Look for spooky thrills in comic-book pages

From the Oct. 29, 2021, The Oklahoman


Flashback column from last Halloween

Look for spooky thrills in comic-book pages 


With Halloween this weekend, it’s a good time to look at spooky comic books new and old. 

Bringing Batman back to Halloween adventures is this week’s “Batman: Long Halloween Special.” 

Creators Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale return to the world of Batman they shared 25 years ago in “Batman: The Long Halloween” to reveal a new secret. 

The classic Batman tale “Batman: The Long Halloween” is available in multiple formats, including a “Noir” edition.  The “Batman Noir” edition in black-and-white especially highlights the art of Tim Sale. 

Loeb is the writer of the 1996-1997 limited series, which follows the fall of District Attorney Harvey Dent as Batman tracks “Holiday,” a serial killer who strikes on a holiday each month.

Set in the early days of Batman’s crime-fighting career, the book features Dent, police Commissioner James Gordon and Batman beginning a tenuous alliance to root out the mobsters of Gotham City. A killer begins a campaign against men working for The Roman, aka Carmine Falcone, starting with the Halloween slaying of Johnny Viti. More slayings follow on major holidays each month, earning the unknown killer the nickname “Holiday.”

Sale provides a great atmospheric tone for “Long Halloween,” and Loeb crafts a compelling mystery that will have readers talking long after finishing the book. Those who have been waiting to return to the world, following the sequels “Dark Victory,” and the related “Haunted Knight” and “Catwoman: When in Rome,” will want to check out this week’s “Long Halloween Special.” 

Monster Hunters 

In a spinoff of Boom Studios’ “Something is Killing the Children,” “House of Slaughter” is a new horror series exploring the inner workings of a secret monster-hunting order.  

Issue #1 is on sale now by by co-creator James Tynion IV (“The Department of Truth”) and co-writer Tate Brombal (“Barbalien”), with art by Chris Shehan (“The Autumnal”) and co-creator Werther Dell’Edera (“Razorblades”).

Aaron Slaughter is Erica’s handler and rival in “Something is Killing the Children.” In “House of Slaughter,” Aaron was a teenager training within the House of Slaughter. 

Local chills

Locally, comic creators who have comic books with a spooky theme are getting in on the act as well. Writer/artist Robert Henry and artist Joe Evans have created the comic book “Bad Candy” as an homage to 1980s horror films.   

Henry is a photographer, artist and Oklahoma native with comic-book credits including the “Rough Cut” comic book series of the 1990s.

Henry originally concepted the pumpkin-headed Halloween character as an “Inktober” sketch in 2015. “Inktober” is a challenge where artists draw a sketch each day of October, often based on a specific prompt. 

The series, set in 1982, features the farming family the Lewises, who provide an offering to a spirit known as Bad Candy each October. But when bank robbers on the run take over the Lewis’ house, the offering isn’t made, and trouble ensues.

Two issues of the regular series have been released as Henry and Evans work on the third.  Henry recently showcased the existing issues and artwork at the Wizard World Chicago comic convention. 

You can see more from “Bad Candy” by searching for the “Bad Candy Comic” page on Facebook. 

Matthew Price, matthew@matthewLprice.com, has written about the comics industry for more than two decades. He is the co-owner of Speeding Bullet Comics in Norman. 

“Bad Candy” by Robert Henry and Joe Evans

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