Harrow County starts out with a witch hanging/burning. Hester Beck is the town witch, and while the town could “ignore” her witchcraft when she healed people, when animals started dying and all manners of depraved debauchery occur, they know they have to rid themselves of her. They shot, stabbed, beat, hanged, and finally burned her to get rid of her. But, she curses them with her last breaths in a promise that she will be back.
Fast forward in time to a 17-year-old naïve farm girl named Emmy. The old oak where Hester was hung and burned haunts Emmy’s nightmares. She dreams of haints, ghosts who intend nothing but malice. Soon, strange things begin to occur in Emmy’s world. Is it Hester coming back to terrorize her or is something far more sinister coming to pass in Harrow County?
Cullen Bunn (writer and co-creator) brings to life this new world of Harrow County, a place I surely never want to visit, with such poetic, lyrical style. The writing almost felt as if I was reading a dark poem or a fable written to scare children. Bunn’s beautiful writing style lends to this backwoods horror story and gives each of the characters depth and realism. I could hear the characters speaking as I read and felt as if I’d known them for years as I followed them through the pages. I wanted to keep reading long after I’d stopped.
Tyler Crook (artist and co-creator) is just as responsible for the feel of Harrow County as Bunn. The art has a watercolor consistency that is gorgeous and littered with detail. To me, this only helps to bring out the creepy factor of the story. I can still see Hester hanging from that fateful oak tree, staring down at me with an evil smile, still envision Emmy’s harrowing nightmares, and still imagine the rich environment in which the comic is set. Crook’s art perfectly complements Bunn’s writing, and the combination will thrill readers.
Suffice it to say, I have a new addiction, a new location to add to my own nightmares: Harrow County. I can hardly wait to find out what happens next and where Bunn and Crook will take the series.