in my decade plus of reading comics, felt many things for
many of the works I come across. I have felt disappointed
when I read a graphic novel that had far more potential
than shown in its execution. Comics that I might have originally
deemed as pure fluff, when they show untold amounts of depth
during the reading, have always surprised me.
hated comics, I have been apathetic toward them, and I have
loved them. But I have never been utterly disgusted and
insulted by a comic book, until today.
Luv Halloween, written by Keith Giffen (of Formerly
Known As the Justice League fame) and with art by Benjamin
Roman, is pure filth and before someone accuses me of being
too conservative in my readings, please understand that
I am reticent to even go as far as to call this book distasteful,
save for that fact that it really is. This comic is not
only grotesque; it lacks plot, meaning, character development,
and is ambiguous as to even what kind of story it wants
love to know where Giffen, a writer well respected for his
comedic and superhero work, came up with this bad idea.
The story, what little there is of it, centers on a group
of boys going out for Halloween, with a younger sister in-tow.
The book opens with the young girl using pliers to pull
the teeth out of the skulls of her decaying parents mouths,
who are dead for no given reason, and we see her later wearing
them as a necklace. The brother makes a joke to the effect
of “they’ll need their teeth when they come
back as zombies,” and they meet up with their fellow
ghoul masked compatriots to go off to trick-or-treat.
happens in the first six pages.
children are, as one might expect, profane little buggers
who talk about death and murder nonchalantly, as well as
comment on the various adulterous exploits of one of their
neighbors. They put razor blades into an apple and give
it to a cop, resulting in another death of an old lady.
The young sister finds a bra and makes a sling out of it,
which she uses to kill another child, once again, simply
because she can by knocking away part of his skull. She
strangles another child, a bully, which I suppose makes
it okay in the world Giffen has concocted.
are seen holding 9mm handguns and shooting other children.
One trick-or-treater’s head explodes in a rain of
blood and gore. There are a few scenes of children being
beaten, a dog eats a woman alive, genitalia is shot off,
corpses are defiled, etc.
of you might be thinking, clearly Giffen has tried to go
to some dark and humorous place in order to make some type
of comment on society. Some of you might be thinking, hey
now, corpses can be funny too. While I agrees that all these
things are possible, I can tell you that none of that happened
in this comic. The characters and the things they do aren’t
driven by a purpose and neither is the story. There is no
underlying reason for anything that happens in this book.
It is simply gruesome scene after gruesome scene, strung
together loosely by the idea of Halloween.
what’s more annoying is that Giffen isn’t trying
to be funny, or sarcastic, or anything other than monstrous
in his writing; jokes are not made and the events are barely
even registered by the characters. You’ll notice I
haven’t used any of their names, because it doesn’t
matter what their names are because they aren’t even
characters. They’re drawings: the writing equivalent
of stick figure men. This isn’t a dark humor story.
It’s a snuff film without the sex.
before anyone says, “Well, isn’t this horror?”
understand that horror, as a genre, has certain criteria
it must meet to be more than a content-lacking pile of trash
like Giffen and Roman’s effort. In horror, there is
always a character or a group of characters, that we care
about. They are the people we’re meant to relate to,
so that when Michael Myers is chopping up a bubbly co-ed
who just knocked one out with the high school quarterback,
we’re not just scared of the chopping but of the fact
that the character could have been us.
has become far more tongue-in-cheek in the last few decades
(Scream being the best example of a genre gone wrong),
you have to remember that at the core of horror is meant to
be fear, not gore. True horror, good horror, was about what
we didn’t see which Hitchcock did best in his films.
You don’t need ot see the body to be afraid of what
happened to it.
true for movies is as equally true for comics because they’re
mediums that share many creative aspects. The
Walking Dead is a horror comic at it’s heart
because it features characters we want to live, characters
we care about, that are struggling to survive in a world
comprised of nothing but horror, this time in the form of
zombies. When they die, we’re scared because of what’s
happening to them, not what’s happening.
gore has its place in the horror genre because the scary
can be made completely frightening with the addition of
a blood soaked maw or an errant body part, but it’s
not the point of horror. Movies like Texas
Chainsaw Massacre work because the good guys are
dying, not because you get to follow around the guy making
masks out of people’s skin and see how much he enjoys
artwork by Roman is a less stylized version of Jhonen Vasquez’s
work, which means Roman is probably a fan of Invader
Zim and JTHM. I have no doubt that is where
he found such great ability to depict the horrible. Don’t
get me wrong; Roman is in fact good at what he’s meant
to be doing, which is inducing nausea in the reader, but
coupled with Giffen’s script his deft touch with the
grotesque only serves to highlight how disgusting and lacking-in-value
the book really is. A collection of morgue pictorials might
have been less disturbing and more entertaining than this
perhaps what worries me more is that this small piece of
garbage is published by TokyoPop. While I’ve never
claimed to be a manga expert I do know that it’s rare
that an industry so dependant on the purchasing power of
the pre-teen would seek to publish something so clearly
meant for adults in a format that is read nearly entirely
by young adult readers. Even some of the manga that is meant
for the older reader being translated from Japan isn’t
nearly this inappropriate for kids, so I wonder why they
decided to publish this title.
is that they thought Giffen’s name might grab more
attention in the comic shop ordering process, trying to
get the specialty shops to carry this $9.99 debacle. If
you’re a parent, do not buy this. If you run a comic
shop, do not order this for the racks.
I Luv Halloween