“Halloween Girl, Book One: Promises to Keep” by Richard T. Wilson is released from Mad Shelley Comics and features art by Stephen Mullan, Pietro Vaughan, Wanderer Luna, Charaf Mezioud, and Eleonora Garofolo. Art is divvied up by chapter, each retaining its own unique feel to the characters at play.
‘Death is a lot of damned work’, thinks 18-year-old ghost, Charlotte Williams, as she braves the unsettled world of the In-Between. It’s here the rebellious teen finds the clues she so desperately needs in her battle against the diabolic, secret society, The Hollow (who took her life and just happen to be trying to end the world!). With wise-cracking, Goth ghost, Poe at her side, the duo work to decipher the latest clues to thwart the evil sect at every turn. However, things get hairy when The Hollow kidnaps Charlotte’s young son, Luke in retaliation. A devastated Charlotte then suffers from the guilt of screwing up his young life ‘even in death’, before forming a plan with Poe to get him back – and make The Hollow pay.
“Halloween Girl” wastes no time getting started, throwing us into one of her missions in the middle of the story. Charlotte has already been dead for dead years and has adapted to this style of existing, but is still uncovering secrets. Heavily character-based with witty banter, demonic children, and plenty of twists, it serves up Buffy-style nostalgia.
Charlotte’s motherhood-driven character and deep friendship with Poe keep her grounded and relatable despite being dead and surrounded by supernatural goings on. The way the characters balance human drama and dynamics with larger storylines and demonic forces resembles shows like Lucifer, Charmed, and The Sandman.
Like film anthologies, the art styles varied in quality, but there is something for everyone here— after a few pages, each style tended to grow on me. Each artist emphasized feminine aspects, but they didn’t feel as forced or over the top as many comics tend to. For volume one, the emphasis was on lips and hair, with realistic curves and attitude, t-shirts, jackets, and expressions.
A few of the backgrounds relied on heavier shading, with the earlier chapters being lighter and using more negative space. Yet that works well with the themes being addressed, as the plot darkens, so too do the panels themselves.
Emmy® Award Winner, Richard T. Wilson serves as the President/Writer-Filmmaker of RTW Productions, Inc., home to nationally recognized educational film company, Outreach Arts, Inc., and its award-winning, sister company, Mad Shelley Films/Comics (‘Under the Flowers’, ‘The Halloween Girl’ film & graphic novel series). To date, he has had over 70 of his plays and films produced and seen some of this same work featured on ABC World News Tonight, National Public Radio, PBS, and The Independent Film Channel. However, Wilson is probably best known for creating both the critically acclaimed, multi-award-winning TV/DVD series, ‘Maple Ave’ and the hit, supernatural web series, ‘Under the Flowers’.
While the current arc gets tied up nicely, there are still plenty of questions readers will surely want answers to, so be sure to pick up this and future volumes from here or a bookstore of your choice. Great for whenever you’d like a spooky read with human charm, depth of character, and smart heroines.
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