reflection

A brilliant continuation, Tales From Harrow County: The Fair Folk is an emotionally resonant and creepy horror sequel that expands on the plot and lore of Bunn and Crook's world in all the right ways.
Writing/Plot
Art
Letters

Review: TALES FROM HARROW COUNTY: THE FAIR FOLK – Consistency Is Key

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Writer Cullen Bunn, in collaboration with artist Emily Schnall, return to the realm of backwoods Appalachian magic in Tales From Harrow County: The Fair Folk. With returning series co-creator Tyler Crook on letters, this sequel mini-series is a superb piece of character and lore-driven horror. With fantastic interpersonal writing, clever world building, and fantastic art, this series is more than worthy of the series that preceded it.

“Fresh off the loss of her goblin friend to a strange portal, Bernice must weigh her responsibilities as protector of Harrow County with her desire to get her companion back safe and sound. But the past weighs heavily and the fair folk use Bernice’s and her memories against her. And something more disastrous than she could have feared may be around the corner to threaten both the worlds of humans and of haints.”

Writing & Plot

Possibly the most remarkable thing about Tales From Harrow County: The Fair Folk is Cullen Bunn’s ever-present style. The Harrow County creator is able to drop in and resume telling this world’s stories as if he never stopped writing that original series. Bernice is every bit as compelling a protagonist as Emmy was. She and Georgia’s relationship is written with insight, complexity, and care enough to make them feel real. Bunn keeps all of the reminders of the original comic’s old magic and combines them with mythology to craft new lore for this creepy yet ever-enchanting world.

Despite some of the more “mystical” elements this mini-series introduces, this is still absolutely a Southeast horror story. The peaceful yet eerie setting of Harrow will never cease to charm or send chills. Without spoiling anything, what happens here in Fair Folk is on par with the major events in the original series while taking the possibilities of this story even further. In all of this Bunn never loses that core of what makes Harrow County so special. The memorable, naturalistic dialogue from both people and haints still endears us to them and their world. The scripts for this new series stand strong with the best moments from the original comic. I cannot wait to see where Bunn takes these characters next.

Art Direction

Following up the likes of Tyler Crook on the original series and Naomi Franquiz on Death’s Choir is no easy task. Fortunately, Tales From Harrow County: The Fair Folk is visually crafted by Emily Schnall. Schnall does an excellent job of maintaining the Harrow County visual style while making it very much her own. Her interpretations of Bernice, Georgia, and others are faithful and easy to identify. She still manages to fit her own style of expression and detail into their animations and design.

Schnall makes a lasting impression with her monster designs as well. Some of Harrow’s most disturbing denizens come to life under her pencils and colors. One particular beast, the new “leader” so to speak, will stay with me as one of my favorite creatures I’ve seen in a horror comic. The town and woods of Harrow are as quaint and mysterious as ever. The simple town is as deceptively peaceful and surrounded by magics as it ever has been. Schnall’s coloring of the foliage in the backdrop of the simple wood barns and businesses is charming – yet still unsettling. Her watercolor styling aesthetically matches the work of Crook and Franquiz before her, and she makes just as great an impression as they did.

Speaking of Tyler Crook, he returns to provide letters in the series. That same iconic use of twisting, whispering fonts that vary as much as the comic’s cast does remains perfect for Fair Folk’s reading experience. Visually, this mini-series stands tall with the prior comic’s visual storytelling.

Verdict

Tales From Harrow County: The Fair Folk is a clever and brilliant continuation of the Harrow County story. Cullen Bunn scripts some of the best material in this universe thus far, continuing the character developments of its cast while expanding upon the lore in this spooky little town. Emily Schnall crafts a visual experience on par with the rest of the series’ offerings. Her detailed lines, creepy creature designs, and atmospheric watercolors stand with the best visual work in the series. Be sure to grab the final issue of this series when it hits shelves on 10/20, or the collected trade paperback in March!

Justin Munday
Reader and hoarder of comics. Quietly sipping coffee, reading, and watching sci-fi in Knoxville, TN.