Originally, I had not heard of Earthbound Comics or The Longhunters. As a long-time fan of independent comics, I was more than willing to give it a shake. We get a chance to meet Tom Straw, the Sleepbringer, and watch his journey unfold over the course of a dozen years or so.
The first two issues are a reprint of the graphic novel originally entitled The Sleepbringer, now unavailable unfortunately. Luckily for us, the reissuing of these stories grants us a look into the life of Tom Straw and tells the story of how he came to be known as the Sleepbringer. These first issues also introduce a few of the other characters including the legendary Daniel Boone.The stories jump around in time quite a bit but really serve to enlighten the reader as to who Tom Straw really is.
Having lost his parents at the age of ten, Tom is adopted by the Shawnee and learned many of the native ways of these frontier people. Growing up in this way, he found himself often times at odds with the very tribe he had come to think of as family. This division in his life would complicate things for years to come, as we are shown several times. Coming from both worlds, but claimed by none.
The third issue is remarkably different. The stories are darker, more polarized. The art also took a starker turn with bolder lines and deeper shading in the first story. The rest of this issue has the same artistic feel as the first two issues, but it seems the linework was of greater importance this time around. You can obviously see that Ben Ferrari has really found his niche. The passion he obviously holds for his creation is really brought to life this time around. Not that he did a poor job the first time, it’s just that he seems to have grown as an artist during the last few years.
I fully support indie comics for just this reason. These folks put it on the line and delivered a great story. It may not be to everyone’s liking, genre-wise. But you cannot deny that the dialogue and action bring the story to life right in front of you. Many comics are cookie cutter superhero stories, and I like those, too. But this tells a tale of man’s struggle in the early 19th century. Nothing out of the ordinary except to show the bravery and tenacity of those first frontiersmen, those longhunters…
Buy this series, support this team. They really do a bang-up job of bringing history to life. They tell the story of a man on a journey of self-discovery. I will be keeping up with this one. I suggest you do the same.