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‘Tales from Harrow County #1:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Harrow County was one of the first regular series I followed as a reviewer for Fanbase Press. It was wonderful – a dark, mysterious, character-driven Southern Gothic story. Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook created not just a world for their characters to inhabit, but a mythology that stood up next to the likes of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy or Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. It was rich, full of dramatic textures and haunting storylines.

We return to Harrow County ten years later during World War II, this time following a supporting character from the original series, Bernice Anderson. Once a young woman of 18, now she’s grown. In the original series, she trained with a witch who had protected Harrow County, and now she has continued that tradition; however, since her best friend Emmy (the dramatic center of the first series) left, aside from the impact of WWII, things have been pretty quiet on the supernatural front.

This first issue sets up Bernice’s new life; being a black woman in the South means she gets stares (and probably worse at times). Keeping haints (this world’s ghosts, demons, and monsters) as pets, she helps out the local doctor with treatments for the townsfolk and has a secret relationship that would probably get her into even more trouble, but, as a reader, it made me incredibly happy to see.

It doesn’t take long for something to start brewing, some evil to be called upon, and finding the inspiration from the WWII rural setting, the direction the series takes yet again has me interested.

Tyler Crook has stepped back from the position of artist, allowing Naomi Franquiz to step up and stretch her artistic muscles. Like with the first series, there’s a watercolor pastiche that she draws upon while making it her own. It’s a lovely comic to look at and, at times, captures a romanticism that – because of the first series’ grimmer tone – is new and fresh with this series. Even the scenes of day-to-day life, with Bernice riding her bike down the wooded roads, are lovely to look at. And, as per usual, Cullen Bunn’s dialogue is crisp and telling.

Whether you have or haven’t experienced Harrow County, this is a grand jumping-on point to experience this world in a new and exciting way.

Creative team: Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook (creators), Cullen Bunn (script), Naomi Franquiz (art), Tyler Crook (letters), Daniel Chabon (editor) Chuck Howitt (assistant editor)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Click here to purchase.

Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor



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