Hide: The Graphic Novel is an adaptation of a prose novel that I have not read, so I cannot comment on the accuracy of the translation from one art form to another. However, I think Hide: The Graphic Novel stands well on its own. I only knew that this was a horror comic going in, and that was enough to interest me. The plot is an intriguing one: Fourteen strangers are competing for a $50,000 prize. The competition lasts for seven days. The fourteen youngish main characters are gathered together and taken to an old, broken down amusement park. They spend the night on cots under a shelter that provides only a roof above their heads. They are given provisions the next morning and are expected to hide throughout the day until a signal is given at night. The first two people found each day will be “out,” and the others will be given another chance the next day. The last person on the last day who goes undiscovered will win the prize.
Since this is a horror novel, things start going wrong pretty quickly. And the competitors get suspicious when they do not get a chance to say goodbye to those who lose each day. They just are sent home without a ceremony, which they expect, having watched a lot of reality-show competitions where there’s a ceremony at the end of the day to celebrate those who are staying and to say goodbye to those who are leaving. Eventually, blood is discovered and suspicions increase. As you can probably guess, those who are “out” have not simply been sent home. Something more sinister has occurred. What exactly is happening, however, is not a plot twist I will spoil here, though. I will say that it is an interesting backstory that is fully revealed in the course of the book: There is no lingering mystery. There is a sinister plot, and there are clearly bad people manipulating the situation for self-serving reasons.
The strengths of this book are the characters and the art. With fourteen characters, not all the characters can be developed fully in a graphic novel that is only a little over two-hundred pages long. But quite a few of them are given some depth so that we feel curious about them and get attached as alliances are formed. Mack seems to be the main character, and she is a loner with a mysterious past, a past that explains some of the strange behavior she exhibits in the comic. There are two characters who are polar opposites, but both are named Ava. One of the them joins up with Mack, and we find ourselves rooting for them throughout the course of the story.
The art is perfect for the book. It’s fairly realistic, but it glows with great colors. I am not sure who is responsible for the colors — Veronica Fish or her husband, Andy T. Fish. Both of them worked on the art, and I think the colors are what really make this comic attractive. The colors are vibrant. And the action sequences are as well done as the quieter moments in the novel. As the plot speeds up and everything starts getting intense, the action becomes more gripping: There is a two-page sequence with Mack running down an old broken rollercoaster track. As she runs down the track — falls down it, really — the top of the page is broken into four separate panels even though the image is only a single one of the rollercoaster track going downhill. But to show action, Mack’s figure can be seen in each panel as a stumbling character half-running, half-falling down the track. On the bottom half of the page, there are four more panels, these showing different stages of the action, but the background in each panel is a different solid color, alternating a bright blue with an orange background. It is a very effective sequence. This creativity with panel layout and colors is in evidence throughout the novel. It is truly a visually stunning comic book.
I read this graphic novel in one sitting: I could not put it down. It is a gripping narrative. I wanted to find out what happened next so badly, I read it faster than I should have and had to go back again through it to fully appreciate the art. And though the mystery was gone on a second read, the book was fun a second time through because I could pay better attention to the visuals. So, having read this book twice, I can say that Hide: The Graphic Novel may not be the perfect horror comic — like Harrow County and Gideon Falls — but it is really good for a short narrative (compared to the two much longer series I just mentioned), and I highly recommend it for fans of horror.