The Hollows #1
Written by Chris Ryall
Art by Sam Kieth
Letters by Robbie Robbins
Review by Joey Braccino
IDW’s new series, The Hollows, combines all that’s hip and now about post-apocalyptic dystopic fiction with all that’s visually gorgeous and innovative in expressionistic cartooning. The debut issue from writer Chris Ryall and Sam Kieth demonstrate all the fantastical world-building possibilities that creator-owned comics can achieve.
The Hollows is set in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo in which giant trees span upwards out of the devastated city. The towering trees house a new, privileged society (think the Avatar) while the impoverished, irradiated underclasses are left below to suffer attacks from zombified semi-humans called “Hollows” that literally suck the life out of people. The main character, Craig, is a scientist of sorts with a rough home life. He decides to fly down to the city to gather resources for his family. His wing-machine malfunction and he plummets down into the grips of the Hollows. Craig is rescued by a young girl named Lani and some other people from the devastated city. What follows is a beautiful sequence in which Craig—the up-in-the-sky, ivory-tower-tree-living scientist—meets his saviors (and Lani’s pink creature-pet, Urp). Underneath the pastel colors and expressionistic pencil work is an insidiously relevant commentary on privilege and inequity.
Sam Kieth’s artwork is absolutely gorgeous. While Chris Ryall’s script does a great job of setting up conflicts and characterization, it’s Kieth’s expansive and innovative designs that truly build this ruinous world. It’s painfully emotive and beautiful. Think Shaun Tan’s Arrival, except in a new monthly dystopian comic.
Check it out. It’s new, it’s hip, and it’s totally gorgeous. There has been an influx of fascinating creator-owned books out of indie publishers like IDW and Image, and The Hollows holds enough world-building and visual promise to keep up with the pack!