Freaks of the Heartland (英語) ハードカバー – 2012/7/17
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Trevor's monstrous little brother lives in the barn behind the house. The boy's only six years old, but he towers over his older brother, and possesses incredible strength. For years, Trevor has looked after his baby brother, keeping him from the light, but now that's all about to change. His family's secret is about to be revealed, uncovering the horrible truth of the small midwestern town the boys have grown up in.
Collected in a deluxe hardcover edition and sized at a generous 9" x 12", Freaks of the Heartland has now been redesigned to perfectly display Ruth's stunning artwork.
Steve Niles was born June 21, 1965. He is an American comic book author and novelist, known for works such as 30 Days of Night, Criminal Macabre, Simon Dark, Mystery Society, and Batman: Gotham County Line. Niles was born in Jackson, New Jersey, and he was raised in the Washington, DC suburbs, developing various creative interests in music, writing, and making amateur films. He is credited among other contemporary writers for bringing horror comics back to prominence.
Greg Ruth is an author and illustrator of comic books and books for young readers. He is the author and artist of The Lost Boy, a New York Times bestselling graphic novel with Scholastic; and the illustrator of Our Enduring Spirit by President Barack Obama (HarperCollins, 2009), and Indeh: A Story of the Apache Wars by Ethan Hawke (Hachette Books). Greg Ruth has also published with many other comic book publishers, including Dark Horse Comics and Fantagraphics Books. He lives in western Massachusetts.
That said, the story is lacking. It doesn't really seem to go anywhere. Or, it does, but it ends right when you'd think it should be beginning. The concept is interesting and it had potential to pull something great out of such an artistically drawn hat. Unfortunately, it doesn't excel as well as one might hope.
But if you like pretty pictures, then go for it. I promise you won't be disappointed.
SPOILERS going forwards
While I like a little ambiguity it was hard to get behind the conclusion, what exactly happened to the 'Freaks' did everyone just go back to the village/heartland and live out their lives with the freaks living wild? Why did the Sheriff seem to be the reason that some of the freaks were allowed to live yet also seem to be the main instigator of hunting them down? Was the setting a Villagesque recluse town (hence none of the children has any knowledge of beyond the hills) or did the existence of the freaks drive them that way?
I guess my point is there were some very powerful ideas and moments in the narrative, like when Will and Trevor realized that escaping over the hills wouldn't be enough to save the freaks from persecution, but ultimately I felt like nothing really resolved.
My one problem with Freaks is the ending - it's too abrupt and, in a story which has the emotional impact of this one, you can't help but want more and to feel a little cheated when you don't get it.
That aside, however, Freaks of the Heartland is a pretty damn good graphic novel. The story grabs you; there is a strong message but it doesn't clobber the reader over the head; and the graphics are, to say the least, stunning.
As a tale of horror, Freaks of the Heartland is more Mary Shelley than HP Lovecraft. Its message is one of tolerance and acceptance and that sometimes it is hard to know who the real monsters are. if you're looking for a gorefest with lots of action and blood, you might want to give this one a pass. But if you like graphic novels with gorgeous graphics and an intelligent (albeit abrupt) storyline, Freaks is definitely worth the time.