Ellsmere Academy is a prestigious institution of learning in New England with a tradition of excellence, distinguished staff and alumni, and a 200-year history of educating girls to find their places in the highest echelons of both the academic and wider world. Juniper, a public school kid from the suburbs, is Ellsmere's newest scholarship student. With all the expectations her position puts her in, plus more than a few that she has for herself, Jun is in a tough enough place. But it's about to get tougher. In The War at Ellsmere, a new graphic novel by Faith Erin Hicks from SLG Publishing, Jun finds herself labeled a "special project," harried by stringent standards, and in the novel position of being someone's nemesis. Luckily for Jun, she has an ally in the quirky Cassie, who tells her the story of Ellsmere's eccentric founders and the legend of the creature that roams the woods of the school's grounds. But can Cassie help Jun survive Ellsmere? Between queen bees and mythical beasts, Jun has quite the year ahead of her.

Faith Erin Hicks, who took the comics scene by undead-storm with her 2007 graphic novel Zombies Calling, created The War at Ellsmere as an homage to fantasy authors she read growing up, like Diana Wynne Jones and Lloyd Alexander. "But it is also about the realities of achieving a dream," Hicks said. "Juniper has just gotten a scholarship that which will allow her easier access to good post-secondary education, something Jun desperately wants. But once she starts attending class, she discovers the school is not necessarily the academic haven she was hoping for. Instead she finds that her roommate is crazy and thinks there's a monster in the woods next to the school, the school's top student is out to destroy her, and Jun's natural smarts aren't getting her the grades she's used to. Now she'll have to work for them."

Hicks depicts Jun's journey from out-of-place public school kid to full-fledged Ellsmere Academy scholar in her signature art style, portraying the emotional highs and lows of academic rigors and school politics as well as the dark woods surrounding Ellsmere, the scene of a climactic confrontation, with a mixture of wit and intensity. "The War at Ellsmere allowed me to write and draw a story about strange friendships, slightly creepy boarding schools, even creepier forests which may hide something supernatural, and one ruthless villain who happens to be a thirteen-year-old-girl," Hicks said.

The War at Ellsmere, a 160-page black-and-white graphic novel, is available for pre-order from comic book stores now with the Diamond code OCT083789. It will be published by SLG Publishing in December 2008. For more information, visit www.slgcomic.com.

Tags: faith erin hicks, slg publishing, war at ellsmere, zombies calling

Baltimore Comic-Con Giving Fans Chance to Name Frank Cho-Created Mascot

More in Comics

Covering the hottest movie and TV topics that fans want. Covering the hottest movie and TV topics that fans want. A one-stop shop for all things video games.