Review — The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Spookiness abounds in this graphic retelling of the classic Washington Irving story (put out by Stone Arch) in which a timid schoolhouse teacher runs up against fanciful tales and terror in a small town. Blake Hoena retells this story (with illustrator Tod Smith) with attention to details. The wiry schoolmaster – Ichabod Crane – is portrayed like a scared rat with something devious up his sleeve (that something being the affection of the lovely Katrina, whom Ichabod attempts to woo away from the juvenile prankster Brom Bones).

The story is layered with ghost stories from the town’s history, including the tragic tale of the Woman in White who was caught in the ice storm near Raven Rock, the story of the traitor spy who was hung from the tree along Sleepy Hollow Road by the townspeople, and, of course, the saga of The Headless Horseman who seems to prey on the town’s schoolteachers in the dead of the night.

The two main plot developments of Bones’ jealousy over Ichabod’s interest in Katrina and the culmination of the ghost stories on Ichabod’s imagination merge one night as Ichabod is returning home from a party at Katrina’s house by way of the shadowy terrain of Sleepy Hollow and is confronted by The Headless Horseman himself. The reader is never quite certain whether it is Ichabod’s own fertile mind, a Brom Bones’ prank, or a real ghost that confronts and chases him through the night. Nor is it explained what happened to Ichabod in the aftermath of the attack. All that is left for the townspeople to find the next day along with some tracks from Ichabod’s horse and a smashed pumpkin. The story ends with a new schoolteacher in town and a child, holding up a horse shoe, asking the innocent question of Ichabod’s replacement in the classroom: “Sir, have you never heard the legend of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow?”
—The Graphic Classroom

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