Thursday, 10 September 2015

Harrow County (I ain't 'fraid of no haints)

~Emmy always knew that the deep, dark woods surrounding her home crawled with ghosts, goblins, and zombies. But on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, she learns that she is connected to those creatures–and to the land itself–in a way she never imagined.~

Today in the Splatter Cafe, I'm going to discuss a comic book series from Dark Horse Comics, written by Cullen Bunn with artwork by Tyler Crook called Harrow County

This latest horror comic from Dark Horse is a wonderfully disturbing tale with classic, imaginative storytelling, crisp, haunting art; a formula perfectly designed for my favourite genre of reading, horror.
Crook's ability to set the mood and capture the quaint, subtlety of the country life through characters and scenery draws you in then allows the eeriness to settle in your bones. Bunn weaves a treacherous web through a narrative of lies and darkened secrets hidden deep within the town's history. The opening pages presents one of the most bone chilling and brutal prologues in a horror story I've read in a while!

Years ago, the town folk of Harrow County banded together to put an end to an evil that lived among them. Hester Beck is beaten, stabbed, shot and hanged by the neck from a crooked oak tree. Now, if that wasn't enough, the townspeople set her bloodied, dangling body on fire. She didn't die easily.  Hester kept death at bay long enough to whisper her promise to return while the townspeople watched in horror.
The appalling event that took place that night emblazoned upon the oak tree and turned into nightmarish memories that echoed throughout Harrow County and throughout the years.

Fast forward and we meet quiet little Emmy, who's turning 18 soon, living on her Pa's farm. Emmy looks out her bedroom window at the same, now scarred, oak tree and listens to its ghastly whispers. Emmy's life is about change along with her southern farm community as the sins of the past rear their heads in a gruesome fashion. Here when we meet sweet Emmy, Bunn slows the pace so we're able to understand the relationship between Emmy and her Pa. But the pace is enough for the reader to follow along and absorb the brilliance of the narrative and character development. Throughout the series, Emmy realises more and more how she's connected to these "haints" and how she discovers she's a "haint" herself. The story really started to unfold later in issues three and four and Emmy declares the person she truly is... herself.

"HAINTS: Ghosts and ghouls lurking in lonely, forgotten, and unwelcoming places." A brief description by Cullen Bunn himself.

This is my first time experiencing the brilliant minds of Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook as a team and I'm over the tombstone enjoying this series. What I love as well, is Bunn adds these short tales at the end of each issue to add to the mythology of the creepy little town. They're called, "Tales of Harrow County."
Between the narrative accompanied with the textures of Crooks art this series Harrow County is one of my top series in my comic book pull. When I have something this good, I get overly excited and impatient to read the next issue. I love how the panels protray that dead silence so well. That creepy quiet knowing that something evil is waiting in the dark. You really sense the dread of being unable to escape the horrors that stalk the darkened woods in Harrow County.

If you're at all a fan of horror and you love, love, love comics?! Please, do yourself a favour and check this series out. I promise, you won't be disappointed!

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