Comic Book Review: Halloween: Autopsis

autopsy

Halloween: Autopsis is another Stefan Hutchinson comic, this time published by Paranormal Pictures, and with Marcus Smith as an artist. It’s also a one-shot (not a continuing series) comic book, first released in 2006.

This story takes place in 1993 and follows a photojournalist named Patrick Carter, who essentially has the John Jonah Jameson assignment of FIND THE SPIDER-MAN, by following Dr. Sam Loomis around to ascertain the whereabouts of Michael Myers.

Today I learned, in Googling the origin of the word “autopsy” that it comes from the Greek words “auto” and “opsis,” which means “to see for oneself.” Which, seems simple enough to understand: If you want to see what caused the death of someone, you have “to see for oneself” by examining the body.

I’m not a big fan of this cover compared to other covers I’ve … covered. It’s too sleek and glossy for my tastes. When I think of Halloween and Michael Myers, the last thing I think of is glossy. It’s raw and grimy. While the artwork inside still retains that weird sheen to it, it also has a bit of a newspaper comic strip vibe to it, if that makes sense? Almost too childish and cartoonish in the drawings.

MyersLoomis

Anyhow, story-wise, as a movie fan and horror fan specifically, of course I’m going to enjoy the story of a kid growing up in love with the movies. In fact, that’s an evident strain in the original film, as 1950s version of The Thing is playing on the TV, and in general, the movie is an ode to classic horror films, like Psycho.

For some reason, Patrick, as a kid, grew disillusioned with the illusion of films, and so he became a photojournalist because photos felt more tangible and real to him. This also works as a metaphor in the story (heavy-handed metaphor) that he has been living a hollow and empty life, one illusion (delusion, really) after the next.

Michael Myers gets compared by Patrick to Bigfoot (“I need a real assignment, not Bigfoot!”), and I find that interesting. In the movies and the comics, Michael Myers is often treated like Bigfoot: The residents of the town and the police routinely are skeptical of his existence. That he’s actually out there, roaming about.

… and now I would totally watch and/or read a mashup monster story of Michael Myers vs. Bigfoot.

“To see for oneself,” is quite literal in this story, as Patrick becomes … aroused … at the sight of dead bodies, seeing them for himself. And as such, this story is almost an autopsy of the living (Patrick) than anything. Patrick comes to see Michael Myers’ killings as “art.”

You could argue, I guess, that there is an artistry at play with Michael Myers, with the way he displays his kills to others. But I don’t think it’s intended as art, so much as a means to terrorize his victims before killing them, too. It’s the “trick” of the trick-or-treat.

Still, I’m a sucker for the idea of investigating Michael Myers, and I like the idea of a photojournalist trying to get a photo of Michael Myers like he is Spider-Man or more aptly, Bigfoot. And if you think about it, there are no photos of Michael Myers as Michael Myers, right?

Sure, there’s photos of him between the ages of six and 21 while incarcerated at Smith’s Grove, and I’m sure old Myers family photos before age five, but there’s no photos of Michael Myers the serial killer. There’s no photos of him in the mask. How could there be? He was never captured after the events of the original film and sequel (in this continuity at least since in the 2018 film, he was in fact captured), and it’s not like people in the 1970s had smartphones to be able to snap a quick photo of him. Besides, trying to get a photo of Michael Myers isn’t something you’d be trying to do; you’re trying to survive.

At best, there’s probably a police sketch of what he looked like with the mask on, but not actual photos.

The story is quite good, to be honest. I like the conflict in the photographer’s head, as he becomes more mad (in the insane way) and begins picturing his girlfriend dead, and wondering how beautiful she’ll look dead. It’s sick and twisted, but hey, this is a Michael Myers story. He eventually breaks into Loomis’ house, and finds Michael Myers’ mask there. That brings up the interesting question of why Loomis has the mask (or one of the masks) in the first place. But Patrick gets fixated on the mask and the hollow eyes.

Hollow man meets hollow-eyed mask; it’s a match made in sadistic hell. He also finds crime scene photos that foreshadow what we get two years later with Halloween: 30 Years of Terror, where Michael Myers kills “Miss Haddonfield 1991” and the elementary school teacher. To be clear, the comic came out two years later, but the crimes happened two years earlier in 1991, so like I said earlier, this is set in 1993.

Sheriff Brackett from the original has a scene with Loomis where he continues his song and dance of blaming Loomis for Annie’s death. I don’t know how it’s Loomis’ fault. He was trying to keep Michael Myers locked up, and wasn’t the one who screwed up, leading to his escape. Then when it came time to capture him in Haddonfield, it was Brackett who was disbelieving and ineffective.

So, perhaps he’s projecting his own guilt onto Loomis, but won’t admit as much? Sure seems it.

I will say, even though I’m not a big fan of the artistry in this one, I do like the look of Myers when he shows up. If they pulled back on the shininess, it would be perfect.

Myers end

Ah! They got me. So, interspersed throughout the comic book, as Patrick is telling his story, is a literal autopsy of a person we don’t know the identity of yet, only that it’s a victim of Michael Myers. When we get to the end of the book, we realize that they were doing an autopsy on … Patrick. That’s actually quite brilliant, melding together the metaphorical with the literal. That’s a nice twist! Well-done, Hutchinson.

In the epilogue, we find out that this story continues in Halloween: Sam, which also has Marcus Smith as the artist. That makes sense because this and that both look the same with that sleek look I don’t like. Sorry, Smith.

Overall, artwork criticisms aside, this is one of my favorite of the comic books I’ve read related to Michael Myers. The twist really made it for, and took me by surprise. The story shows how Michael Myers’ true horror isn’t the death itself, but the fear and obsession that follows in its wake.

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