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Sleepy Hollow #1 (of 4)

Written by Marguerite Bennett (@EvilMarguerite)

Illustrated by Jorge Coelho (@JCoelhoPT)

Colors by Tamra Bonvillain (@TBonvillain)

Letters by Jim Campbell (@CampbellLetters)

Review by Joey Braccino

Food is important

‘Twas a dreary Tuesday when I came home to the latest episode of Sleepy Hollow on my DVR as well as an advance copy of Sleepy Hollow #1 from BOOM! Studios. And suddenly, life was wonderful—as wonderful as, say, a box full of donut holes and the miraculous existence of ice cream cake.

I love Fox’s Sleepy Hollow. I love its hokey sincerity in adhering to its utterly absurd premise—Ichabod Crane, a British-Professor-Turned-American-Spy from the Revolutionary War, is resurrected in present day Sleepy Hollow to battle the forces of Moloch and the Horsemen of the Apocalypse alongside Lt. Abbie Mills—and its revisionist history of demons and spirits in the early days of our country. Add to all of that pulpy wonkiness the inherent fish-out-of-water story of Crane’s man-out-of-time status and you’ve got all the makings of a silly, scary, supercool show.

The other thing I love about Sleepy Hollow is its diverse cast. Three out of the four primary protagonists are African-American; two of the four are female. And I suppose Tom Mison, who plays Ichabod Crane, is English, which is a mark of diversity as well (?). And John Cho plays a reluctant villain seeking redemption. Anyway, I love the representation on the show, which is just icing on the cake of terrifying demons, witty writing, and an absolutely ridiculous premise.

[And yes, I’ve mentioned cake twice so far. #subliminalmessaging]

Fortunately, Marguerite Bennett and Jorge Coelho’s comic book adaptation for BOOM! captures all of the show’s positive qualities while establishing its own visual identity and pace in this first issue.

Sleepy Hollow #1 follows Crane and Abbie as they investigate a strange truck accident and its connection to an ancient witch convent. Sprinkle in some hilarious banter and that classic Sleepy Hollow diversity (Asian-American lesbians with tattoos and a kid! Represent!) and you’ve got the makings of a Monday night on Fox. But given the comics medium, Sleepy Hollow #1 is a much more compressed version of the episodic format. The dialogue is tighter and the pace is quicker; Bennett has an excellent handle of both Crane and Abbie’s voice, matching the cadence and vocabulary of Mison’s Crane and Nicole Beharie’s Abbie perfectly. The script is funny and strange and quick, making for an entertaining read throughout.

Where Sleepy Hollow #1 really shines, however, is in its visual storytelling. Artist Jorge Coelho (Venom) brings a moody, quirky, pulpy aesthetic to the book that both captures the horror elements of the story as well as pushes the action and spectacle to places that the TV show can’t necessarily do on its budget. I mean, could the show flip a tractor trailer a la The Dark Knight? Perhaps, but there’s no question in a comic. And because of Coelho’s dynamic artwork and willingness to push the boundaries of the medium, Sleepy Hollow feels like it exists for a reason. Tamra Bonvillain (what a name, huh?) incorporates extensive yellows and greens and an almost neon verve to the color palette, eschewing the horror genre’s typical dark shadows and moody inks. Overall, Sleepy Hollow is an exciting, engaging visual experience from cover-to-cover.

Verdict

Buy. Sleepy Hollow #1 is sure to be a hit for fans of the TV series and new readers alike. Bennett and Coelho capture the show’s humor, hokeyness, and horror underpinnings perfectly, but they also take advantage of the comics medium in the story’s scope and pace. The heart of the show is also the heart of the comic book—Crane and Abbie’s interactions are both sincere and funny, making for an engaging pair of protagonists in an otherwise absurd situation. I love it.

BONUS – There is a wonderfully hilarious short called “Movie Night” by tumblr-darling and all-around awesome creative-person, Noelle Stevenson. Check it!

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