Vault Comics has teamed up with Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz, Hannah Klein (Everything’s Fine), and Lisa Sterle (The Modern Witch Tarot, Witchblood) on the graphic novel Dying Inside. Due out this September, this high-profile release includes limited deluxe editions of the graphic novel, an exclusive merch line, and more. Having read the graphic novel, I was extremely impressed with the storytelling, from the character development to the unique, eye-catching visual style. I recently caught up with Hannah Klein and Lisa Sterle to discuss their experience working on Dying Inside, from teaming up with Pete Wentz and Vault, to the creative process, the story's main character, Ash, and more!

How did you two first get involved with Dying Inside and why was this a project you wanted to be a part of?

Hannah Klein: I’ve been collaborating with Pete for a few years now and we met when working on a short series for Snapchat called “Everything’s Fine.” Originally, I pitched this idea to him as potentially our next film collab but he suggested the graphic novel format which was brilliant. 

Lisa Sterle: Adrian Wassel of Vault Comics popped up in my inbox with this amazing pitch (and accompanying playlist) for a graphic novel that seemed absolutely tailormade to my interests and aesthetics. A witchy black comedy featuring emo teens, their mental health struggles and blossoming friendship? Sign me up.

Can you talk about your collaboration with Pete Wentz? How did you three work together on the story and character art? And what was the process like as development of the graphic novel progressed?

Hannah Klein: Pete and I sent Lisa a moodboard as a light reference and her genius took over from there! On the writing end, I’d break story with Pete, draft it out, and he’d look at it from there. He also contributed the original poetry / lyrics for the book (which I could have never done, but I love their existence within the story.) 

Lisa Sterle: Yep, we all had a shared moodboard which was constantly being contributed to because I love visual inspiration as well as what is written in the script. There was some back and forth during character design as I nailed down Ash and Liv’s vibe, and beyond that I really felt the trust in my vision from Hannah and Pete. 

What can you tell our readers about Ash and why her journey over the course of the story is important to you?

Hannah Klein: For me, she represents the angsty younger version of myself so her growth within the book is stemming from me reflecting on my own. I wanted to represent a character who feels hopeless despite all the hope around her, and slowly start to show how things can change when you let people in. While her problems don’t just disappear with the snap of a finger (no, not even by the end) you at least start to see the light shining through which is enough to keep going. 

Lisa Sterle: This is a story about girls, their struggles with existence, mental health, being understood, being seen…and about friendship about how much the impact of that can shift your worldview. It’s dark, it’s funny, it’s weird. The kind of comic I would have loved to see as an emo teen. 

This graphic novel has an incredible use of color that emphasizes scenes, emotions, and important story elements. What can you tell us about the visual approach used to tell this story?

Lisa Sterle: For years now, I’ve been wanting to color a comic like this. Limited color palette, manga-inspired screentones and a graphic kinda DIY aesthetic. When I read the pitch and script for Dying Inside I knew this was finally the perfect place to try this style out. I hope it gives the cool girl vibes I was going for. And that the colors place you both inside the setting and environments, as well as the girl’s thoughts and emotions.


To learn more and purchase Dying Inside for yourself, visit:

"WARNING: This book includes discussion of suicide and depiction of self-harm. While we hope this book will help some readers feel less alone, its content may be triggering. Please only read ahead if you are safe and supported. If you are struggling, it's important to share your feelings. The suicide and crisis lifeline is 988."

Synopsis: "Today is Ash’s big finale. And by finale, she means exiting the stage permanently. Ash is a sixteen-year-old girl with more angst than Ian Curtis and Elliott Smith combined (her two idols). She’s apathetic and therefore believes death is the easiest route to relief. But nothing is more embarrassing than a lame death. Unfortunately, her meticulous plans are all ruined when the beautiful knife she buys off a webstore turns out to be charmed with a protection spell. Now, Ash has to track down the witch who transformed her clocking out attempt into the worst gift imaginable: immortality. Turns out, the witch responsible is another sixteen-year-old-girl named (get this) Liv. The two vow to undo the charm together and fight for Ash’s death…even as things get increasingly entangled with a strange new antidepressant called Somnia and her mom’s gross boyfriend, Greg."