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‘Harriet Tubman Demon Slayer: Vol. 1 – America’s Most Wanted’ GN (review)

Written by David Crownson
Art by Courtland Ellis, Joey Vazquez
Published by Kingswood Comics

 

The premise of Crownson’s Harriet Tubman: Demon Slayer is simple; when enslavers can’t stop the mighty ninja warrior Harriet Tubman, they enlist the help of vampires, demons, witches & werewolves to stop her. Readers join Harriet Tubman and her rebellious son, Chip as the pair must lead a family of runaways to freedom while battling an army of darkness seeking to claim the bounty on their heads.

According to David Crownson, “I just wanted to make a comic about Harriet Tubman killing racists n’ shit.”

Indeed in the pages of Harriet Tubman: Demon Slayer, author Crownson brings readers to an alternative Earth where Harriet Tubman fights racists, frees enslaved people, hunts down vampires, battles werewolves, and slays demons regularly.

Fans of Bubba Ho-Tep, a film where Elvis Presley teams up with a Black man who is President Kennedy’s reincarnation, will be familiar with this historical fiction meets the supernatural genre mashup.

This book is quite silly. Silly in a way that is both good and bad.

Good in a way that it is an easy breezy read. The characters, even the runaway slaves who are constantly imperiled, are just having fun, and that fun leaps off the page at every panel. While the book is endearing for that fun and wow factor, it is “bad” in a way where the mirth and joy create scenarios that sometimes make the book uneven. For instance, our heroine Harriet is so badass and calm under pressure that even when the odds seem insurmountable, there is no sense of dread because the elements of horror and terror are quickly overcome by comedy.

Crownson never find that right mix for a variety of reasons. The book has some exciting concepts and relationships, most notably Harriet’s relationship with her son, Chip. The art, while competent, is uneven, as many artists came together to create this graphic novel. While the art is good, the transition from artist to artist creates an environment where the book never establishes a true visual evenness and atmosphere.

Despite my problems with the book, Harriet Tubman: Demon Slayer is fun, but not compelling. Crownson fails where in comparison, a horror-comedy property like Jason Pargin’s John Dies in the End series is a well-written horror adventure that is simultaneously gut-busting hilarious while minding-bending terrifying.

Despite my criticisms of the plot and script for its simplicity, I am confident that is precisely what Crownson wanted a book where Harriet Tubman is having the time of her life “killing racists n’shit.”

Final Score: 3 out of 5

 

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