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Hollow Monsters

April 19, 2018

Monty Nero’s graphic novel in six parts is off to a thought-provoking start.

I don’t do many reviews anymore. I’ve been out of that game because it’s mostly bullshit; hyped up releases that mostly disappoint, doled out by Editors who enjoy revelling in their own small fiefdom* paying in exposure over actual cold hard cash. That chasing of something real, or even enjoyable, can diminish once your context is that you get 20 free comics a week – to the point where you aren’t even sure what counts as ‘good’.

I say this, because Hollow Monsters is something challenging, attempting to create something new within the well worn “semi autobiographical graphic novel” space. Given its coming from Monty Nero, who has come on in leaps and bounds from his break-out debut Death Sentence, (i.e. he does stuff that agrees with my sensibilities more now) it’s not suprising it actually does something new.

The comic blends multiple different narrative strands and ideas together into one “deluxe edition”, that includes a 34 page comic, with an appendix describing the themes and concepts Nero has worked into the first part of this story. This appendix was much needed, as you can tell even without reading it that this is a complex comic. Nero has always been one to add depth to his comics via differing art styles and truly grasping how comics are able to be uniquely evocative of ideas. Setting scenes and blending reality with metaphor using a minor change of page layout and art style is an invisible way of driving the emotion, allowing the brain to fill in the gaps consciously left to mull over.

Despite his self confessed struggle to create this comic entirely on his own, Nero’s art is very impressive, switching through multiple time zones, settings and even metatextual worlds with ease. The forest scenes could be another comic entirely compared to the grey estates, with their impressionist style that radiates warmth and comfort.

It’s this attention to setting a scene through making you feel you are in the place that elevates it above a lot of stuff I’ve read of late. The setting isn’t just a background, to be tossed off. Some panels seem like something from a Terrance Malik film, meaning that whilst my brain was searching for meaning in it all, I could forget about left side thinking and sink into the comic actually feeling something.

After all that praise, it’s time to bring up the one drawback of Hollow Monsters; the format. The comic is described as a six part graphic novel and it certainty feels it on a script level. This first issue is setup and feels very incomplete; fair enough as that’s how its written. But some comics are destined to be read as one whole when the whole comic is out,and this is one of them, stopping just as things are about to get going. After being pulled in so deeply, it was uncomfortable being jostled out without resolution.

Its never a bad thing when your only complaint is that you want to read more of it.

Issue 1 has already been funded, with the second being funded via Kickstarter starting the 20th of April. So check it out if you want something that will stick with you for a while to come.

Give him your fecking money!

A digital copy of #1 was provided for review purposes.

*I say this knowing I was once one of them. In my defense, I was a paranoid arsehole. Now I’m just intermittently depressed. There’s hope for us all.

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From → Comics, Reviews

One Comment
  1. Reblogged this on Monty Nero.

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