Let me start with the full disclosure that I have never read Kiersten White’s 2022 novel, Hide, which this is based on, nor have I read any of White’s other books. I came into this graphic adaptation fresh but ready to be scared.
Hide revolves around multiple characters, but the key character is the enigmatic Mack, who finds herself among 14 strangers brought to a remote amusement park as part of a contest for $50,000. They’re told it will be a reality show in which they will all hide during the day—if they are caught, they are out. Mack knows she is good at hiding and believes that winning the competition and the prize money will allow her to start a new life far away from her troubled past. Among the other contestants are two women named Ava, one of whom Mack develops feelings for, as well as the lonely Brandon, conniving Jaden, ex-communicated Legrand, and several others with intriguing backstories that unfortunately fade into the background. Upon the contestants’ arrival, however, something feels off. There don’t seem to be any cameras, their phones can’t maintain a signal, and they have no details about what exactly they are hiding from. . . or more importantly, who—or what—is hunting them.
One aspect of Hide that truly stands out is its vibrant and distinctive illustrations. The artwork beautifully captures the menacing setting of a neglected amusement park. The setting itself plays an integral role in creating tension within the story, its strange design and remote location adding an extra layer of creepiness, isolating our contestants in a Wi-Fi desert with no contact with the outside world.
Despite strong artwork and a well-paced story, Hide does have its flaws. First, there’s the overwhelming introduction of too many characters. It takes a lot of time for any of these characters to shine individually due to their number and makes it hard to feel attached to any of them. As the story progresses some characters meet their demise and the audience is eventually able to gain a more in-depth understanding of those remaining, but it doesn’t fully make up for the clunky opening.
Additionally, while the illustrations are stunning, there are instances where whole pages of text delve into backstory exposition. These sections attempt to shed light on why these specific individuals were chosen, but end up creating a somewhat convoluted narrative. There are also yellow boxes of text throughout that are meant to represent characters’ inner thoughts, but become confusing due to the shifting perspectives. For me, this sometimes disrupted the flow of the story and required a bit of backtracking for clarity.
Finally, the resolution provided in Hide offers little hope for the survivors. While this may be realistic given the circumstances of the story, it might leave readers feeling unsatisfied after investing time and emotional energy into these characters’ stories.
Hide is an adult graphic novel with mature content, containing elements of violence, gore, and death throughout its pages (this includes a scene involving the death of a child). However, older teens who enjoy horror might be drawn to this one. Despite its flaws, Hide remains a fast-paced and complex graphic novel that successfully held my attention throughout. Fans of The Walking Dead and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will undoubtedly appreciate the dark, gory tale; readers familiar with Kiersten White’s original novel will likely enjoy experiencing her story through the visual medium, too.
Hide: The Graphic Novel
By Kiersten White, Scott Peterson
Art by Veronica Fish, Andy Fish
Ten Speed Press, 2023
NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+), Older Teen (16-18)
Character Representation: Queer