Hollow Graphic novel review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Boom! Box - 978-1-68415-852-2
  • Release date: 2022
  • UPC: 9781684158522
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes

Washington Irving’s name lives on by virtue of his spooky Halloween short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, in which a New England town is terrified of a ghostly headless horseman. In Hollow Shannon Watters and Branden Boyer-White revisit the town in the 21st century, viewing it through the eyes of high school student Izzy Crane, newly moved across the country from San Francisco.

A couple of smart opening pages will fool readers, and show how Sleepy Hollow makes the most of its reputation, continuing traditions through the centuries, while the Van Tassel family still have wealth and influence. Teenage Vicky is falling behind on maths, so Izzy is hired to bring her up to speed, while there seems to be no hope for compulsive prankster Croc. But hang on, there’s that pesky headless horseman again.

Some of the ideas Watters and Boyer-White have for what might have changed and what might have stayed the same in Sleepy Hollow are smart, and Izzy’s upbeat character goes a long way. So does the lively cartooning of Berenice Nelle, who draws an attractive cast, tells the story well and resists the temptation to overplay the comedy.

For all the clever little ideas, though, the big background is fudged, and the greatest strength is the presentation of an ethnically diverse cast and the gradual same sex relationship. However, the positive message is somewhat diminished by having everyone super attractive. Hollow reads as if it’s an extended Scooby Doo episode, but with padding rather than making better use of the page count. The three main characters remain constant while others drift in and out, but there’s never any great sense of threat as the easily identified bad guy goes about their business.

With so many good young adult graphic novels around Hollow is just average.