The Hunter is more in line with an animated short, in fact if it were an animated short it would be fantastic. As a short story it’s mostly fantastic, but stumbles with its pacing at times. It follows the story of the Fourth Earl of Reisenskog and his obsession for hunting. We see him at an early age with his father firing a gun and killing for the first time and the narrative informs us that he cared for little else from that day on. Now an adult he throws rich parties and basically spends the fortune left for him hosting and hunting. One day he announces that he will kill one of every creature on the globe. He sets out on that task, but of course there’s more to the story.
I don’t know if everyone will find the tale as predictable as I did, but it was for me. Now predictable isn’t bad in this instance because I was still interested in finishing the story and really enjoyed the artwork. It was just that one aspect of the ending I did see coming, but it was everything after that was a surprise.
The writing is solid. The narration does a lot of the work as there isn’t a lot of dialogue and that’s for the better. It really wouldn’t match the story very well to have a lot of dialogue going on and it makes the Earl’s few speaking moments all the more important. That again is what made it feel like a cartoon as it reminded me of Disney’s The Legend of Sleep Hallow. It also shares some kinship to Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven. I’m not going to make some huge leap in logic on it, just that it had glimmers of it if nothing else.
The artwork itself reminded me more of a European style of artwork which personally I really enjoy. The Earl has huge ears and broom straight red hair to go with his oversized nose. Everything is exaggerated with the facial features, but it works for the story. There are a lot of made up or possibly exaggerated animals as well and they add a wonderful flair of imagination to the story. It keeps it from being a simple big game hunter story as it shows that this world is different from our own.
The Hunter is short and sweet and maybe it’s really not trying to hide it’s ending from you at all. Even though it’s short, I enjoyed it and found myself flipping through it a few times to soak it all in and especially to enjoy the artwork. As far as short stories goes, it’s successful and should be enjoyed.
The Hunter Writer/Artist: Joe Sparrow Publisher: Nobrow Press Price: $6.50 Release Date: 5/12/15 Format: Trade Paperback; Print