Monday, December 29, 2014

RISE OF THE HARVESTER: BOOK ONE by Steve McGinnis (Review)

RISE OF THE HARVESTER: 
BOOK ONE (2014)

review by AARON ALLEN

Original art and story by Steve McGinnis
Text on page one by Matthew Hancock
Additional Writing and Editing by Ryan M. Andrews
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If you're a fan of classic 80's slashers like Friday the 13th and Halloween, you'll want to read Rise of the Harvester: the new horror graphic novel series by artist Steve McGinnis

The first book, which launched at Horror-Rama 2014, gets the ball rolling with all the severed heads, gory eviscerations, and brutal kills that slasher fans crave. Although undeniably rough in the art and typography department, Rise of the Harvester: Book One is nevertheless a very satisfying tale of murder and revenge. Sequential art not for the squeamish!

Rise of the Harvester: Book One serves as a grisly introduction to our titular killer: a mysterious, hulking man in a scarecrow mask known as the Harvester. The book opens with the comatose body of a serial killer as it rides in the back of an ambulance, transported away from the closed down asylum where he once resided. The paramedic at the wheel believes the mute killer patterned his crimes on the legend of the Harvester. The Harvester, the driver explains to his rookie companion, is a lurid legend that traces his origins back to a farming community in the early 1900s where a tragic series of murders are believed to have turned a disturbed young boy into an undead, sickle-wielding madman in the tradition of Halloween's Michael Meyers or Friday the 13th's Jason Voorhees. It's a classic serial killer tale with a paranormal twist. Gorehounds will certainly get their kicks as the Harvester slices and dices his way through pages of helpless Amish farmers.

Rise of the Harvest: Book One is a very cinematic story. It wears its slasher horror movie influences on its sleeve, and the entire 44 page book flows seamlessly from panel to panel like a movie storyboard. With McGinnis's eye for panel composition and sequential storytelling, I can see Rise of the Harvester easily making the leap from the page to the screen. Unfortunately, not all of the book is so smooth. Rise of the Harvester is plagued with basic typographical errors that cast a shadow on the professionalism of the book. Also, McGinnis's art shows several rough spots where the artist's signature black-and-white style is depicted in a fashion too rigid and restrained to capture some of the emotions and movements called for in a number of the book's scenes.

If released in a second edition, I hope the typographical errors in Rise of the Harvester: Book One can be fixed because they distract from a really cool story and are an unnecessary impediment to getting this book the respect it deserves. Rise of the Harvester has the potential to be a really kick-ass indie horror comic, and I personally can't wait for the second installment.

Rise of the Harvester: Book One can be purchased directly from steveillustration.com

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