Cover image for DeadEndia : the watcher's test
DeadEndia : the watcher's test
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
London ; New York : Nobrow, 2018.

Physical Description:
212 pages : chiefly color illustrations, map ; 23 cm
General Note:
Contains slightly altered versions of issues 1-8 of the webcomic DeadEndia.
"Barney needs a job and a place to live. Luckily, he finds both in Dead End, a theme park haunted house! Unfortunately, Dead End also serves as a portal to hell. Along with his best friend Norma and talking dog Pugsley, he must battle demonic party poopers, undead country singers and scariest of all: his love life"--Back cover.


Material Type
Call Number
Teen Paperback Fiction Steel
Teen Paperback Fiction Steel
Teen Paperback Fiction Steel

On Order



Barney and his best friend Norma are just trying to get by and keep their jobs, but working at the Dead End theme park also means battling demonic forces, time traveling wizards, and scariest of all--their love lives!

Follow the lives of this diverse group of employees of a haunted house, which may or may not also serve as a portal to hell, in this hilarious and moving graphic novel, complete with talking pugs, vengeful ghosts and LBGTQIA love!

Author Notes

Hamish Steele is a freelance animation director and illustrator who grew up in Somerset surrounded by legends, myths and folktales. Since graduating from Kingston University in 2013, Hamish has worked for the BBC, Cartoon Network, Disney, Nickelodeon, among others. Hamish currently lives in London.

Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-Steele's latest combines the first eight issues of his webcomic into a rollicking tale of the after-hours happenings in a theme park. Of all the attractions in Pollywood (a riff on Dollywood), Dead End is the least popular. So, in an attempt to spruce up the place, Norma (Dead End's 21-year-old tour guide) hires Barney as a janitor. But rather than draw in more human visitors, Dead End continues to entice the likes of demons, ghosts, and time-traveling wizards. When things get a little too strange, Norma, Barney, and Pugsley (Barney's pug) step in to take care of business. But can they also juggle their burgeoning love lives? More hilarious and heartfelt than chillingly macabre, the story is mostly linear, with a few jumps through time. Each chapter reads like a cartoon episode, with connected pieces that build upon one another but can also be savored individually. Between chapters, characters are further introduced via fun (and sometimes funny) get-to-know-you pages. The characters' queerness often intersects with other diverse identities: Norma is brown-skinned (possibly South Asian, based on textual clues), Badyah wears hijabs, and Barney is trans. Steele's gorgeous art relies on a rich, vibrant palette and exaggerated character design to create a memorable world that begs to be explored. VERDICT Hand this excellent work to readers eagerly awaiting the next installments of "Lumberjanes" and "The Backstagers."-Alec Chunn, Eugene Public Library, OR © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Based on the Cartoon Hangover short "Dead End," this quirky, heartwarming adventure by Steele (Pantheon) captures the awkwardness of early adulthood and the idiosyncrasies of power-hungry demons. Barney thought working with his friend Norma at a theme park's haunted house, Dead End, would be fun (or at least provide him with temporary housing), but Norma failed to tell him that it comes with its own portal to hell. Along with Barney's talking dog, Pugsley, and the other theme park employees, the duo must thwart the demons, angels, and deities emerging through the portal and keep the haunted house running. If Barney can survive long enough, he just may develop the courage to go on a successful date with Logs, the cute coworker who runs the log flume. A Steven Universe-like aesthetic and a full palette of bold, contrasting colors grace a diverse cast of characters (attendant pronouns specified), from trans haunted-house janitor Barney to hijabi carnival-attraction operator Badyah. Episodic first chapters weave together successfully as the story proceeds, creating a cathartic story arc for this series opener. Ages 12-up. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Norma and Barney work at Dead End, the least popular attraction at Pollywood, and while they don't lead many tours of park-goers through the haunted house by day, at night, the cobwebbed rooms host actual demons from Hell. When they exorcise a demon king out of Barney's dog, Pugsley, the pet retains some of the demon's power. At first, it's just the ability to talk, but later, Pugsley finds he can do much, much more. But can he keep it under control? Steele's episodic story at first seems a bit scatterbrained there's romance, horror, adventure, slapstick comedy, even time ­travel but all the components ultimately come together in a satisfying way. His rounded cartoon artwork, with thin black outlines and a sumptuous palette of bold colors (lots of moody purple and ectoplasmic green), and goggle-eyed characters with outsize expressions, might seem at first glance to just be a fluffy adventure, but Steele gives the story some meaningful weight too; Barney's learning how to navigate romance as a trans man, and Norma's dealing with some intense anxiety and crushing on her coworker, Badyah. Even Pugsley gets some hearty character development by the final pages, and his sweet story with Barney is a nice counterbalance to the frenetic, weird goings-on in the park. With a madcap pace, off-kilter jokes, and an LGBTQ cast, this is perfect for teens who love macabre humor and heartfelt friendship.--Sarah Hunter Copyright 2018 Booklist