Writer: Richard T. Wilson, Artist/Letterer: Stephen Mullan, Cover: Stephen Mullan.
Based on the 2015 short film of the same name, Halloween Girl Vol. 1 (Issue #1), is a black-and-white horror-thriller from small publisher Mad Shelley Comics, about the supernatural adventures of a ghost named Charlotte, who has decided to take on a “diabolic, secret society” called The Hollow, along with her (human? ghost?) gal pal Poe. Why? The Hollow killed Charlotte, and now they want to take over the world. To find clues to defeat The Hollow, Charlotte must navigate the mystical world of the In-Between. “Death is a lot of damned work,” she thinks. And as if killing her weren’t enough, now The Hollow have kidnapped her young son.
April 2022 saw the release of Halloween Girl Vol. 2 (Issue #2), tongue-in-cheekingly titled with the double-meaning “Charlotte’s Web” and which picks up right where Vol. 1 (Issue #1) left off, with Charlotte caught in a giant spider’s web in one of The Hollow’s subterranean prisons. The spider is the manifestation of Charlotte’s arachnophobia, and is the prison’s warden, who loves to torture the stolen souls condemned there by slowly destroying their minds by using their greatest fears. She and her youngling intend to have Charlotte for dinner, and end her meddling in The Hollow’s plans.
One of these stolen souls distracts the spider long enough for Charlotte to escape, and meet more souls longing to escape. It seems Charlotte’s mission just grew.
Halloween Girl features solid dialogue from writer Richard T. Wilson. Every character speaks in a believable, conversational, real-world manner, not like a character in a comic book. This adds greatly in helping the reader become immersed in the story. Wilson has created an interesting premise in his supernatural ghost Charlotte, and her ongoing battle against The Hollow. There are twists and revelations that point to a Bigger Picture than Charlotte realizes. Wouldn’t Halloween Girl make a great CW tv series?
The art from Stephen Mullan is also solid, with well-drawn figures and facial expressions, and much-needed texturing to make blank backgrounds more interesting and to add dimension to surfaces. However, Mullan’s page layouts and overall style is at times a bit quiet and understated for a horror-thriller. Some moments of horror that should shock you are too quietly composed and undersized to have much impact. Mullan’s design of the giant spider is uber-creepy, with a human like skull and ghostly white pupils. Charlotte’s showdown with the spider is brief but impressive.
I realize the creator wanted a throwback look and feel to this series (hence the B&W), but I couldn’t help wishing it were in color. There are many special effects that would be greatly aided by color, including much-needed visual distinctions between ghostly Charlotte and humans, or the tortured souls she encounters. It’s also awkward when a color is mentioned as a descriptor, but you can’t see it in B&W.
Halloween Girl is a very fast and easy read, ending more quickly than I wanted it to, but is an enjoyable comic that supernatural-horror fans will get into, and is suitable for all ages, if you don’t mind the use of the word bitch a couple of times. No guarantees that the giant spider won’t create a few nightmares, though.
Halloween Girl Vol. 2 from Mad Shelley Comics released in April 2022. It can be purchased on the RTW Productions site or as a Kindle edition on Amazon.