The Halloween Legion
Dark Horse Books/Sequential Pulp Comics
Publication Date: September 11, 2013
The Hist-Whisting of Autumn Lawns…
One of my fondest childhood memories is the annual family reading of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow at Halloween. My Dad and Mom would sit me down by our fireplace and read the tale from a little abridged version that is still tucked away in my library. It didn’t matter that the flickering flames of our hearth were in reality the illusory effect of a propeller contraption mounted on a lightbulb, we always seemed to bring a bit of Catskills rusticity into our Brooklyn abode. That tradition stays with me to this day, and nary a year goes by when I don’t indulge in a reading of Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree, or peruse the pages of Deborah Kogan Ray’s impressionistic interpretation of e. e. cummings Hist Whist (Crown/Random House, 1989.)
A New Brew…
This year Dark Horse Books, in conjunction with Sequential Pulp Comics, serves up a delicious dose of all hallows entertainment with the publication of The Halloween Legion, a graphic novel that will join my small stack of October 31st favorites. Penned by Martin Powell with art by Thomas Boatwright and Diana Leto, the 80 page hard cover is a full color, beautifully rendered and action packed, romp through fall’s amber dusks and indigo twilights. The book’s dedication to Ray Bradbury, who Powell describes as its “spiritual godfather,” is no surprise as its feel is quite reminiscent of the recently deceased author’s work in all the best of ways.
Split into two stories, the core of the volume is “The Great Goblin Invasion,” follows the exploits of a quintet of shadowy seasonal icons. Powell’s Witch, Skeleton, Devil, Ghost, and Black Cat are all endowed with special powers and very iconoclastic personalities. These odd-ball avengers team up to protect the town of Woodland against the titular “goblins” who are in reality space invaders. Part two, “Once Upon A Halloween,” is an autobiographical yarn which recounts an eerie event that spawned Powell’s creation of the Legion.
The Halloween Legion is an excellent blend of classic spooky imagery with just the right amount of superhero and sci-fi spin to keep 21st century kids interested but not up all night with the frights.
Martin Powell, Diana Leto and Thomas Boatwright all have their own blogs where you can view and read more of their work. Leto and Powell have just begun the weekly subscription comic strip The Cave Girl over at the Edgar Rice Burroughs Website, while Boatwright is taking Halloween themed art commissions.