerk and another customer, giving his name (Oscar Wilde), hometown (Chicago, IL), and inquiring about Podunk[4][5][6]. Deuteragonist Clifford Norman and Cliff's brother Kevin appear briefly in the background as Oscar returns to his car. Oscar overhears a wholesome small town conversation before heading to the home of Barbara Yaga, to receive the keys to a rental house[7].

At Barbara's, Oscar meets her two dogs, learns Barbara has trouble keeping tenets in the rental home, despite the low rent. Barbara recommends Oscar (who she repeatedly calls Rodger) purchase a bat before shooing him off. Out of Oscar's sight, she lights a cigarette with magic, blows a fantastical smoke pattern, and wishes him good luck, as her two dogs turn into teen boys[8][9][10][11][12].

Oscar pulls up to his rental, a two-story white home with a small footprint, a red door, and a covered front porch.[13]. He inspects the home and wonders why the previous tenets left "everything." He briefly glimpses the feet the the house-ghost Sylvia during his inspection, but assumes he's imagining things[14][15][16][17][18].

Oscar reads a series of increasingly concerned texts from his sister River. He texts back that he's in Oklahoma and ignores her subsequent call, thinking she'll be overbearing and dismissive. Oscar naps on his couch and his glasses mysteriously move from his face to entryway table, concerning him.[19][20]

Oscar returns to his "creepy" home that night, having picked up groceries and goes to bed. he's woken up by a bright light from another bedroom in the house and follows it, finding Sylvia peering out a window. They notice one another, surprising Sylvia and frighting Oscar, who runs out of his house and to his car. Gathering his wits, Oscar assumes he imagining things and returns to the house to confirm there is no ghost. Instead, Sylvia introduces herself (shocking Oscar again) and apologies for scaring him[21][22][23][24][25][26][27].

Sylvia and Oscar get acquainted and quickly become convivial. Sylvia reveals some backstory and talks about previous residents of the home: Sylvia died in 1948 and returned as a ghost to reside with her mother in her mother's home. Later a small family, who Sylvia enjoyed, moved into the house. After their departure a string of renters tried living in the house, but Sylvia frightened all of them away. She tells Oscar the limits of her powers: she can interact with inanimate objects in a limited capacity, but passes through living things entirely[28][29][30][31]. Oscar introduces himself and his profession (a writer) before asking Sylvia's permission to stay in her home[32].

The next morning, Sylvia and Oscar make conversation while Oscar cooks breakfast and Sylvia remissness about the little family that previously lived in the home[33]. Sylvia reveals she was a computer girl in the army before coming back to Oklahoma to care for her sick mother. "Funnily" Sylvia predeceased her[34]. Sylvia tells Oscar about her interests in cards, reading, and the poloroid photography. She becomes upset about the world going on without her being able to interact with it[35][36]. Sympathetic, Oscar goes out to purchase a CD player for playing audio-books (as Sylvia cannot reliably interact with physical books) and the radio[37][38][39], a pack of cards, and an old poloroid camera (with film)[40]. Sylvia is thankful[41].

The chapter closes -- possibly a few days later -- showing Oscar and Sylvia comfortably living together. Past-tense narration overlays the scene as Sylvia listens to an audio-book of Slaughterhouse-Five, hearing line from the novel: "How nice -- to feel nothing and still get full credit for being alive."[42]

Post Chapter[]

A pencil sketch of Barbara Yaga's dogs (in human form) follows the chapter.[43] as well as a full color title page for the comic[44] featuring the White Faced Bear and witch Eliza in the background; Cliff in wolf-form in the mid ground; and Oscar in focus, looking off to the side. Thunder Children and Eliza's blue roses are also included.

Continuity[]

  • Oscar wears a red jacket, Chicago Cubs shirt, and red converse ensemble on the first and last day of the chapter. In the middle of the chapter he's wearing a white v-neck instead.
  • Oscar favors his left hand for catching objects [10] and waving[11].

Meta[]

Humor[]

  • "Podunk" is a slang term for a small town considered dull.
  • The store clerk tells Oscar Podunk is "a real ghost town" shortly before Oscar meets a ghost[5].
  • Nearly everything Barbara Yaga says or does:
    • Barbara cannot tell the difference between her dogs, Cletus and Remus "when they're like this"[9] which Oscar takes to mean excited and overactive. In fact, Barbara may be stating she finds them easier to distinguish in their human form, rather than their dog form.
    • Barbara is renting Oscar the house dirt cheap as she "just wants someone in it to keep [the house] from going to hell."[9] In common usage, she wants a renter to keep watch over the house an deter vandals and squatters. More literally, this is a veiled comment on the home's resident ghost.
    • Barbara calls herself "a real witch,"[10] a play on the practice of using witch in place of a common pejorative slang term for an assertive woman. However, the term witch should be taken literally in Barabara's case.
    • Barbara Yaga is herself a reference to Baba Yaga of Slavic folklore, by her name itself and the presence of chickens on her property and a chicken carving on her mailbox[12].


Comic Narration[]

Some chapters, including Chapter One, begin with reflections narrated in the past tense. This chapter begins -

There's this funny thing I've noticed about people -- You never really get the story you expect. Ask them about what they have and they'll tell you about what they want. Ask them to tell you about love and they'll tell you about heartbreak. Ask them about death, though, and they'll tell you about life. It's like this wherever you go.


Chapter One is the only chapter where narration appears at chapter end. This text clarifies that the narrator is Oscar Wilde, reminiscing on the comic's events. The chapter closes -

When I was twenty-five I ran from my demons and moved in with a ghost. And maybe the strangest thing about it... was that it didn't seem strange at all.


References[]

  1. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/1
  2. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/2-3
  3. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/4
  4. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/4
  5. 5.0 5.1 https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/5
  6. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/6
  7. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/7
  8. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/8
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/9
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/10
  11. 11.0 11.1 https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/11
  12. 12.0 12.1 https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/12
  13. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/13
  14. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/14
  15. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/15
  16. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/16
  17. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/17
  18. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/18
  19. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/19
  20. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/20
  21. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/21
  22. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/22
  23. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/23
  24. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/24
  25. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/25
  26. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/26
  27. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/27
  28. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/28
  29. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/29
  30. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/30
  31. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/31
  32. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/32
  33. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/33
  34. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/34
  35. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/35
  36. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/36
  37. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/37
  38. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/38
  39. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/39
  40. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/40
  41. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/41
  42. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/42
  43. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/43
  44. https://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/hi-you-made-it
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