Harrow County 7 is the first of this series that I’ve had the opportunity to read. The promise of haunting, chilling horror from a comic book was too much of a promise to resist! Prior to reading this issue I was only vaguely familiar with the work of Tyler Crook, but after reading this I can honestly say I’m a fan! He worked on the art and letters for the main issue and also provided the script for the equally disturbing short ‘Tales of Harrow County’ which appears at the end of the book after the small ‘letters to the editor’-esque section. Cat Farris provided an equally strong showing when doing the artwork for ‘Tales of Harrow County’. It’s always wonderful when two very different artists can effectively collaborate. What really made the two unique styles blend and work well together for me was the coloring. The entire issue is done in the beautiful watercolor style featured on the cover, which makes this a particularly gorgeous issue.
The flip side to being visually stunning is that the creatures in this story are exceptionally grotesque. There aren’t any spoilers here, but in the scene where Emmy is hanging laundry I recoiled. What happened during that sequence was totally unexpected. Of course that is in part thanks to the script work, but the art is really what pulled it together. It’s difficult to make a comic book really stand out in terms of being particularly creepy or disturbing, but between the two of them Crook and Farris really hit the mark!
I also have to applaud Cullen Burn’s script work. When writing comic books it’s very difficult to write the story in such a way that each individual issue can carry its own weight. While this particular book doesn’t necessarily tell its own complete story, Burn managed to write the script in such a way that this book fills new readers in on some of the events in the past issues, so that if you just happen across this issue you can very easily get sucked into the events that are going on in the present without feeling as though you’re missing too much of the story. After reading Harrow Count 7, I not only want to continue reading the series, but I want to jump back and grab the other six. That doesn’t happen very often!
All in all I’d say that Dark Horse Comics did very well with this title. Unfortunately, I think that the disturbing creatures and odd plot line (not to mention the blood soaked cover) might make this title one that typical/mainstream comic fans may pass by but it’s definitely one that horror fans will appreciate. Harrow County will revisit you after you’ve set it aside, which is always an accomplishment for a short story or comic book.