Frank at Home on the Farm is a new series from Scout Comics that has been accurately dubbed equal parts The Shining and Twin Peaks. It’s a mystery focusing on a man back from World War I only to find his family is missing from their farm. Scout Comics may be a small publisher, but they have big stories to tell, like Children of the Grave just last week and Yasmeen to name two recent releases. This series is yet another shining example of that.
Written by Jordan Thomas and drawn by Clark Bint, this is a story that is unsettling, lonesome, and mysterious. One might surmise Frank, the lead character, has something wrong with him, but after having no luck finding his family soon discovers the nearby townsfolk have never even heard of his family name, let alone known about his farm. Something is up, and Thomas and Bint do well to make every frantic moment of Frank’s search for his family that much more nerve-racking. You’re effectively drawn into Frank’s predicament because nothing makes sense, and yet there are hints something is going on with the animals at his farm.
That’s where the book works splendidly, because, like Frank, you’ll assume the animals are simply innocent beasts, and that’s crazy talk. With opportune close-ups of Frank’s sweaty head or shocked eyes, you’re transported into his shoes and are seriously freaking out about his situation. Things get all the stranger when Frank asks a police officer for help and a nearby dog happily playing with a little girl becomes ravenous. Splicing in scenes from Frank’s time in the war, the memories haunt Frank and by extension the reader. There’s enough here where you know there are answers, you just need to keep reading to find them.
Bint’s art is, for lack of a better word, incredible. Its play with shadow and light, its texture, and its ability to capture truly unnerving imagery in plain as day moments is impeccable. The style has a clean and realistic look on flesh, but a detailed nature on the outskirts similar to Richard Corben. There is a cartoonist styling to the characters that renders them believable but also a bit outlandish, which allows for bigger facial expressions that maximize the weirdness. This further makes Frank at Home on the Farm crawl under your skin and make you question everything you see.
The play of shadow and light is a big part of why this book works on a nightmarish scale, from literal nightmare fuel imagery to a quiet scene with an old man. Bint is doing great work here.
Knowing it’ll be two months before the next issue comes out (Scout Comics has implemented a new strategy), this issue doesn’t quite give readers enough to guess at what is going on. If you’re a fan of Twin Peaks you’ll dig the vibe, but anyone looking to start piecing this puzzle together is going to have to wait a while to get a thread to cling to.
Frank at Home on the Farm is one of the best comics you’ll find on the shelf this week. It’s not only expertly drawn, but intense in its unnerving nature. Like a horrific daydream you can’t escape, Frank at Home on the Farm is a horror story that lives on the fringes of the imagination.