top of page

‘There’s Nothing There’ Issue 1 Challenges the Concept of "Story"



There's Nothing There #1 Featured Image


About There’s Nothing There Issue 1


There’s Nothing There #1 is written by Patrick Kindlon. The artwork and coloring is by Maria Llovet and the lettering is by Jim Campbell. The issue was released on April 26th, 2017. There’s Nothing There is published by Black Mask Studios.


There’s Nothing There Issue 1 Review

Spoiler/Content Warning: There are spoilers in this Issue 1 review of There's Nothing Here. Spoilers which include artwork depicting sexualised acts. You have been warned.


There’s Nothing There #1 Cover
There’s Nothing There #1 Cover

There's Nothing There is an erotic horror which evolves around celebrity socialites. It starts with the introduction of a masquerade ball similar in mood and timbre to Eyes Wide Shut, where Tom Cruise's character infiltrates a masked orgy of an unmasked society, a discovery which sees his view of the world unravel in one night. Unlike Tom Cruise's character, protagonist Reno Selleti's unraveling doesn't come from beginning to view the world as a nonstop debaucherous ride, instead it comes from sensing certain apparitions, sights which gradually send her insane.


With writer Patrick Kindlon's frustration of the comic book industry made clear from his reflection on working 'We Can Never Go Home' (see last image), Kindlon sought to release a comic book as an antecedent to the less 'Hollywood' aspects that have become so intertwined with the DNA of mainstream comic book publishing. Thankfully, his frustration sought creation of a comic book that is so vehemently anti-North American mainstream, resulting in the release of 'There's Nothing There.'


A horror comic book that uses erotica as the turning point driving the protagonist into this realm that blurs the lines of reality and supernatural as the dead converge onto (almost) every page. Panels which are delicately drawn by artist Maria Llovet. Llovet's approach is thoughtful as it takes on the female form and while her coloring palette is expert in delivery - it's her inking approach which concludes in an almost neo-noir appeal. As you're about to find out, Kindlon's frustration in the comic book industry combined with Llovet's style has created this erotic horror which challenges the concept of 'story' in the same way that M. Night Shyamalan or Stanley Kubrick challenged what their takes on horror and psychological thrillers could be in their respective Sixth Sense and Eyes Wide Shut.


It's easy to narrow this down to transgressive simply because it does what other comic book creators refused to in 2017. You'll find this comic book isn't overpowered by it's vantage point of 'erotica' simply for erotica sake. Is sex used as a plot device? Yes. But it doesn't dwell on the act of sex. It uses the act as an evolutionary construct for Reno to 'open up' her mind to the existence of other worlds. A quintessentially appropriate Black Mask Studios release. Let's dive in.


There’s Nothing There Issue 1 introduces us to the vapid and privileged social media driven life of celebrity socialite Reno. A tall, beautiful woman with dark brunette hair, curves that don’t end and doll-like pale skin. Reno has been invited to this masquerade ball which turns into an orgy by her private-school boy graduate friend, Kyle, and while he’s there for his curiosity, Reno is there for some amusement.


Upon arriving, Reno takes off her mask because she sure didn’t spend a fortunate on makeup and eyelash extensions to have them covered up. Kyle begs her to put the mask back on but she refuses. Instead parading herself around for all to see. As she looks around she’s certain this a masquerade ball that will quickly turn into an orgy. Kyle disagrees and as they do Reno brings up the point that the servants are mostly naked, indicating some sort of orgy is guaranteed to happen some time during the party.




There’s Nothing There #1 Pages 2-3
There’s Nothing There #1 Pages 2-3

Bored, the two of them explore the outside courtyard, which leads out the back and into a gorgeous garden with a spectacular view. Kyle admires the scenery while Reno brings up the point that slaves used to live here and it’s not a place to admire. While they’re out the back and are looking on at a large ‘Binding of Isaac’ statue, a fellow guest laments on how each major religion interprets the story of Isaac in a different way. This bores Reno, who turns her attention to a nearby girl with purple hair serving red wine completely naked. The two begin to flirt and unbeknownst to Kyle, who is deep in philosophical discussion and religious debate, the two women head inside for more alcoholic drinks, flirting voraciously as they walk.


There’s Nothing There #1 Pages 6-7
There’s Nothing There #1 Pages 6-7

As they reach an adjacent door that leads into the mansion and cellar, the host of the masquerade ball announces himself outside and gives a speech about letting go of one’s inhibitions and how everyone should get involved in the orgy that’s about to take place. While this speech is going on, Reno and the purple haired service girl begin a steamy make out session. One that begins to climax as the guests outside begin to disrobe and pick sexual partners the evening.


Kyle, who is in total disbelief and beginning to think maybe he was wrong about the orgy situation, is unaware that the purple haired servant girl he met earlier is going down on his date. This culminates as two double paged spreads highlight Maria Llovet’s inking ability while a cacophony of bodies are intertwined in carnal pleasures of the flesh under the lighting of a pale moon. This symphony of bodies grinding into the night is interrupted when Reno, just about to climax, is certain she saw something out of the corner of her eye in between her lustful moans.



There’s Nothing There #1 Pages 10-11
There’s Nothing There #1 Pages 10-11

The next morning, Reno awakens in her bed to the type of hangover that are depicted in epic broadway productions, in her overgrown mansion being woken up by Judy, her maid. A maid that is exceptional at keeping her house clean but quite inappropriate at dropping existential questions of life and existence to your boss who is savagely hung over. Who the hell says good morning with “Perception is reality insofar as it informs behaviour. Breakfast is a state of mind.” Jesus Christ, Judy!


This scene is where we start to see Jim Campbell’s lettering experimentation in character ‘groans’ and ‘sighs’ with faded speech bubbles and text indicating Reno's own frustration and confusion. A style that will pop up randomly throughout the rest of the comic as Reno begins to question her own sanity.


There’s Nothing There’s Pages 14-15
There’s Nothing There’s Pages 14-15

Refusing Judy’s nightmare of a hangover cure, Reno meets up with her friend, Celia, at a nearby cafe. As the two of them are talking about weird celebrity gossip such as John Boyega jumping into Reno’s DMs, Reno notices a man consumed in flames who is starting to cross the road. Ignoring Celia’s chatter, Reno grows even more concerned as he manages to cross the road and get closer to them - only to disappear. Caught in a daze, Celia clicks her fingers in front of Reno’s face, trying to bring her back to reality.


Picking up on her friend’s manic behaviour, Celia orders an Uber and they start heading toward Reno’s place. She then notices another woman by the side of the road, who also appears to be consumed by flames like the man Reno spotted earlier, except casually walking the streets of New York. The flames seem to have ‘eyes’ that dance around them, Desperate to help, Reno demands the Uber driver stop, she gets out and runs toward the woman who then goes to walk by a street sign - only to disappear altogether. Celia didn’t see any of it and thinking this is all in Reno’s head she recommends they get her home.


There’s Nothing There #1 Pages 18-19
There’s Nothing There #1 Pages 18-19

Consumed by darkness, Reno is trapped in a living nightmare with those same eyes looking deep at her and a nonstop drumming sound that causes her deep and unexplainable pain - causing her to wake up. She realises she’s at home and heads downstairs to the kitchen to see Celia and Judy talking about something they’ve found on the Internet. Unfortunately, a gossip website managed to get footage of Reno’s freak out and posted a story and accompanying video saying she’s lost her mind. Not the worst moment in Reno’s celebrity socialite career but certainly not the best. The video continues, saying they’re going to cross to experts in the field of schizophrenia and mental illness.



There’s Nothing There #1 Pages 22-23
There’s Nothing There #1 Pages 22-23

This provides an easy segway into the next scene of an unnamed character at a laundromat who’s watching the video as they’re waiting for their clothes to wash. Suddenly, the same drumming from Reno’s nightmare is heard, causing the laundromat person to peer in and check on their clothes. Instead of seeing their clothes they see an eyeless head with an eyeball in its mouth as it tumbles around and around in spin cycle. This freaks them out as they race out of the laundromat and up to their apartment. Locking the door behind them.


Back at Reno’s, she’s dwelling on how everyone in her life and online is going to think she’s crazy. How she’ll repair her image is beyond at this moment. As Judy and Celia try to comfort her there’s a buzz at the front door. They all look at the security monitor and the feed shows no one outside. Freaking out, Celia wants Reno to call security, Judy wants Reno to ignore the buzzer and disconnect it altogether. Throwing caution to the wind, Reno approaches the door, with the two other women hot on her heels. Carefully opening the door, Reno sees a little girl consumed with the same flames as she saw earlier - with eyes dancing around it. With the question being ‘can the other two women see what Reno is seeing’ or is this to be a journey for Reno to take all on her own in the second issue?



There’s Nothing There #1 Pages 26-27
There’s Nothing There #1 Pages 26-27

What did you think?


I hope you enjoyed my There's Nothing There Issue 1 review! What did you think of this issue?


Are you happy with the direction of Maria Llovet's artwork? Do you think Reno's gift to see these unholy apparition's will be shared with her friends in the next issue or will she bare this burden alone?


Leave me a comment below or let me know on social media.

Comments


bottom of page