An urban legend superhero is hard to believe.
“The Harvester” is a supernatural crusader that had been battling criminals through many decades, but leaving witnesses and bodies behind. The ten-issue series is written by Brandon Seifert (“Witch Doctor,” “Hellraiser: The Road Below”) and artwork from Eric Battle (“Spider-Man,” “Godzilla: Awakening”).
Here’s the synopsis:
Since the dawn of time, mischievous troublemakers have been warned of his wrath, scholars have searched for traces of his existence and evildoers have been tormented by the unstoppable force that goes by a single name: The Harvester.
Some say he is nothing more than a folktale, an urban legend, a ghost story we tell our children. Others believe this nightmarish enforcer has been battling wickedness in our world for centuries, taking justice into his own savage hands. The time has come for the truth to be revealed.
Two rebellious investigators embark on a dangerous mission to uncover the mystery behind The Harvester. As they piece together his bloody path through history, a sinister force of darkness is unveiled that threatens every soul on Earth.
The first issue, which is 24 pages with a retail price of $3.99 is now available.
Latino-Review had an exclusive phone interview with writer Brandon Seifert on this special comic series with Legendary Comics.
Read the full transcript below.
Latino-Review: Brandon, tell me on how you came up with the idea called, “The Harvester.”
Brandon Seifert: “The Harvester” actually didn’t start with me. “The Harvester” started as one of the ideas from Thomas Tull, CEO of Legendary, had come up with. Thomas is a really big fan of comics, geeky movies, fantasy fiction and science fiction. Over the years, he came up with lots of his own ideas for things he would like to see in comics and movies. He brought in a couple of writers so far to take the ideas he had come up with, flush them out and turn them into actual creations.
The first one he did like that was with the “Tower Chronicles” with Matt Wagner. “The Harvester” is another one like that. It’s based on the idea that Thomas came up with and a lot of concepts came directly from him.
Thomas came up with this framework and then Legendary’s Bob Schreck brought me in to work with Thomas and flush it out for an actual comic series. A lot of stuff in “The Harvester” came from me with the ideas I’ve suggested, but the core stuff came from Thomas.
Latino-Review: So Thomas is like a co-writer in the series. Did you sit down with him for an interview and then ran with his ideas?
Brandon Seifert: Yeah, that pretty much on how it worked. The brought me down to Burbank a few times. I sat down with Thomas and talked about this at length. Early on, it was just him explaining his ideas on these characters and this world. As the process went on, I was taking on what he had given me to take my own spin on it or figuring out new stuff on how to frame it.
So initially, it was him sharing the ideas that he already had with me. Pretty quickly it became more of a collaborative thing. Simply following and exchanging ideas.
Latino-Review: Tell me about this character called The Harvester. Obviously, he’s some kind of urban legend character that you guys hashed up, right?
Brandon Seifert: It’s not a very accurate way to describe it, but it’s the best that I got. Outwardly, he’s sort of this supernatural vigilante. I think it’s more accurate to say that he’s more of metaphysical black-op agent. He is this Special Forces kind of soldier who is working for whoever they are and for whatever reason—they have their own interest in what humanity does and what direction the world goes. The Harvester basically is their agent on Earth to influence on what happens with us.
There are many jobs for The Harvester. It involves a lot of assassinations. And in some cases, it may involve some bodyguard work. He may be protecting some individuals. Usually the way he ended up protecting people by maiming of killing a lot of other people who are going to hurt them.
Like I said, it is like a supernatural vigilante kind of thing. But, the way the urban legend stuff comes in is with this real supernatural force that had existed and told down through a number of decades. He’s more than a hundred years old. How old he actually is unclear in the beginning of the series? Some people knew he exists and he left this substantial body count, a bunch of physical evidences and some witnesses. There are all these urban legends that had grown up around him all over the world. He is kind of known, but he is known for the bunch of different stories that people tell. That is our viewpoint when we go into this series.
We got a couple of characters looking at him—not as a real thing, but as the idea in their stories that people tell each other. More as potentially as a disguise that actual human criminals use to hide their actions.
Latino-Review: Tell me about the other characters. You have one who apparently appears to be a college instructor and another as a journalist/private detective. Am I correct?
Brandon Seifert: Vicky is not actually a college teacher. She is an anthropology grad student. She is studying anthropology and folklore/urban legends. “The Harvester” and the legend surrounding it are part of her thesis project. As far as Vicki is concerned is what’s interesting about The Harvester is that usually in urban legends—bad things happen to good people. In urban legends, it’s not usually the bad people getting on what they deserve. It’s with people who didn’t anything wrong. They’re getting punished and screwed by the universe.
On what she found interesting was that The Harvester stories are not like that. It’s generally about bad people getting really messed up by this thing. She looked at it sort like this boogeyman for criminals. She saw everything different in that way. He classmates and her colleagues don’t see it in the same way. They believed that she’s wasting her time.
She ended up Justin, who is also investigating The Harvester. Like you said, he is a freelance investigative journalist, but also a freelance private investigator. In part, investigative journalist and being a private investigator—there’s a degree of overlap in effect. The other sense is that Justin is the guy who likes money. What his job description is based on who is paying him.
Vicki has been looking at The Harvester in the context of the stories that people are telling about through the decades. Whereas Justin is looking at The Harvester as with the police reports and the crime scenes that had taken place with unexplained or unsolved murders. All of them had these rumors that The Harvester was involved with.
The two of them ends up to team up with their perspectives in trying to investigate on what’s going on with The Harvester. Of course, neither of them thinks that it’s remotely supernatural. It’s total supernatural.
Latino-Review: Absolutely. Tell me the look of The Harvester. The ragged clothes. Top hat. Half-naked most of the time.
Brandon Seifert: [Chuckles] The Harvester’s image was an idea that Thomas had which was a very clear image in his head on what he should look like. From the very first time I’d talked with him, he could see the height and the bodily proportions. He’s this tall, lanky guy with an Abraham Lincoln build. The hat and the coat were very important to him.
When we get into The Harvester’s backstory, we’ll get into his secret origins. There’s a specific place and a specific region that Thomas wanted him to be from for specific reasons. The Harvester’s look is basically from a specific time in a specific region.
With the tattered clothes and shirt torn opened, there are reasons for that too. He also got that symbol on his chest. We’ll get into that soon.
Latino-Review: Well, I’m glad I’ve noticed it. How many issues are you planning for this run?
Brandon Seifert: For The Harvester, it’s a ten-issue story arc. I’ve written two of them already. So those two [issues] are done and telling one big over-arching story. And after that, I don’t know. It’s open-ended in part from the nature of the character. It’s like Batman, when his mission will never be done. There’s no scenario in which he’s going to win and then just retire. There’s always the setup for more stories and more adventures for him.
The overall storyline I’ve written is a contained story with a beginning, middle and end. There are big and important stuff that doesn’t get tied up immediately towards the end of it. There are certainly a lot of potentials to continue it after those issues.
Latino-Review: Tell about working with the artist to come up with this very horror-centric type of art. It’s very gory and violent in my opinion.
Brandon Seifert: Yes, absolutely. The art and the tone of the story is an interesting balancing act, because Thomas envisioned it as very violent, very graphic and dark. But, it wasn’t strictly a horror thing. It was more actioned-based than to be a horror. This was something he was very clear and very adamant about. He brought it up repeatedly.
It’s definitely horror flavored with a dark supernatural story. But, really it’s a paranormal action series than a straight forward horror story. I think the artwork really helps with that. Eric Battle does do really good gritty, messy, violent, gory stuff. He also got this traditional superhero art bent to his work.
I’ve always thought of The Harvester as Superman meats Candyman. You got this dark violent urban legend thing and muscled out with this superhuman crusader. By enlarge, he’s on the side of the good guys. I think Eric’s art is a really good balance from those two genres.
Latino-Review: Now, you’re more of a horror writer, right? Did you have to come up with a different approach with this?
Brandon Seifert: For me, the book that I’ve broken into the industry with was “Witch Doctor,” which is a horror medical drama. Evidently, I did it well enough that it managed to convince everybody that I’m this big horror fan and writer. I do like horror a lot. I really enjoy doing it, but there are a lot of other genres that I like as much as [horror]. I would like to do more them too. Honestly, besides things that are horror-ish and supernatural, I’m more of a fan of urban fantasy and dark fantasy stuff. And for action, I really like superheroes—action characters with superhero powers.
This is more in my wheelhouse than doing something like Hellraiser, which I did with Clive Barker for a while. That was pretty much straight ahead horror. That was pretty difficult for me. I kept trying to put more action in and some jokes.
In this case, it worked a lot of muscles that are pretty familiar with me. I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel as far as my working process on this.
Latino-Review: Could you talk about any other future projects beside “The Harvester” you may have?
Brandon Seifert: I got a five-issue miniseries from IDW in March called “The Fly Outbreak.” It’s the sequel to the David Cronenberg/Jeff Goldblum film “The Fly,” a classic horror movie from the 80s. It’s really a sequel to the original movie, but it’s set in the modern day. I’ve had a lot of fun from taking the scenes and lot of the elements from the original and transposing them into 2015—to see on how they would look now. I’m really excited about that and I think that’s going to look pretty cool.
Otherwise, I got several other projects are in various stages of production. They’re all going to be pretty cool. Right now, they’re all under the radar and no official word on them yet.
Latino-Review: Awesome. Thanks a lot, Brandon, for this conversation. And good luck.
Brandon Seifert: Thank you. I appreciate the time and support.
First issue of “The Harvester” is available this week from Legendary Comics. Visit your digital comic web site or comic book store today.