Writer-illustrator: Maria Llovet
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
WHAT IS IT?
Heartbeat is a slow-burn horror tale about a teenage girl’s downward spiral after developing a crush on a boy with violent tendencies.
A modern-day Heathers with a subtle, supernatural twist.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Eva is having a rough time at her high school. Being an outsider among her classmates and bullied relentlessly by her tormentor, Violetta, has taken its toll and she simply cannot go on like this anymore.
Everything changes one night when she witnesses the class pretty-boy, Donatien, murder a fellow student and drink blood from the corpse. Curiosity soon escalates into a full-blown fatal attraction with the young killer as Eva descends deeper into Donatien’s twisted world.
Will Eva walk away with her innocence intact? Or become a predator in her own right?
The tone of a Maria Llovet story is unlike anything else in comics. It's a balance of eroticism with genuinely uncomfortable visuals that’s guaranteed to keep you on your toes.
Eva’s background as a shy outsider in a preppy school that wants nothing to do with her is effective at making us empathize with her. That makes the physical and psychological toll she endures when she is bullied even more tragic. A simple scene of Eva undressing with her body covered in bruises is a perfect encapsulation of where Eva’s head is at and the choices she makes later on.
Heartbeat’s captions are appropriately moody and poetic, but also know when to hold back and let the image speak for itself.
Llovet’s minimalist storytelling is effectively used to reveal the inner workings of her characters. One particular reveal, which is easily one of Heartbeat’s best scenes (no spoilers), strips away all dialogue to let the subtle actions and movements of the characters carry the scene.
Llovet’s illustrations are beautiful. Backgrounds are lush and detailed, and the characters are beautiful like you’d expect in a slice-of-life/horror story. But there’s also a vulnerability in the artwork, knowing that a quiet scene can and will twist into something disturbing at any moment.
The use of violence in Heartbeat is intentionally disturbing. It’s not over the top, even in the story’s gorier moments. Instead, it’s just as grounded as the characters and is given real weight and consequences.
The SFX captions utilized are visually distinct and a piece of art in their own right.
The downward spiral of Heartbeat’s three core characters is tragic and compelling. It takes a lot of guts to commit to the ending Heartbeat went for, and their decisions make complete sense for how they were developed.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Content Warning: This book contains nudity, sexual content, and instances of real-world and graphic violence.
Every now and then, one of the captions is a little over the top and detracts from the scene.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Maria Llovet is one of the most unique voices in the comic industry today. The way she balances intimate moments with disturbing visuals is remarkable.
On top of that, she’s a strong writer in her own right, weaving complex characters in a tale that’s not for the faint-of-heart but compelling for those willing to go on the journey.
Just watch, Maria will be racking up Eisner and Harvey awards before you know it.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Luna #1 by Maria Llovet (Release Date: 02/03/2021)
Faithless 1 & 2 by Brian Azzarello and Maria Llovet
Fatale Volumes 1-5 by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
If you like the art:
Faithless 1 & 2 by Brian Azzarello and Maria Llovet
Loud! By Maria Llovet
Mirka Andolfo’s Mercy by Mirka Andolfo
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Maria Llovet (@m_llovet) – Writer-Illustrator-Cover Artist
Outlander: She hails from Barcelona, Spain.
Multitalented: Llovet is both a writer and an illustrator on the majority of her projects.
Name Recognition: She has collaborated with writer Brian Azzarello on the acclaimed erotic horror series Faithless 1 & 2.
AndWorld Design (@andworlddesign) – Letterer
Prolific: This studio has worked on projects for DC Comics, Boom! Studios, Marvel, Yen Press, and more.
Multitalented: They are skilled in digital lettering, book & logo design, and manga lettering.
Andrea Rosenberg – Translator
Multitalented: Andrea can translate works from Portuguese and Spanish.
Award Winner: Won the 2020 Eisner Award for Best US Edition of International Material with The House by Paco Roca.
Scott Newman (@eastof8thstreet) – Designer
Prolific: Scott Newman has worked on projects for Boom! Studios, Top Cow Productions, Fox, CBS, and more.
Award Winner: He won a Harvey Award in 2016 for Excellence in Presentation for Peanuts: A Tribute to Charles M. Schulz.
Amanda LaFranco (@itslafranco) – Editor
New Face: Amanda has worked with Boom! Studios on various projects since 2018 with credits on Faithless, Once & Future, Origins, An Unkindness of Ravens, and more.
Sierra Hahn – Executive Editor
Prolific: Sierra has edited several notable series, including Mouse Guard, The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, The Strain and more.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
Click one of these:
· From BOOM! Studios
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