Shinn tells a story of love, betrayal, and revenge in Sepulchre Vol. 1. A young woman, in love, is betrayed by her lover. He attempts to kill her, and leaves her for dead. In the process, he takes her voice. Another man finds her, and nurses her back to health. Once she has the strength, the two start training together with—I can only assume (and hope)—revenge in mind. While doing so, the truth about both their previous lives comes out, and the two are drawn together through tragedy.
There is some amazing characterization in this book. The male character that saves the female is kindhearted and humble. Having been through catastrophe himself, he has learned the value of life and love. Though he doesn’t say all too much, we come to find that his wife and son were murdered. However, he stays strong until the last few pages of the book. This definitely tells us that he is determined.
The female character has some of the strongest characterization, but she never says a single word. She has an awkward-sounding laugh, but we mostly get to see what kind of person she is through her actions and facial expressions. She tries to kill herself with the man’s sword. So, early on in the book, she is feeling hopeless.
We get some amazing character development when she comes home with two rabbits, their necks are wrung an excessive amount—more than it would take to kill them. This shows us that she is angry, and quite possibly violent with vengeance. At the end of the book, she cries alongside the man, as he tells her of his family’s death. So, we know she is sympathetic. Along with all this, she is really responsive to the man—whenever he talks to her, she has a different expression on her face.
Shinn’s artwork is extremely atmospheric, creating a really serious and tense ambience for the characters to interact within. Using only red, black, and white, Shinn is able to illustrate some seriously strong emotions that help pull the plot forward.
If all of this came from just one volume, I can’t wait to see what volume two has in store. Shinn’s artwork has always been dramatic and a bit different than what you see in mainstream comic books. And trust me; I say that with the most positivity and respect. It’s hard to create anything, much less a book, which looks unique nowadays. Sepulchre is one of those books.
Written & Illustrated by: Christie Shinn