Hillbilly follows the life of, Rondel, a boy who was born with no eyes. His superstitious Appalachian village kicked him and his unwed mother out to survive on there own in the wilderness. Where later he unwittingly helps a witch who rewards him with unnatural sight and, a weapon, the Devil’s cleaver. But with all unnatural gifts there is a steep price to pay and Rondel becomes a lone mysterious wanderer of the Appalachian countryside. The tales in this volume of Hillbilly chronicle our misunderstood folk hero’s encounters with curses, witches and other magical creatures while meeting one of Rondel’s unusual companions.
Eric Powell is the author and artist of this ongoing series, which he is self-publishing under his own label, Albatross Funny Books. Powell has won an International Horror Guild Award along with multiple Eisners for his works. He is best known for creating the series, “The Goon.” Hillbilly Vol. 1 is the compilation of the first 4 issues of this newer series which started in 2016.
Powell is an imaginative storyteller who creates interesting characters who suck the reader into his gritty southern fantasy which is equal parts horror, folktale and western. The tales are full of suspense with great moments of action. He adds just enough twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes.
Powell’s artwork surpasses his strong writing. His character design adds to the richness of the stories and even brings in a little humor to these gritty tales. These character’s greatly drawn emotions and swift motion in the action scenes enhance the storytelling. His style varies from sketchy pencil drawings to more detailed ink work. The sepia washes and very limited color palette help to create an old world feel. He uses the occasional splash of color to add to key moments of drama and action.
Hillbilly Vol. 1 is a great graphic novel to pick up for an October/Halloween read or anytime your looking for a spooky story. These horror tales are highly entertaining pieces of graphic storytelling. The expertly drawn panels of this gritty folk world will leave the reader wanting to explore more of the mysteries of Hillbilly’s southern steeped countryside, fortunately this is only the first of four Hillbilly trades that Powell has published so far.
Albatross Funny Books also publish some other Halloween worthy titles including: The Goon, MegaGhost, and Spook House.
To contact Mike Nickells on Twitter: @MikeNickellsCB