The GeeksverseThe Longhunters #1

The Longhunters #1
Published on Sunday, August 7, 2011 by

Published by: Earthbound Comics
Written by: Ben Ferrari & Buck Weiss
Art by: Ben Ferrari
Lettered by: Brandon DeStefano & Niki Foxrobot
Cover by: A- Ben Ferrari w/ Victor Moya & Robekka Studios; B- Ben Ferrari w/ Victor Moya & Juha Veltti

Originally presented as a graphic novel in 2009 called Sleepbringer, creator Ben Ferrari has broken it up into two parts and renamed it The Longhunters.

The story is set in 1820 North America, a time when the “white man” is starting to encroach on the territories of the Native Americans. Tommy Shaw is an American that was raised by the Shawnee Indian tribe. A man caught between two worlds.

If it sounds fairly cliche, it is. This type of character is nothing new. From Hawkeye, from Last Of The Mohicans, to Tomahawk from DC Comics; a white man that has been raised by native americans is pretty common in literature.

And the story itself follows along those lines. A man that feels more at home in the wild then in the city, who feels himself torn between the two cultures, wanting to find a peaceful way for both to exist, but knowning that such a thing is impossible.

The main part of the story is that Shaw runs afoul of some Cherokee and accidently kills one of them. It’s here that the story starts to become something of it’s own, away from the similiarities in the characters. But it’s also here where it starts to unravel.

The Cherokee that survives names Shaw as “Sleepbringer”, a white man that brings the Great Sleep like all white men do. Shaw takes this to heart. What doesn’t work is that the encounter was not Shaw’s fault. He had tried to avoid the Cherokee and it was the Cherokee that attacked him unprovoked. The death was not Shaw’s fault. In fact, it was another Longhunter named Knox, that had even alerted the Cherokee to Shaw’s presence in their hunting territory.

The reasoning that Shaw uses for accepting the name doesn’t stand up. Overall it actually seems out of character for someone that was raised by a native american tribe. That he feels guilty, that part works, but that he takes it as far as he does feels forced.

What does work is the “culture” that is being set up with the group called Longhunters. Including Daniel Boone in the mix helps us come to an understanding of what the group is like. We all know the stories about Boone, and including him helps set the mythos and tone of the group without it having to be detailed, which would not have worked in the nature of this story. Ferrari and Weiss do a good job with that.

In fact I’d like to see more of the Longhunters themselves. The main part of the story isn’t strong, but the group of people called the Longhunters is. Having the book revolve around them more would have been better and make for a stronger book.

The art is decent. Some panels are much better then others. There’s a stiffness to the movements of the characters, but that would get better with time. The overall technical quality of the art is very sound. Decent panel layouts and story flow. Good perspective on the characters.

Ferrari makes each of the Longhunters stand out as unique, which helps make me want to learn more about the members of this groups.

The Longhunters #1 receives
3.5 out of 5

A pretty strong concept of a group of white man hunters in Native American dominated woods gets lost in a fairly cliche storyline. There’s some strong bones to the concept that would make a good book if fleshed out.

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