Freaks of the Heartland

Title: Freaks of the Heartland
Author: Steve Niles
Pub: 2005; Dark Comics
Pages: 170
Genre: Comics, Horror
Etc: Huge thanks to Dark Comics and NetGalley

I woke up around 4AM crazy wide awake.  Like, I fed the cats, puttered around, poured some OJ, debated about brewing a pot of coffee sorta AWAKE.  I generally don't read in the mornings because I hate getting suckered into a book only to have to break away and enter the world of accountability so immediately afterwards.

Plus, I'm not much of a morning person.

Still.  I didn't want to watch the tele.  Being a longtime fan of Dark Comics I remembered I had a couple of their books on the IPad for viewing.  Sold.

But this is the conundrum.  The images - the illustrations - are exquisite.  Seriously.  This man is an artist!  I would blow up some of these pieces, regardless of their dark overtones, and hang them up in the house. (1)

These are pictures that you can walk into.  And if this was a coffee table book with the pictures only? High to the five, yes!  But it's not.  And the story?  Well, I just felt as though it's been done before even though I still have not settled on where or when or how.  

The story?  It's implied that every family has a horrific spawn trapped somewhere on their property.  Evidently, in this small middle of nowhere town, all of the womenfolk became pregnant all at once and birthed this atrocious beings.  (I'm a big horror fan...so picture The People Under the Stairs meets The Hills Have Eyes but with feelings).  Our narrator, Trevor,  is a young boy who is in charge of feeding his chained up brother (Will) in the barn.  One evening the father decides to put an end to the horror, ie. Will's life,  but the moment the gun gets aimed, Trevor jumps in to protect him.  And off they go running.

This is all fine and great but the story that interested me was how the womenfolk and why the womenfolk became impregnated.  Was it left open-ended so we could draw our own creative conclusions?  If that's the case and we can assume the author's purpose was to expose the trust and loyalty that these brothers share regardless of the world's view then call me heartless, but I was just not buying it.  Like I said.  The story has been told.  There was no new twist on it.  No aha moment that made me look at socialization differently.

But hell to the yeah, I appreciate the artwork. 

(1) I admit, Di probably wouldn't approve because she scares easily, but even she would get the talent.

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