Advance Review: ‘Hollow’ Gives Headless Horseman A Cute, Queer YA Rebranding
by Ariel Dyer
A new take on Washington Irving’s ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,’ ‘Hollow’ delivers a strong queer romance and coming-of-age story in a delightfully humorous Halloween costume.
Whether you’ve seen the old Disney cartoon classic, the campy Tim Burton live action, or read the Washington Irving classic short story, you likely are familiar with the iconic American folk legend of the Headless Horseman who haunts Sleepy Hollow. Scary ghost chases nerdy school teacher out of town so our fearless jock can get the girl, right? Tale as old as time.
Hollow takes what we know about the story, plays off it and adds its own unique spin touching on queer romance, high school pranks, and the pressures of family legacy and growing up- all while wrapping readers in a cozy, New England blanket for Halloween season.
Veteran comics author Shannon Watters (most well known for her work on Lumberjanes) joins with first-time graphic novelist Branden Boyer-White to invigorate well-trod story territory with humor and updated themes for a modern generation.
High schooler Isabel (“Izzy” for short) Crane has just relocated to the quiet Sleepy Hollow from bustling San Francisco, and she’s not too happy about adjusting to a small town hellbent on bringing its haunted legacy to the forefront at every turn. That is, until she runs into reluctant town celebrity Vicky Van Tassel, direct descendant of famed Katrina Van Tassel.
Izzy might not believe in ghosts, but she sure believes in getting to know her new crush! Vicky tries her best to avoid the newcomer (she’s already too associated with the Headless Horseman as is, and she doesn’t need to be hanging around someone with the last name Crane to make matters worse), but when Izzy saves her from a suspicious accident, the pair become inextricably entangled in a story that spans generations. Izzy will need to reach out to those around her instead of isolating herself like she’s used to, and Vicky must discover who she is both within the confines of her family line and without.
Maybe ghosts aren’t just made up to scare the tourists after all.
Berenice Nelle beautifully illustrates the work, infusing humor into every character and panel. Her character design of Vicky Van Tassel in particular enriches the character- since she is constantly trying to reinvent herself and remove herself from her identity as a Van Tassel in the infamous legend, every time we see Vicky she is rocking a completely different look and hairstyle. Such a story choice no doubt informs the character but is a true feat to pull off from an artistic standpoint as well, and Nelle does so effortlessly. Colors by Kaitlyn Musto, Kieran Quigley, and Gonçalo Lopes bring warmth and a cheerfully spooky sensibility to the line work.
If you’re looking for a fun and fresh young adult Halloween romp, Hollow has got you covered like a Headless Horseman chasing Ichabod Crane down a dark, country road.
Hollow will be available for purchase on September 28th from BOOM! Box. Written by Shannon Watters and Branden Boyer-White, illustrated by Berenice Nelle, colored by Kaitlin Musto, Kieran Quigley, and Gonçalo Lopes, and lettered by Jim Campbell.