I first met Monty Nero at Dundee Comic Day back in 2011 and having kept a close eye on his work since then, it was time to catch-up on his newest title as he attempts to push boundaries in the indie comic/graphic novel world.
Cue the arrival of Hollow Monsters #1 following a VERY successful Kickstarter where Monty’s semi-autobiographical 6-parter sets the scene for a multi-layered horror tale that creeps into suburban life. It initially centres around Jay and his friends as they try to make sense of a world crammed with the 80’s buzz of video games, school frustrations and the real & unreal nightmares that can haunt your imagination.
Monty weaves in some intricate ties to the pop culture & events of the time and with its mix of fuzzy flashbacks of half-remembered events and the stark reality of the horrors that linger from the past……it all ends up becoming a comic book experience that’s much more tangible than you’d expect. The details & layers he’s created around the events in Jay’s life both past & present are enough to sweep you up in an energetic whirlwind that’s captivating from the beginning with just enough of a mix of the mundane and the mysterious to give it a gripping edge. In many ways it has a similar vibe to it as Death Sentence did from its first issue, with attention to detail playing a key part in the storytelling style Monty has.
Hollow Monsters does feel like another glorious title to get lost in and it’s another example of a solo project being able to truly grab the reader with every element. The writing is slick & well-paced as the past & present are stitched together in such a positive and normal way and yet that’s while the story itself is anything but normal. That’s all backed up with art work that hits you with every significant moment in the best possible way….the panel layouts matter, the colours matter and in fact, everything matters from beginning to end with this release. Nostalgic, funny, frightening & fantastic in equal measure, it shows off that Monty has accepted his challenge of pushing those boundaries and has smashed through them like his Kickstarter targets…..AMAZING work.