"Grave Sight: Book One" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James "Spez" Ferguson
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Written by Charlaine Harris & William Harms
Illustrated by Denis Medri
2011, 64 Pages
Graphic Novel Released on June 7th, 2011
If there's one thing that can be said for the creators in the field of horror, it's that they're hard workers. When you have a hit series on your hands, you don't just sit around counting your money (I'm looking at you, J.K. Rowling). You get out there and you make another one. Such is the case with Charlaine Harris, creator of the Sookie Stackhouse series which are the books that HBO's hit series True Blood is based on. Harris has written a new series called Harper Connelly Mysteries which are now being adapted into comics by Dynamite Entertainment. Grave Sight is the first volume to get this treatment.
Grave Sight follows Harper and Tolliver Connelly, siblings with a unique entrepreneurial sense. Harper has a special ability. Years ago she was struck by lightning and ever since she's been able to hear the dead. She can't talk to them but she can receives a vision showing how they died. The pair go around helping people (for a price) and try not to stay in the same place too long.
Unfortunately for Harper and Tolliver, the folks in Sarne, Arkansas, are a pretty messed up lot. They were hired to investigate one murder but that quickly turns into a few others. When a fresh kill occurs, they're asked not to leave town any time soon. Harris sets the tone of the book early on and you can tell from the moment Harper rolls into Sarne that something is wrong. You can feel it. There's something fishy going on.
Harper's background is revealed pretty blatantly in the book. Her origin story is quick and you don't need to know much about why she's doing what she's doing. Her brother Tolliver is another matter. All we really know about him is that he cares a lot for his sister and has a penchant for banging waitresses. That doesn't make him a bad guy, but as a supporting character he's little more than a shoulder to cry on or an occasional secretary.
Denis Medri's art fits closely with the style of story that Harris has outlined here. The shadows are deep and scenes set in the daytime are a little...off. When Harper and Tolliver are in Sarne, the colors are very droll and the characters look like the life has been sucked out of them. I do have an issue with how Harper looks, though. Yes she has the ability to hear the dead, but she looks like your stereotypical goth teenager with a lip piercing, short spiky hair and big stripey socks. I don't know how well this matches up with Harris's description in the novels, but this just reeks of a lack of imagination.
I have a problem with the way that Grave Sight was released. I haven't read the book that this comic is based on, but this graphic novel consists of two chapters instead of the whole novel. I don't know how long this is planned for, but to release a comic like this that ends on a helluva cliffhanger is just mean. Part two isn't out until September.
Grave Sight: Book One sets the stage for the overall Harper Connelly Mysteries. It's a very quick read at only 64 pages with about 10 of them being behind-the-scenes looks at the creative process from script to storyboards to pages. The ending did leave me wanting more, so I'm understandably disappointed that this volume was so short.