They say there are eight million stories in the city that never sleeps. There’s gotta be more in the twisted landscapes of middle America. Freaks of the Homeland is another classic from writer Steve Niles (30 Days Of Night) and Greg Ruth (Alabaster). Set in post depression/prohibition middle America, FOTH is a very dark look into the human condition through the eyes of a young boy ( Trevor).
Trevor’s monstrous little brother lives in the barn behind the house. The boy’s only six years old, but he towers over his older brother, and possesses incredible strength. For years, Trevor has looked after his baby brother, keeping him from the light, but now that’s all about to change. His family’s secret is about to be revealed, uncovering the horrible truth of the small Midwestern town the boys have grown up in.
Quiet, but intimately impactful, FOTH immediately hooks you with the relationship between Trevor and his brother Will. Taking you on their ride, as the stakes keep getting higher and higher. SPOILER’S: After thwarting the would be murder of his unique brother by Trevor’s father, the two set off to find out what happen to others like Will. Meanwhile the town, desperate to keep a lid on their secret, hunt down Will, Trevor and the others the two have found. Like Of Mice and Men or Sling Blade, FOTH does follow the typical “man-child” narrative, but with a few plot twist thrown in there. Knowing that, I was still enthralled by our protagonists and their plight. The conversations between Will and Trevor cater to the wounded child in us all. The suffering shared by the two is key in getting us to want them to succeed and Steve is a wizard at doing just that, all the way to it’s dramatic ending. Illustrator Greg Ruth is to gothic what Ralph Steadman is to Gonzo. An ace at creating the mood and pulling you into some fuck up shit with just a stroke. A master at what he does, Greg does not disappoint with FOTH. Almost too real at times, the movement and color of the characters is like looking at a photo, watching an old film or remembering a dream or nightmare. You immediately know who these people are at a glance and that’s all due to the amazing amount of detail. Steve Niles offers fresh ideas to the old mythos and blends a bit of science fiction/horror into a violently real landscape. The ending, although abrupt, offered a simple solution to a horrific past… “Keep Moving” and “Don’t look back”, but I’ll be looking back. Looking back and hoping for more FOTH from these two. Stellar work!