Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mulliga's Haunted Halloween 2012 - Classic Slashers in the Comics

Another Halloween, another season of supernatural spooks and scares. As always, Shangrila Towers celebrates October with a series of ghoulish posts. This night's feature - two legendary masked horror film characters are translated into comic book form:

Halloween: Nightdance


In the original "Halloween," Michael Myers was an inscrutable monster whose motivations (if he/it even had any) are so twisted that they're unknowable. Unfortunately, the sequels saddled Myers with an elaborate backstory, making him more predictable - and less scary. If you weren't Laurie Strode, related to Laurie Strode, or in close proximity to a Strode, you were pretty much immune to The Shape.

"Halloween: Nightdance" is a comic series that's faithful to the spirit of the first movie: Michael Myers appears in a nondescript suburb and starts killing people - no explanation, no backstory, no mercy. Since Michael Myers isn't bound by any rules or conventions, "Nightdance" is darker and scarier than every "Halloween" sequel.


Writer Stefan Hutchinson and illustrator Tim Seely do a good job of telling this serial killer story, though they occasionally let the panels get mired in complexity. When the bloodletting starts, though, "Nightdance" is an adrenaline rush that gets back to the core of the "Halloween" experience - pure evil.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Wildstorm Comics)

The basic concept of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" - a family of cannibal killers in rural Texas - doesn't seem like it would generate a lot of different plot ideas, but there have been a surprising variety of interesting comics about the misadventures of the Sawyer clan.

The latest, published by Wildstorm Comics, is comprised of mini-series and one-issue specials that tell short stories from the TCM universe. It's a good tack, since the premise of TCM doesn't really hold up to prolonged inspection (Does the family pay property taxes? How do they handle the guy from the electric company, or the mailman?).


Leatherface, who has come to represent TCM in the same way Pinhead represents "Hellraiser," appears in all of the vignettes, but the only comic to really explore his character is "About a Boy" (written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and with art by Joel Gomez). There are funny stories ("Texas Chainsaw Salesman" features someone who's desperately trying to sell chainsaws to the family) and self-aware stories ("Cut!" follows a bunch of students trying to film a horror movie - but stumbling onto real horror in the form of Leatherface and Co.), so all but the most TCM-averse horror fans should find something to like here.

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