Vault Comics 2021
Written & Lettered by Paul Allor
Illustrated by Paul Tucker
EL used to be human. Now he’s a jumble of organs in a bio-suit. El is also in tremendous pain and has been for a very long time. Hope arrives in the form of Mateo, a mechanic brought in to work on EL’s suit. Mateo sees EL in a way no one else ever has. And what’s more: Mateo offers EL an escape. Hollow Heart reunites Tet creators Paul Allor and Paul Tucker for a queer monster love story about the choices we make between giving our loved ones what they want and giving them what we think they need.
A couple of factors went into ensuring that I was going to pick this up, it is being put out of by Vault and Paul is writing it. I met Paul a number of years ago at a convention and I’ve been a fan of his ever since so it’s only natural that I read what he’s working on. Paul is a great example of hustle and persistence as he gained notice over the years and he now finds himself with this book here which is among some of his work yet. The premise here is fantastic and I like that we enter this one already in progress so that there are so many questions left to be answered as well as finding it incredibly easy for the reader to become engaged.
I like the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented extremely well. I mentioned that we were dropped into this already in progress and that’s a huge draw for me and the opening here sets up an intriguing dynamic between El and Donnie which will be more important later in the story. Also I love how nonchalantly Mateo and Donnie mention their history here. The character development is phenomenal! I love that nothing really needs explaining and that these feel like already formed people whom we just happen to be getting to know. The pacing is superb and as it takes us through the pages introducing us to the characters and the world they inhabit we’re treated a very interesting setup.
The interiors here are a little rough to me but in all reality I’m actually okay with that. There is something about El that reminds of the Spooky Space Kook, and if you don’t know who that is then shame on you, and I love that aspect of this. I’d like to see more variation in the linework and avoid the moments where it seems the ink clumps, most noticeably around Mateo’s eyes. I’d like to see backgrounds be utilised a lot more, particularly in the bar scenes. Still the utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a very talented eye for storytelling. I’m looking forward to watching him grow as an artist though because the foundation I’m seeing here is rock solid. The colour work is well rendered also. How we see the various hues and tones within the colours are being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work are beautifully done. I really am impressed with the colours and how the techniques are utilised to laid them down and bring out the whole mood, tone and feel of what we see.
For the longest time folks have been wanting inclusion and for me this is the first time that we see it done right. No explaining, no setting the stage or whatnot just it happens with no fuss and no fanfare the way it should be. Bring in the nature of the story and the diversity of the cast it really is nice to see this is as another normal offering on stands. Leave it to Vault Comics to lead the way, they’ve revolutionised the science fiction genre and now this. This is why I love comics and why I support Vault in every way I possibly can.