By Dustin Cabeal
Stitched is a kid friendly monster themed graphic novel that’s aimed more at young girls than young boys. That said, I’m a thirty-year-old man that reads all types of comics and no genre, or demographic will keep me away. That and I think young boys would actually enjoy this as well, but that’s not why we’re here.
The first volume of Stitched sets up a mystery for the overall series, the mystery being where did Crimson come from and why is she stitched together with parts of other people? Not that it explicitly says “stitched together from other people” because that would not make it kid friendly, but that is what is implied when Crimson wakes up in a tomb and freaks out. From there she runs around trying to figure out who exactly she is and where she is. The answer we’re giving to the location is Assumption Cemetery which is the home to a lot of individuals both teen and otherwise.
Crimson takes a tour of the Rose House, which is filled with ghosts. She runs into a friendly ghost but is chased away when another ghost that’s gone mad arrives. From there she goes on a journey meeting a cast of supporting characters that fill the rest of the monster tropes including a werewolf, a sea creature, a vampire and a wizard. I’ll admit that the last character is the weakest, but she acts as a catalyst for the events in the second and third act of the comic.
The character development is quite good, even though the story has a very obvious blueprint to introduce the characters. Regardless, it works and keeps the story moving which is the next good thing about the writing, the pacing. The pacing for Stitched is steady and never does it hang out long enough for a scene to feel boring. There is a great deal of exposition, but some of it is forgivable since there’s a character with no memories or clue to where she is currently. If I were a kid, I would read the hell out of this, but then I was a kid that enjoyed Halloween as much as I enjoyed Christmas so call me weird. Still, do, by the way, I’m not an either-or type of person.
The art is incredibly strong. That was the surprising thing about Stitched was that it had great art. Granted, most graphic novels do have great art because there are more time and money being put into them, but with such a simple concept for Stitched, I could easily see it getting glossed over with some basic art and lackluster backgrounds. Instead, the characters have a rich design, the world is visually interesting and intentionally “dead” feeling, and the backgrounds are full and realistic. The coloring is moody as well, giving it a monster vibe without it every having to say, “these are monsters.”
At first, I didn’t think I was going to make it very far through Stitched. I was curious about it, but it did seem to be going for a younger, feminine market. I’m glad that I didn’t let that chase me away because in the end, it was very enjoyable and while a kiddish, it entertained me from beginning to end. I’ll be looking forward to the second volume for sure.
Stitched vol. 1
Writer: Mariah McCourt
Artist: Aaron Alexovich