Review - Harvestin' Howard #1-2

What do acorn chips and werewolves have in common? At first glance, not much. Werewolves have never really been ones for munching on chips (they prefer meals of the flesh variety) and acorn chips are, well, chips. Howard Manning is a comic book creator and acorn chip purveyor that has somehow merged the two seemingly innocuous subjects together at The former is what I'm going to review today in the first two issues of Harvestin' Howard. The book is written by Manning, S. Niesen and E. Ogawa and is illustrated by Ogawa.

Don Hunter has an interesting problem where he's a werwolf. In literature this seems to happen more often than not, but his arrival seems to have come through unique circumstances. Howard's comic explains his origin in the second issue (rather than the obligatory first issue), so the first issue really just throws you into the world of Harvestin' Howard.

Don is homeless for some reason (explained in issue 2) in the first issue and has taken to being a quite annoying vagabond with a penchant for finding plants. As he's roaming the streets he comes across a little girl being accosted by another homeless person, promptin Don to transform into the werewolf and swiftly deliver savage justice. He slowly reverts to normal upon the arrival of Tony Johnson, a cop who knows about Don's affliction and the ability of wolfsbane to calm him down.

Tony's partner is slightly incredulous at the whole event (rightfully so), which leads into the second issue where we learn about Don's origin. Don was given a job at a meatpacking plant, where he witnessed the brutal death of an OSHA inspector for asking too many questions. Naturally, the greedy CEO thinks Don has to go to so he orders him killed as well. The CEO's assistant instead just has Don delivered to the desert where he encounters Harvestin' Howard, the werewolf.

And here we are. The book features murder, attempted rape and general violence, but the impact of these heinous crimes is somewhat lessened by the somewhat canned dialogue and simple art style. There's an interesting premise at hand where there seems to be a God/Devil subtext (the first issue opens with a quote from Genesis) but it's not quite fully explored just yet. It's probable that future issues will better explain why Harvestin' Howard chose Don Hunter to be a werewolf (hopefully it wasn't just have been a matter of convenience).

Editor's Note: Manning has let me know that actually Harvestin' Howard chose Don Hunter because his previous "host" was Don's grandfather, who rescued Liz, Cobb's secretary, from a street gang in defiance of Satan's orders and was killed by another harvester.

I'm not sure what the timeline is for the third issue (it appears that there are quite a few sketched out and in store for the series). The first two issues are $3.99 each if you're inclined to check them out.