Writer: Steve Niles
Art: Greg Ruth
Cover: Greg Ruth
Published by: Darkhorse Comics
Freaks Of The Heartland is a collection of Steve Niles and Greg Ruth six-issue Miniseries turned paperback. It’s a tale of a rural town in the Midwest of Gristlewood Valley, a place where the townspeople have been keeping a secret for many years. Trevor, a boy who lives with abusive father, a mother who’s deeply distressed and finally a physically deformed little brother Will. The people of Gristlewood Valley see Will as a monster and something evil but Trevor doesn’t see his little brother that way. One day their father decides to kill Will for being what he thinks is a monster, but before he can do it Trevor intervenes and escapes with Will. On their journey they discover that Will isn’t one of a kind, but that all the families of Gristlewood Valley each have a deformed kid that they treated badly. Together, Trevor,Will and others like him leave town to find a place where they can be safe and call home, All the while try to avoid the angry and fearful townsmen.
The Freaks of the Heartland is a well-written story that is very emotionally driven which is something I haven’t seen in a horror story, Overall Steve Niles and Greg Ruth tale is precisely laid out in storyboard format and would have no problem transitioning to a film. If you’re looking f or blood and gore this isn’t the book for you, even though it does have its moments when Will protects Trevor form their father. Besides that section, there’s nothing else worthy of mentioning in the filed of gore and intense violence. The biggest beef I have with the book is that it’s too short with unresolved characters, you really don’t get a sense of closure to the story at the end.
Artist Greg Ruth brings the Midwest town to life using a nice mixture of earth tones throughout the book which is perfect to my tastes, I really enjoy the use of Reds and Orange for the action pages, Ruth really captures the Midwestern landscape and did a beautiful job re-creating it.
Overall,the book is awesome for none violent horror story,I recommend this book to anyone looking for more than just blood and gore, but for a story that has real emotion and themes dealing with acceptance and discrimination you should give it a shot, believe me when I say you won’t disappointed.