Slash Them All

Writer / Artist
Slash Them All
Slash Them All graphic novel review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Fantagraphics Books - 978-1-68396-657-9
  • Release date: 2021
  • English language release date: 2022
  • Format: Black and white
  • UPC: 9781683966579
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no
  • CATEGORIES: European, Horror

Slash Them All is Antoine Maillard’s first graphic novel, which makes his winning the award for Best Crime Graphic Novel at the 2022 Angoulême Festival a barely believable achievement.

It’s Maillard’s homage to the American slasher movie franchises of the 1980s and 1990s, a formula he relentlessly applies to the story of kids attending an American high school where two of their number have been murdered. We see this happening over the introductory pages as the two girls approach a mystery man holding a baseball bat, but that assailant doesn’t seem to be the only threat in town. As ever in such films, there are kids who know better than to act on official warnings, and they decide playing video games in a beach hut at night is better use of their time than staying in with doors and windows shut.

Maillard populates Slash Them All with stock characters for whom it’s difficult to generate any great sympathy, and visually recreates coastal US suburbia with loving attention to detail. However it only raises the consideration of a homage being so meticulous it just becomes a copy instead. If something has little artistic merit in the first place, what’s the point of recreating it if any ironic overlay is absent?

Once everything’s over it’s only the greyscale art that remains memorable, Maillard masterfully creating the necessary dark and foreboding atmosphere. His people are distinctive and admirably plain, and the violence is shocking when needed, although is deliberately removed from the gratuitous nature of its inspiration by the lack of colour.

Clever, but ultimately hollow, are fans of slasher films really going to shell out up to $30 for this hardcover?