Although Sleepy Hollow has officially been renewed for season three, it’s still a long time until the show returns in the fall. If you’re like me, you’re spending a lot of time these days re-watching seasons one and two and posting assorted Sleepy Hollow memes on Facebook (and no, I do not regret sharing that picture of Ichabod drinking a pint with the caption “Better Than Yoga” today). Fear not. BOOM! Studios, who befriended Sleepyheads with their four part mini-series last fall, comes to our rescue with an origins comic. This is particularly welcome since BOOM! has worked closely with Fox on this (so far) one shot. That’s right, folks, this issue is canon. It goes without saying that I was chomping at the bit to get my hands on this. So, how did it hold up in this Sleepyhead’s opinion?
I have to admit, this comic was kind of a mixed bag for me. It features five origin stories, those of Abbie and Jenny Mills, Ichabod Crane, Henry Parrish (aka Jeremy Crane), and the Headless Horseman (aka Abraham Van Brunt). This alone left me wondering where were Katrina Crane and Frank Irving? I get that there was limited space in this issue, but why include Henry, whose part in Sleepy Hollow has ostensibly come to an end with this season, and leave out Frank Irving? I feel like Orlando Jones would have something fabulously snarky to say about this. And if Henry’s in, shouldn’t Katrina be in?
That being said, out of the five characters actually featured in this issue, I was particularly looking forward to reading the origin stories of Henry and Headless, since we’ve only gotten glimpses of these two before. For me, these were the most successful stories. We see Headless coming to grips with no longer being Abraham Van Brunt, but a new creation—the Horseman of Death. He has memories of his old life, and painful ones at that, but there is a nice focus in this piece on his transformation into “The Hessian” that Moloch made him. Henry’s story is more of a retread of what we’ve seen in the show, which we’ve gotten in bits and pieces. By linking it all together, Mike Johnson gives a definite sense of why Henry would embrace Moloch as his father—Henry’s backstory is tragic.
As for the other characters, Jenny’s story of her early days at Tarrytown Psych is well-handled, showing the beginnings of her transformation from honest child into the taciturn and mistrusting woman she becomes. Abbie’s and Ichabod’s tales were the least successful for me; Abbie’s story isn’t much more than what we’ve been given in the show, and Ichabod’s features a transformation at the end that I still don’t understand after reading it three times—he is slain by the Horseman and rises up as a beardless kid?
Matias Bergara’s artwork is definitely stylized, which I appreciate, but in a comic based on a TV show I had expected the characters to look a little more like the actors portraying them. Instead he relies heavily on distinguishing features (Ichabod’s beard and queue, Jenny’s curls) to convey who is who. At some points, Abbie and Jenny are nearly interchangeable. Tamra Bonvillain’s colors do a good job at setting the gothic vibe for the stories, with brighter palettes for the flashback scenes to help differentiate them. As a minor point, I wish Katrina’s hair would have been red in the fleeting glimpses we got of her, but I’m a ginger and have to speak up for my ginger brethren and sistren.
I will never not enjoy something that adds to the Sleepy Hollow ‘verse, and you can quote me on that. Sleepy Hollow Origins is still a valuable addition to canon, and although I didn’t enjoy it as much as I enjoyed BOOM!’s Sleepy miniseries last fall, it’s still a good read. I just wish it had been a little more in its scope—it’s a long time until season three starts, after all. 3.5 out of 5 Lightning Bolts.
SLEEPY HOLLOW ORIGINS #1
Writer: Mike Johnson
Artist: Matias Bergara
Letters: Jim Campbell
Colors: Tamra Bonvillain
Covers: Joe Quinones, Michelle Ankley
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Release Date: April 8, 2015