It seems as though anthology comics are coming back. In the introduction to this new Wildstorm published adaptation of the much-hyped Mike Dougherty flick, Trick ‘R Treat, which hits DVD on October 6th, review to follow, Doughtery, himself, suggests that the anthology comic is in decline, a claim that I’m not entirely sure is true. While anthologies used to be extremely common back in the day they seemed to have gone through their decline and are on the rise again thanks to the nostalgia of aging comic buyers like myself. Along with this book, which is an adaptation of an anthology horror movie, Dark Horse just relaunched Creepy and I, myself, have contributed a story to an upcoming anthology for Terminal Press.
Maybe you’ve been keeping tabs on this anthology wunderkind. Doughterty’s movie has been making the festival rounds and impressing the shit out of everyone who watches it. Now, if you’re one of those people or you’d like to see what all the fuss is about you can have a look at this comic, the format that the entire movie is based on. In the same introduction mentioned above, Dougherty makes it clear that Trick ‘R Treat is a salute to horror comics like Eerie and Tales From The Crypt. I don’t much like comic adaptations of movies because I don’t quiet understand why you would read a comic based on a movie you can just go out and see. Marc Andreyko’s script, based entirely on the movie takes place in a single neighborhood on Halloween and focuses on four stories. A father who kills trick or treaters and the trials of being an effective murderer when having to deal with your own child, an urban legend revisited, a grouchy old man neets the worst trick or treater of his life (Sam, the hooded poster child for the movie) and a costume party where the tables are turned on a killer. Everything is tied together so character’s paths are constantly crossing, it’s quite clever, but it’s also not really Andreyko’s device.
The book’s art, however, is quite sharp and each facet of the story has its own artist. The book is illustrated, in parts by Mike Huddleston (MAN-BAT, GEN 13), Grant Bond, Christopher Gugliotti (THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE) and Fiona Staples (NORTH 40, also a great book) and each piece of the show looks outstanding. Honestly, there isn’t a weak panel in the book. The problem comes in the form of condensed format, though, and much of the action gets lost between the panels and suffers what I call Templesmith syndrome. At times, what’s going on is smothered by it’s dark presentation and is squeezed into 96 pages. It’s a swift read, though, and doesn’t even begin to feel like 96 pages.
At $20, the Trick ‘R Treat book is going to retail for more than you’re likely to pay for the DVD, which comes out the same day, so my obvious recommendation is to just buy the movie but if you’re a fan of the movie already or you become one, forking over that kind of coin for this adaptation isn’t going to kill you. There are worse things you can spend your money on and the Trick ‘R Treat book is quite good for a comic adaptation.