Archive for the ‘Halloween’ Category

Posted Monday, October 31st, 2022 by Barry

Batman The Long Halloween (1996) 1

Chapter One: Crime

Like a scene from the Godfather, Batman the Long Halloween opens with a wedding acting as a backdrop rather than the focus of the scene.

Crime Lord Carmine Falcone wishes to enlist socialite Bruce Wayne in helping him launder money. The pillar of Gotham refuses, taking his leave to allow Falcone to ponder the future of the organization.

Batman The Long Halloween (1996) 1

Later, Batman returns to investigate the house where he finds Catwoman pilfering the safe. They are able to evade guards who discover their presence, each going their separate ways.

Batman joins Police Commissioner Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent as they agree to take down Falcone. Through underground intelligence Dent personally destroys a Falcone warehouse safekeeping millions of dirty dollars.

His civic diligence is met with a package bomb sent to his house on Oct. 31, Halloween. It detonates when Dent attempts to open it, leaving a raging house fire and the reader wondering what’s to come as the first chapter closes.

The opening storyline clocks in at 48 pages, setting the stage, though the remainder of the run, less the final issue, is a standard 23 pages.

Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale authored the maxi series as the monthly holidays were observed during the 13-issue journey.

The series is said to be an indirect sequel to Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One. Batman and his contemporaries are all starting out, early in their careers. The city is as much a character as it was in Miller’s story. Batman’s rogue’s gallery can be seen graduating from evil doers to the villains they are today.

Though released 25 years ago, the story is still highly regarded, finding its way into other sections of the Batman mythos. The Long Halloween is credited with influencing Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy as well as portions of the final season of Gotham.

Currently a direct-to-video film adaptation of the series is in the works. It has been decided to make it a two parter the way Batman: The Dark Knight Returns was.

It has been collected in trade paperback, Absolute Edition and graphic novels.

Return for Thanksgiving as we review the series during the finish of this and the coming year as we count down the holidays and books.

Posted Sunday, October 30th, 2022 by Barry

Scooby-Doo (1997) 137

Scott Peterson pens a trifecta of terror tales for the 2008 Halloween issue of Scooby-Doo.

Horror host the Crypt-Reaper opens the book with The Terror of Transylvania. Mystery Inc. find themselves in a spooky castle seeking help for the ailing Mystery Machine. Their vampiric host isn’t what he appears to be and the gang is treated to an impromptu concert.

Mad Science has the gang caught between rioting villagers and a good doctor attempting to create artificial life. All is well that ends well when the two parties come to an understanding.

Finally, Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby are strapped to a table as they live the Pit and the Pendulum story with their version, The Perilous Pendulum. Scooby saves the day at the last minute.

Scooby-Doo (1997) 137

Spoiler:  the emcee Crypt-Reaper is revealed to be Shaggy filming a Halloween home movie.

Halloween has roots in the festival of Samhain, a Celtic ritual in ancient Britain and Ireland. It was believed the souls of the dead would return home during the Samhain festival. Bonfires were lit to scare away evil spirts. Masks and disguises were worn so as not to be recognized by ghosts.

When the Romans conquered the Celts in the first century, other festivals were added including Feralia commemorating the passing of the dead.

Pope Boniface IV moved All Saints’ Day from May 13 to Nov. 1 in an attempt to usurp what was perceived as a pagan holiday. The evening before became known as a holy, or hallowed, evening becoming Halloween.

It was not until the middle of the 19th century Halloween took hold in America. By the following century, the festival become a major holiday.

The average American spends in excess of $100 on Halloween every year. As many as 148 million participate in one form or another. It is second only to Christmas.

Posted Friday, October 28th, 2022 by Barry

Avengers Halloween Special (2018) 1

Welcome to another October.

For us, this means 31 days of hauntingly good – we hope – horror comic books. To begin our alternative advent of scary goodness we’re looking at the Avengers Halloween Special released four years past.

Featured are heavy hitters Daredevil, Doctor Doom, Deadpool, Captain America, Iron Man, Punisher and Wolverine. Each are the focus in this hit-and-miss collection of creepy chronicles.

Most are misses, but The Thing From Another Time is the showstopper. Tony Stark enlists the talents of Deadpool and Colossus to recover his father’s greatest weapon.

Avengers Halloween Special (2018) 1

This retelling of the 1951 classic – later reimagined by John Carpenter – does the original justice. Right down to the frosty finish pitting Iron Man against the elements and the past as the blizzard begins.

The Eyes Have It steals from Japanese horror cinema’s Gin gwai (The Eye). Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil, is given the gift of sight. Not till the end of the short thriller does he learn his benefactor is anything but benevolent.

The Fantastic Four are next up with Victor Von Doom as the voice of reason in this story somewhat reminiscent of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Cameos by Black Widow, Thor, Hulk, Captain America Iron Man and Bullseye.

Frank Castle stars in Punisher of the Opera.

More filler, but admirable for the attempt.

Haunted Mansion is Wolverine’s vehicle, though he appears more in a cameo appearance in his own story. Short and to the point, the ghosts in this story appear friendlier to the reader than the trio of trick-or-treaters who stumble upon the tale.

Marvel gets points for publishing a Halloween special, though better have come before. Pick it up and prove my opinion wrong. Sometimes it’s just nice to have something remembering the month.

Posted Wednesday, October 26th, 2022 by Barry

Marvel Super Hero Squad (2011) 10

Halloween is meant to be fun.

A little scary, but fun.

And, fun is what Marvel Super Hero Squad issue 10 is all about.

Marvel Super Hero Squad began as a toy line for the younger Marvelite. It branched into an animated series and various comic book lines over the years, all designed to sell the licensed likenesses.

Marvel Super Hero Squad (2011) 10

But, enough about the commercial side.

Marvel Super Hero Squad issue 10 celebrates Halloween with a majority of the Marvel U population. In the first part of the book, Whomsoever Knows Fear…!      Dr. Doom sends M.O.D.O.K, Crimson Dynamo, the Toad, Whirlwind and the Abomination after a meteor fractal – whatever that is – on Halloween eve.

To combat the evil doers, Iron Man, Silver Surfer, Thor, Hulk, Reptil and Falcon, all representing Marvel’s 1970s horror serials, Tomb of Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Living Mummy (Supernatural Thrillers), Werewolf by Night and Brother Voodoo (Strange Tales), respectively; set off the thwart the evil doers.

The Man-Thing rounds out the creepy comics representatives of years gone past by helping the heroes. His aid does not go unrewarded as a bag of candy is currency enough for the exchange of the fallen fractal – whatever that is.

Next up is Halloween Party at the Baxter Building!

Host Reed Richards discovers a party crasher amidst the invited guests, but doesn’t know which costumed reveler it could be. The quartet make their rounds talking to the party goers trying to discover the imposter.

Attendees include Thor as Little Red Riding Hood, a carryover from the previous story; Tigra and She-Hulk celebrating some of the Alice in Wonderland cast; Ant-Man and Wasp as salt and pepper shakers, Captain America as Uncle Sam, various X-Men as members of the Wizard of Oz, etc.

Finally, the FF discover M.O.D.O.K to be the floating jack-O-lantern who is literally booted from the party.

Back at Castle Doom, the deed holder is having his fun scaring the kids knocking on his door seeking candy. Until, he finds a mini-version of himself. Delighted with the adoration, he gives the trick-or-treater the rest of his candy and invites him to return next year.

Mini-Doom is reveled to be the Mole Man.

Yeah, Marvel Super Hero Squad is designed for ages seven to 14, but this seasonal story is too cute not to recognize. The plot is simplistic, but there are a few cookies tossed to the Marvel faithful of all ages.

Posted Thursday, October 20th, 2022 by Barry

Army of Darkness Halloween Special (2018)

Cult classic The Evil Dead was resurrected yet again for the 2018 Dynamite Halloween special, Ash vs. The Army of Darkness: Scared Shipless.

Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell embody the horror franchise. Raimi envisioned the original, a low-budget thriller costing an estimated $375,000 that eventually grossed $29.4 million worldwide.

The film was released in 1981 to generally critical praise. Stephen King lauded the film as one of his favorite movies.

It earned a continued life on video cassette, especially in the UK. During its first week of release the film raked in over 100,000 pounds. By year’s end, it was the best-selling VHS outgrossing heavy weight films such as The Shining.

Army of Darkness Halloween Special (2018)

Evil Dead 2 was released in 1987 with Raimi co-writing and directing and Campbell back as the lead, Ash.

The sequel continued to operate in the black and garner respect from critics. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the movie three out of four stars.

The pair reunited again in 1992 for Army of Darkness. The third installment earned $21.5 million on an $11-million investment.

It, also, received high marks from most critics and continued the cult classic status as with the original two films.

Since then, the franchise has expanded to other media such as video games, comic books, a musical and a television series.

In Scared Shipless, Ash is lured to Charles Town, South Carolina, to fulfill of prophesy written in blood three centuries before.

As the “chosen one,” Ash’s life force awakens the spirit of Blackbeard the Pirate. The titular hero’s impromptu date ruins the would-be revolt of ghostly pirates and current day Charles Town, SC, is safe for another tourist season.

Cemetery Man is a short follow up allowing Ash to play over-the-hill hero to a group of partying millennials.

To paraphrase Ash, “Happy Halloween, Boneheads.”

Posted Tuesday, October 18th, 2022 by Barry

A Very DC Halloween (2019)

The DCU celebrated Halloween 2019 with a trade paperback of reprint material issued the previous two years entitled A Very DC Halloween.

The first half of the trade is pulled directly from DC House of Horror (2017).

Keith Giffen gives readers Bump in the Night with a retelling of Superman’s arrival on Earth. This time it doesn’t end well.

His next offering is a slasher tale featuring the ghost of Wonder Woman in Man’s World.

Another ghost story, Crazy for You, features Harley Quinn haunting a man into killing his wife.

The Last Laugh is more original as Giffen debates the yin and yang of vigilantism.

Blackest Day is a zombie apocalypse on Earth with plot by Giffen and script by Brian Keene.

Ronald Malfi scripts Giffen’s Stray Arrow with Green Arrow as a vigilante killer.

A Very DC Halloween (2019)

Two-Face is featured in Unmasked, a story by Giffen and Wrath James White.

Uttering Shazam takes the speaker to darker realms in The Possession of Billy Batson.

Swamp Thing stars in The Spread, as taken from Swamp Thing Halloween Horror Giant issue one. This Walmart exclusive was a 100-page special offered in 2018 with an original story followed by reprints from previous Halloween specials.

The remainder of this book is filled with stories from 2018’s Cursed Comics Cavalcade in the order they originally appeared, the first being Gorehound.

Batman saves the final girl who – spoiler – is really the killer.

Siren Song is a tale of myth and mystery starring Wonder Woman.

Alien zombies spoil Guy Gardner’s vacation in Life Sentence.

Demon Etrigan possesses a man a woman hires Jason Blood to find in Yellow Jack.

A ghost from the Phantom Zone haunts Lois and Clark in Strange Visitor.

The Monster in Me pits a doppelganger of Green Arrow against himself on a long, hot night.

Black Lightning and Katana get some love in Mercy Killing as they protect a young girl from a demon.

An unlikely pairing of Solomon Grundy and Robin share top billing in The Devil You Know. Professor Pyg threatens three runaway girls under the protection of Grundy.

Finally, Halloween Hayride is a simpler story showcasing Zatanna. The magic mistress plies her trade to stop an older brother from scaring his sister.

With this many stories to pick and choose from, there are plenty of tricks and treats.

Posted Sunday, October 16th, 2022 by Barry

Archie Halloween Blowout 2 Rise of the Monsters (2013)

Archie and gang were trotted out for a second dose of holiday horror with the 2013 follow up, Archie Halloween Blowout 2 Rise of the Monsters.

This digital exclusive begins with the 21-page The Riverdale Weirdleys told in four parts, The Riverdale Weirdleys, Ghoulish Games!, Sinister Celebration and Fearsome Finale!; in which the Weirdley family searches for their grandfather’s missing treasure.

The story was originally told in World of Archie issue five 20 years before it was reprinted.

Goosebumped, as retold from Archie’s Double Digest Magazine 97, has a lionhearted Archie bragging how scary movies are anything, but scary – until he has the house all to himself.

Riverdale becomes Woodsboro, kinda, in a parody of Scream called Shriek!

The Archie’s Weird Mysteries retread from issue two of 2000 features a much kinder Ghost Face as the title character tracks down the puzzle posed by his appearance.

Reggie’s monster-sized ego is dissected in Egology. The story first appeared in Tales from Riverdale Digest 37.

Animal Antics is a one-page gag featuring Veronica and Archie.

Sabrina gives Monster Advice to, well, monsters as she lands a job with Magic Times. The love loran find it worth their wile to listen to the young columnist as they gather for their big day.

Betty bases her costume on necessity more than desire to wrangle a wayward Archie as she shops for her Halloween apparel.

Westward Ho hails from Archie & Friends Double Digest 18.

They Mystery of Dr. Klaws is an 11-page turner pitting purr against claw as Archie and Veronica fight their way free of a demented scientist with an unhealthy obsession for felines.

Dr. Klaws was first featured in Life with Archie 248.

Archie Halloween Blowout 2 Rise of the Monsters (2013)

Archie and Jughead perform a good deed to help an old man in The House on Oak Street as told in two parts originally hailing from Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals Double Digest Magazine issue 48.

An over active appetite leaves Jughead holding the (empty) bag in Gobblin’ Goblin from Archie’s Pal Jughead Comics 111.

Chiller is a behind-the-scenes stab at Michael Jackson’s Thriller, only with a real line up of Universal monsters.

This was taken from Betty and Veronica Double Digest Magazine 72.

Sabrina takes readers back a couple decades in Air Flair, originally printed in Archie and Me 146. The one-page gag couples modern technology and ancient wizardry for the punchline.

Legend has it Mr. Lodge’s new Haunted Beach House is bedeviled. Veronica, Betty and Archie investigate only to find rumors are given weight by those who believe in them.

The story first appeared in Betty and Veronica Comics Digest Magazine 122.

Horror hosts and haunted houses make up the bulk of Midnight Madness. Neither make Archie happy in this rehash from Archie Annual Digest 39.

Posted Friday, October 14th, 2022 by Barry

Archie Halloween Blowout (Pep Digital 25 – 2012)

At 113 pages, readers can forgive the retread material from previous Riverdale adventures.

Archie and friends rehash Halloween tales beginning with Halloween Scene pulled from World of Archie Digest issue 72. In this seven-page story, rival Reggie attempts to undermine Betty and Veronica’s time with the ginger-haired star of the book. His monstrous machinations backfire when Archie’s adorable apparel gives him the edge in amour.

Costume Brawl is a Betty and Veronica vehicle culled from Betty and Veronica Double Digest 216. The pair must learn to get along as they shop for Halloween costumes together.

The Archies are reunited for a reunion concert in Haunted Helpers from Archies Pals ‘n’ Gales Double Digest 145. The ghosts of concert hall past can rest easy with a new generation to carry on the musical message.

Cheryl Blossom guests in Identity Crisis. Her scheme to steal a kiss from Archie works, but leaves the hapless red head dazed and confused.

Jughead foils a business venture when food outweighs his fear in House of Fright. The story first appeared in Jughead’s Double Digest 116.

Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, stars in the next two tales. Oh, What Knight debuted in Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals Double Digest 145. The junior enchantress travels down the time stream to be at two parties at the same time.

Archie Halloween Blowout (Pep Digital 25 – 2012)

In A Monstrous Halloween, first printed in Betty and Veronica Double Digest Magazine 267, Sabrina finds it is what meets the eyes that’s important.

Betty and Veronica find Party Poopers come in all ages. The story first appeared in the duo’s self-titled digest, issue 237.

Halloween and a horror movie marathon are always a good combo, but Archie finds it’s the guests he has to worry about in Tricks and Treats.

Who Is It? is the question at Veronica’s Halloween party. Guests are tasked to come completely disguised so no one will know who they are until the appointed time or someone guesses. Jughead and Archie’s monkey business leaves both wondering what to do next in this pull from Betty and Veronica 167.

The 1992 Trick or Thief? From Archie & Friends has Archie earning just desserts for a job well done.

Veronica finds the Perfect Costume doesn’t always cover every occasion. The story first appeared in Betty and Veronica 193.

Lodge of Terror rounds out the hefty horror tome. This 1987 piece first printed in Betty and Veronica Double Digest Magazine is a lengthy 18 pages. Veronica enlists the aid of the usual gang for a scare fest at her Halloween party only to be outdone by her blond buddy.

The book can be found at free through Kindle and comiXology or to buy for $1.99 at your favorite digital download site.

Posted Saturday, October 1st, 2022 by Barry

Tex Avery’s Droopy (1995) 1

Dr. Droopenstein opens the month with a shot worthy of James Whale; brooding stonework towering into the shadows as streaks of lightning announce the birth pains of bringing a monster to life.

The atmosphere quickly dissolves by the next page when headliner, Droopy, opens his mouth and the mind “hears” the laconic drawl associated with the animated character.

A cloud as real as the ones outside hangs over Droopy as he realizes his experiment has failed. But, where to find a fresh brain this time of night?

To quote Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and you shall receive…”

Tex Avery's Droopy (1995) #1

Tex Avery’s Droopy (1995) #1

Receive Droopy does, in the form of arch nemesis McWolf.

The wayward wolf is only too happy to partake of Droopy’s hospitality. Doffing his rain-soaked jacket he makes himself comfortable by the fire. His demeanor is quick to change when the plot unfolds and his host begins to chase him around the castle wanting his brain.

Droopy is able to catch his fleetfooted friend when he comes across the shapely bride wrapped in gauze. The transfer is made, but the monster finds his new mate more than he bargained for.

Rod Serling is bashed in The Violent Zone, a parody of the 1959 anthology series in the book’s second installment.

The Twilight Zone ran five seasons, 1959 to 1964. Each episode would feature a fantasy or horror aspect and offer a twist ending.

Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus, began as a novel written by Mary Shelley. The original text bore a passing resemblance to Whale’s screen adaptation.

The monster became an icon four years later when the director made Bride of Frankenstein in 1935. Bride was highly praised upon its release and was added to the United States National Film Registry in 1998. Empire Magazine selected it as one of the greatest 500 movies of all time and Time Magazine praised it as one of the top 100 movies of all time.

This version was brought to life by Brian Lemay story and pencils and is the first of a trilogy of holiday spectacles offered by Dark Horse Comics. Thanksgiving and Christmas follow.

Posted Sunday, October 31st, 2021 by Barry

The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror (2017) 23

Issue 23 not only marks the end of October, but the end of the annual Halloween specials from Fox’s first family.

The beginning of the end borrows from the King of horror with IT Happens! Homer, Marge, Carl, Lenny and Barney find a television favorite is haunting their waking dreams. They finally defeat their demon only to have him return in adulthood.

If this sounds familiar, IT should.

The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror (2017) 23

The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror (2017) 23

Stephan King’s IT began as a novel released in 1986. The 1,200-page tome is King’s 22nd, and based on an idea planted in 1978. He wouldn’t put pen to paper until 1981.

IT became a two-part television mini-series in 1990 airing in November for sweeps month. ABC gambled $12 million on the project and earned huge returns. IT became the network’s biggest success of the year with 30-million viewers tuning in for the Losers’ Club’s exploits.

The novel was adapted for the big screen and released in 2017 and 2018 to mixed reviews.

Next up is Marge’s story in A Fungus Among Us. It’s up to the Simpson matriarch to save the family from an invasion from space.

Bringing the book to a close is Curse of the Cat Lady.

Comic Book Guy finds himself inheriting the traits of our four-legged friend due to a gypsy curse placed on him for his carelessness.

This story bears a passing resemblance to Sam and Ivan Rami’s 2009 horror thriller Drag Me to Hell. The film passed through theaters opening at number four. It also received the Best Horror Film nod at the 2009 Scream Awards and 2010 Saturn Awards. At the box office it earned a respectable $90 million.

With the final issue of the printed version of Treehouse of Horror in hand, it’s only appropriate to talk about the source material.

The televised Treehouse of Horror tradition began Oct. 25, 1990, during The Simpsons’ second season.

Since then, the airings have become anticipated events. Each episode is usually made up a three, separate parodies. The openings are unique in themselves, almost making up a fourth segment.

The only interruptions to the episodes were due to Fox Network’s coverage of the World Series. At least two of the episodes aired in November.

No matter when the episode airs, it is among the top-rated shows of the season. In addition to the fan support, several episodes have been honored with awards.

So, with our final scare released, find some left-over trick-or-treat candy and settle in with one of the 23 issues mentioned this month or find a classic Treehouse of Horrors to pop in and remember.

Happy Halloween.