Halloween is finally embraced by comic book culture (sort of).
Halloween is one of the best and most festive holidays for comic book lovers. It implicitly includes so many of the things that we love about geek culture like costumes, horror, and an abundance of art in the form of illustrated decorations as far as the eye can see.
This year on October 26th and October 27th, to further utilize the holiday, Diamond, and a bunch of your favorite comics publishers, put on Halloween ComicFest, which is essentially another installment of Free Comic Book Day. For those unfamiliar, FCBD is a day when comic book companies send free comics to local comic book stores to promote readership, and so people out there can sample new kinds of stories.
Comic books embrace Halloween, finally (sort of).
As a fan of FCBD and the promotion of comics, I was glad to see such a wide assortment of books, but as a huge fan of Halloween, I was a little disappointed. I was really hoping that the free comic books that came with Halloween ComicFest would be Halloween specials—perhaps standalone one shots, or reprints of past Halloween specials—but like Free Comic Book Day, most of the books were reprints of back issues with the ComicFest logo on it. Still, a few of the comics made an effort and it definitely paid off.
Here are the two that did it best:
Ben 10 Omniverse Halloween Special, Viz Media
Definitely my favorite of the lot, the Ben 10 Omniverse Halloween Special was simple, on theme, and very effective at capturing my interest in the Ben 10 Omniverse line of comic books. Comprised of three stories—a six-page Halloween story and a silent two-pager followed by a quick snippet of an upcoming story—this tiny sampler satisfied my Halloween sweet tooth for pumpkins, costumes, and spookiness. By the time I reached the final story teaser (which had nothing to do with Halloween) I was already so fond of the characters that I wanted to read what happens next.
Pantalones, TX : Zombinata, Archaia
A straight up Halloween special story by Yehudi Mercado, the story was very much in the spirit of Halloween. A well-crafted and simple story, the tiny twelve pager was a really great fun-sized bite of the season. The art was clean and dynamic while the story was paced very well. A recommended read!
These books made a much-appreciated attempt by choosing spookier stories and creating covers that scratch that aesthetic itch for Halloween imagery:
Sketch Monsters, Oni Press
My Little Pony, IDW Publishing
Vamplets: The Legend of the Ghost Pony, Action Lab
Batman: Li’l Gotham, DC Comics
And in the “I Wish They Did More” category:
Adventure Time, kaboom!
As a franchise that possesses such a rich continuity of vampire, zombie, and other spooky stories, Adventure Time had so much to choose from in terms of embracing this holiday, even if they just wanted to reprint a story. Instead they chose to use a story that focused on the least spooky antagonist of all-time: Magic Man (even Abracadaniel would have been better, though I’d have preferred a Marceline story). The story was fun and the art was up to Adventure Time standards, but I was disappointed that the story did not do more to embrace the atmosphere. Still, definitely not a bad read for the price!
Happy Halloween everybody!