Written by Drew Edwards
Edited by Russell Hillman
Published by Sugar Skull Media
PREVIOUSLY: Halloween Man #11
And here we have a loooong overdue review of this latest issue of Halloween Man. As always, this issue contains multiple stories, all written by creator Drew Edwards, and drawn by various artists. What is different about this issue is that the main story does not feature Halloween Man or Lucy, or any of the usual supporting characters. The lead story features a character whom Drew Edwards reveals, in a heartfelt forward, is based on his deceased brother, Ben, who happened to be transgender. Halloween Man has often been sort of a stand-in for Edwards’ views on various forms of prejudice, be it racism or homophobia, or other types of physical appearance (as was dealt with in Lucy’s dramatic change to “plus size” earlier in the series), or really just for anyone who feels “different” for whatever reason, and therefor gets treated badly by “mainstream” society. So even without the personal connection of the creator this feels like a natural addition to this series.
KISS KISS BANG BANG
Drawn by Tommaso Campanini
This 15-page story introduces Bella, Morlack’s transgender daughter (who also happens to be half-demon, and can transform into a purple-skinned winged being that can fly…because of course she can), who is a famous paid assassin. Bella’s in Texas to kill a popular Country Music singer (at the behest of his record label, who reckons that they can sell a lot more of his records after he’s dead, y’know, like Sony killed Michael Jackson). But before she can accomplish her job, she’s foiled by another assassin, a costumed man calling himself Murder Man, who was hired by the Country singer’s manager to keep the singer alive and kill the paid assassin. So it’s killer vs. killer in an entertaining battle (Murder Man is armed with many inventive, and silly, gadgets).
Drawn by John Sowder
I must confess…I don’t get this story at all. It starts with several beings (including Halloween Man, in his only brief appearance in this issue), being summoned somewhere. There’s something about them all existing outside of time. And then it switches to Morlack getting high in a cemetery and having a bunch of visions. I don’t know, I’ve tried re-reading this a couple of times, but I just couldn’t make sense of it.
TOMORROW BELONGS TO US
Drawn by Caitlin Butler Touchton
This 15-page story features the villainous PHANTOM HOOD, as he arrives at a hospital to meet a his hero, the racist super villain The KU KLUX KLOWN. The Klown is dying, but before he goes he recaps his life story (which borrows liberally from The Joker’s origin) to the Phantom Hood, and regales him tales of the Klown’s reign of terror over many decades. But now he’s old and just before he dies, he tells the Phantom Hood that he’s leaving him everything he has and wants him to carry on his work.
Okay, so, despite the middle-story misfire, the first and third stories were very good. Bella is an interesting character that I would like to see more of. She has a wise-cracking attitude that I think fans of this series will like. And the final story is more serious, but also compelling, as the Ku Klux Klown is a pretty good stand-in for real life racist attitudes in general. We see how, in the beginning, he was widely feared by his enemies, and also had a legion of admirers. But as time passed and things changed (including the election of a Black President – who is not Obama), he finds less support for his views, and begins to be disregarded and not taken seriously. And that is the worst punishment for someone like him. And The Phantom Hood continues to project an ominous figure, and we’ll no doubt be seeing more of him.
The artists are all decent too, although none quite match the brilliance of former regular artist Sergio Calvet (who provides the cover for this issue). Altogether Halloween Man continues to be one of the best indie comics on the market.