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Books & Graphic Novels

YA Cool Meets Old School Ghoul: Cullen Bunn & Cat Farris introduce “The Ghoul Next Door”

The Ghoul Next Door
Author: Cullen Bunn
Illustrator: Cat Farris
Imprint: HarperAlley (Harper Collins Publishing
On Sale: July 13, 2021

ISBN: 9780062896094
Trimsize: 6″ X 9″
Pages: 200
Price: $12.99
Ages: 8 to 12

A Revenge of Spooky Sunday Post

I’ve been following the work of writer Cullen Bunn since encountering the Dark Horse ComicsHarrow County tales several years ago. That story cycle ticked all the boxes for my tastes in supernatural fiction, and has been featured here on the SkeletonPete site in the past. So, I’m excited to share the news of the New York Times best selling author’s newest creepy chronicle called The Ghoul Next Door.

A stand-alone graphic novel, The Ghoul Next Door will be released by the HarperAlley imprint of Harper Collins Publishing in hardcover, paperback, and e-Book editions, this Tuesday, July 13, 2021.

Cullen Bunn, Cat Farris, the ghoul next door, harper collins publishing
A selection of Cat Farris’s panel art for The Ghoul Next Door (Images courtesy of
Harper Collins Publishing)

Pre-release pages reveal illustrator Cat Farris’s style as what I’d coin “cartoon realism.” The characters are depicted in a young audience friendly style, (for kids who have likely grown up on a steady diet of Cartoon Network), while objects and surroundings cling closely to the look of their real world counterparts. The fluid variations of Farris’s watercolor washes offer a dreamlike effect, while deep contrasts are reminiscent of the monochromatic palette of silent films like Murnau‘s Nosferatu (1922). It’s a unique look that perfectly compliments the artist’s otherwise delicate line work

Based on these renditions, I can easily imagine The Ghoul Next Door being translated to an animated feature on the order of The Secret of Kells (2009).

Cullen Bunn, Cat Farris, the ghoul next door, harper collins publishing
Grey has an encounter of the too-close-for-comfort kind. (Image courtesy of Harper Collins Publishing)

Subterranean Homesick Chews…

The narrative revolves around Grey, an 11 year old living in Anders Landing, New England. He soon discovers that strange artifacts left in his room during the night are actually gifts from Lavinia, an admiring ghoul, or “eater of the dead,” living below the surface of the local cemetery.

She’s Crafty…

Fans of H.P. Lovecraft will recognize the extrapolation of themes envisioned in his short story “Pickman’s Model“. That story was first published in the October 1927 issue of Weird Tales and also deals with subterranean denizens of New England. “Pickman’s Model” gained wider attention when it was produced as an episode of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery television show. 

Illustrator Cat Farris puts her artistic spin on the haunts & haints of Cullen Bunn’s Harrow County.

Cullen Says…

In his most recent personal update (Vicious Shivers #87) author Bunn describes the genesis of the upcoming release. “This book is over 2 years in the making (even longer, really, if you consider how many years this idea has been in my head), so I hope you’ll check out what Cat Farris and I have put together for you and your kids! […] It’s an almost 200-page graphic novel of horror, adventure, friendship, monsters, and fun. 

[…] if you have kids… if you know someone who does… if you are a kid at heart… or if you just like spooky and fun stories full of folklore and ghoulish antics, please support this title”.

Skeleton Pete Says…

Putting my money where my mouth is, I’ve placed an order for the hardcover version and I’m looking forward to posting a full review of the book in the near future.

In the meantime I suggest you check out Cullen and Cat’s previous works for yourself.

Farris’s imaginings of pop culture icons, as well as fantastic fancies of her own creation, can be viewed on her homepage. Bunn not only produces a prodigious amount of written work, but has informed us of the ups and downs of his vocation via the weekly email communique he calls Vicious Shivers.

Here are links to their respective websites.

Cullen Bunn Website

Cat Farris Website

Categories
Books & Graphic Novels

Early Peek @ Dark Horse Comics’ “Harrow ‘een” Treats

harrow county, dark horse comics, cullen bunn, tyler crook
Well, I’ve already seen Halloween decorations displayed at Lowes Home Center, so I guess an October surprise preview from the folks at Dark Horse Comics isn’t too early to report.

If you are a horror fan and haven’t been following their Harrow County series it’s time to get on board. I think you’ll fall in love with it, and I tell you why in this post reviewing Harrow County #1.
harrow county, dark horse comics, cullen bunn, tyler crook
TeeVee Geebies…
Dark Horse recently announced that the ongoing graphic novel is one of several of the company’s titles being developed by Universal Cable Productions for episodic television, “with direct involvement from the comics creators.” That’s good news because writer Cullen Bunn and artist Tyler Crook‘s work is top notch and I would love to see their aesthetic translated to the screen.

Here’s a sneak peek at what autumn has in store with Harrow County issue #6.
harrow county, dark horse comics, cullen bunn, tyler crook

harrow county, dark horse comics, cullen bunn, tyler crook

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Books & Graphic Novels

Harrowing Experience: Dark Horse Horror/Fantasy Series

dark horse comics, cullen bunn, tyler cook, harrow county, fantasy horror graphic novel
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.