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Harrowing Experience: Dark Horse Horror/Fantasy Series

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Dark Horse Comics “Harrow County” will have you crawling out of your skin.

What It Is…
With no spoilers given, I can say that Dark Horse Comics’ newest horror fantasy called Harrow County is like tucking into a good Ray Bradbury tale. It’s a coming of age story about rural farm girl Emmy and a community with some secrets.

The opening pages, worthy of Mario Bava’s Black Sunday, immediately draw us in as “healer” Hester Beck loses her life at the hands of the titular town’s folks. Her dying words threaten that there will to be hell to pay and her murderers can only wait for the other shoe to drop.

County Crows…
Harrow County is an excellent pairing of prose and art that truly compliment each other. Cullen Bunn’s (Deadpool) script is thoroughly attentive to sense and natural surroundings (“Her earliest memories were those of the taste of freshly turned earth and the bleating of goats.”) as well as the progress of the narrative. The work is peppered with colloquialisms like “haints” (ghosts) and “snake doctors” (dragon flies) that ground us in the locale. There is also a one page strip “Tales of Harrow County,” drawn by Owen Gieni, that gives us an additional glimpse of the supernatural events plaguing the residents.

Tyler Crook’s (B.R.P.D.) renderings of Emmy and her circumscribed world are embellished with a palette of watercolor washes of muted autumnal green and burnt orange. The children’s book look of the art balances the descriptive gravity of the text and makes the gorier visuals all the more impactful.

Issue #1 is a fine set-up for this new ongoing series with just enough of a creepy cliff-hanger to make you wait breathlessly for answers. Look for it at your favorite comic shoppe on May 13th.

Unfortunate Son: Rat God #1, Corben’s Lovecraft Rumination

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Richard Corben’s Rat God #1 from Dark Horse Comics


Phillips 66(6)…
Howard Phillips Lovecraft fans should have a heyday with Dark Horse Comics’ new 5 part story cycle, Rat God. Conjured up in the darker corners of artist and writer Richard Corben imagination, the first issue introduces us to the collision of natives of the American North West and a native son of Arkham Massachusetts.

HPL devotee’s will immediately recognize their old boy in the figure of Clark Elwood (do your homework). He’s a history maven, a bit of a xenophobe, and a proud descendant of Arkham founders who is skint enough to ask a hitchhiker for gas money.

dark horse comics, richard corbel, rat god 1, h p love craft
Love Craft…
Set in the 1920’s, the tale of culture clash is set in motion when Elwood becomes enamored with a strange young lady he meets while studying at Miskatonic University. We seem to have encountered her as well, in the prehistoric prologue. Hmmm. His pursuit of her finds him in places and situations he could not have imagined.

Mag the Hag, Corben’s EC comics inspired story teller, is along for the flivver ride too, offering exposition, pithy asides, and at times some meddlesome “assistance.”

SkeletonPete Says…
The premiere issue’s cover is a perfect example of Corben’s art with its three dimensional aspects and intriguing, misshapen characters. As you may know from reading other posts on this blog, I am a long time fan of Corben and have following his work as far back as the covers of Rockets Blast Comic Colletor and Heavy Metal Magazine. Dark Horse has anthologized many of his Warren Publishing Creepy and Eerie strips. It’s great fun to have a new story arc from the Eisner Hall of Fame inductee.

Lumpy Gravy: Dark Horse Stirs Up “Lady Killer” Series

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Lady Killer: She’ll Mop the Floor with You.

She’s Killer-Diller When She’s Dressed to the Hilt…
It was a mad, mad, man’s world in the mid twentieth century but Josie Schuller has an interesting side job. Along with the duties of attentive housewife and mother to twin girls straight out of a Keane “big eyes” painting, she’s a one woman hit squad. Stir in a Jackie Kennedy wardrobe, a meddling mother-in-law, and a Rock Hudson hunky handler and you’ve got a spice mix that goes way beyond the Bell’s Seasoning.

Writers Joëlle Jones (Helheim) and Jamie S. Rich (It Girl and The Atomics) set the stage in the premiere issue with some “if at first you don’t succeed” mano-a-mano murder worthy of Alfred Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain. Jones is also the illustrator of the series and keeps the line work crisp and the 50’s/60’s details accurate.
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SkeletonPete Says…
This introductory issue is a hoot, a twisted but fun scenario of mid-century modern mayhem. I’m excited to follow along as the plot, and the beef gravy, thickens. Lady Killer Issue #1 (of 5) is available from Dark Horse Comics on January 7, 2015.