Title: Freaks of the Heartland
Author: Steve Niles
Art: Greg Ruth
Publisher: Dark Horse Books, Milwaukie, OR.
Publication Date: 2021
Genre: Graphic Novel – Horror
Reviewer: Stephen Harris
Set in a small midwestern town Freaks of the Heartland is the latest offering from Steve Niles, author of 30 Days of Night.
It focuses on family relationships and how secrets have a tendency to grow and create their own mythology.
Brothers Trevor and Owen flee an overbearing father, looking to find peace wherever they can, and gather a small band of freaks looking for the same sanctuary.
As such the book follows the journey motif and the small band are pursued by their father and law enforcement.
Niles does not shy away from criticising small-town patriarchy and the fear of the future as well as showing the irrationality of inhuman behaviour.
Both brothers have their own special traits.
Trevor is a caring leader while Owen is a protector and tortured soul with seemingly unnatural abilities.
The character of Maggie adds dimension to the tale and artist Greg Ruth creates scenes that speak volumes with the slightest of character expressions, a marvellous talent, and a joy to ponder over each frame.
Winner of the Graphic Novel Spectrum Gold Award, Freaks of the Heartland is a fantastic read.
I’m certainly pleased that Steve Niles is working hard to revive the reputation of the horror genre.
Other stories: Author Heather Morris to visit Bundaberg Library