Comic Book Review: Halloween: Nightdance

First issue

Halloween: Nightdance is a 2008 mini-series comic book published by Devil’s Due Publishing, which has done a number of these Halloween comics, along with writer Stefan Hutchinson and with Tim Seeley back on the art (he also did Halloween: 30 Years of Terror, which was gorgeous).

This story picks up on Halloween 2000 in Russellville, Illinois, which is the site of the Charlie Bowles serial killings, which were referenced in the original film briefly. He apparently killed his own family. So that’s neat right from the get-go that we’re going to dig deeper into a little detail like that.

This actually came out earlier in the year than 30 Years of Terror (that came out in August 2008, this between February and May 2008), and now I can see the consistency in Seeley’s artwork, mainly, that it’s freaking gorgeous. Look at this cover:

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In the first issue of the four-part series, “A Shape In The Void,” we follow an 18-year-old girl named Lisa Thomas. First off, a “A Shape In The Void,” is a great name for a Halloween series given its implication and of course, Michael Myers being known as The Shape.

Lisa pines to be a ballerina and escape whatever dark past she seems to have, and still seems to fear.

Then we have a scene in Chicago with Marcie Nichols and her husband Ryan Nichols apparently coming to Russellville to meet her family, or check up on them.

Back in Russellville, Abigail Crawford is tied up and hears her boyfriend, Benjamin, crying out in pain. Then she sees the Michael Myers mask. They have that same melting mask vibe that Seeley would bring to 30 Years of Terror.

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Meanwhile, back with Lisa, she’s getting weird drawings in the mail from a kid she used to babysit named Daniel.

When we get back to Abigail, she’s trying to escape and there’s a fantastically drawn panel of Michael Myers in the shadows about to attack her. The comics almost do a better job than some of the films at rightly relegating Michael Myers to the scary shadows. She does get away, though, and that’s when her story intersects with the Nichols couple. And by intersect, I mean literally because the Nichols couple, driving their car into Russellville, ends up hitting Abigail and killing her.

She escaped Michael Myers only to die by car accident. Gah, when Marcie goes to check on the girl, Michael Myers is there, again beautifully drawn as he lurks in the shadows. Yes, I just said Michael Myers was “beautifully drawn.” I love the use of shadows and minimalism with him. It’s well-done. Marcie’s a goner.

Issue4

The ending panels, we’re back with Lisa, who is trying to get more confident, saying, “I’ll look at the stars once more. I’ll dance forever and I’ll never be afraid again,” but unfortunately for her newfound confidence, that sentiment is juxtaposed with Michael Myers watching her, stalking her.

And it is amusing to see a black cat curl around Michael Myers’ feet, as he stands there watching her. I guess he’s more of a cat person since he kills every dog he counters in the movies? I see how it is, Michael. That’s how issue one ends. It’s a lot of table setting and introducing characters, so it jumps around a lot. But the artwork is exquisite.

second issue

With issue two, “The Silent Clown,” we’re still following Lisa and her fellow friends, Sean and Nikki, has they want to have a “little fun.” Remember, Lisa has newfound confidence. We still don’t know what darkness lies in her past, but in her present, Michael Myers is stalking her.

Gah, look at how great these covers are. I’m officially a Seeley fanboy. Seeley, through the sheer force of will of his artwork alone, is making Michael Myers downright terrifying again.

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Even the fair, with a circus, being in town on Halloween feels like fall and feels like Halloween through his artwork. I’m impressed. There’s one panel where Lisa is on the merry-go-round and sees Michael Myers, and with each revolution of the merry-go-round, he gets closer and closer until we’re staring into the void of his eyes. Again, it’s so well-done. No words needed on that panel. The art tells the story.

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And turns out I’m wrong. Abigail survived the car crashed, and is taken to a hospital by Ryan Nichols. Abigail has a flashback to when her and Ben went to the Bowles house, the site of the man who went “crazy with a hacksaw.” When they are in the house, there’s a panel where Michael Myers appears and it’s the most effective in the shadows drawing yet. You can almost barely detect him, just like in the original. Wow. I used that as the featured photo on this blog post, if you want to check it out.

Lisa gets a photograph of Judith Myers, who Michael Myers killed in 1963, and who apparently looks a lot like Lisa. Maybe that’s why Michael Myers is so fixated on her?

I do love how Michael Myers is an ominous, almost he-who-must-not-be-named entity in all of Illinois, not just Haddonfield. He is the “Midwest Boogeyman.”

Speaking of him, he catches up to Nikki in another great panel. Michael Myers then ends up getting a little silly by putting an apple in her mouth and drawing a lipstick smile across her face. It’s a bit too playful for me. He does get playful with his kills, but that’s after he kills them. She was still alive here.

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We leave off this second issue with Ryan wondering what he’s going to do, as Michael Myers puts Nikki’s dead body in his trunk.

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That brings us to issue three, “A Rainbow In One Color.” The third issue’s cover almost has a Psycho quality to it, which the original film did pay homage to. In this one, we learn what Lisa’s dark past is: When she was babysitting Daniel, they ended up at the Bowles house, where they then encountered Michael Myers. And she even mentions that Michael Myers killed a dog. See, he’s a dog-hater!

Michael Myers attacks Lisa and Sean, and somewhat stupidly, they both survive and not only that, Sean is gung-ho about going after Michael Myers and killing him. Okay, you try that, Sean. And never mind, he also killed Lisa’s cat. So he’s an equal opportunity killer of dogs and cats. Predictably, Sean ends up getting killed by Michael Myers.

That’s when we get the intersection of Ryan and Lisa. Daniel, it turns out, was Marcie’s little brother.

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That takes us to the final issue of this min-series, “When The Stars Come Crashing Down.” This one opens with the grisly murders (well, they’ve been dead) of Daniel and his two parents. So that means it was Michael Myers sending Lisa the graphic photos earlier.

This issue also continues the running theme of fatalism in the Halloween series. That is, Michael Myers embodies fate itself, and you can’t outrun your fate (death). And for some reason, Ryan is acting his part in the play, as he drags Lisa to the Bowles house in the hopes of finding Marcie.

Well, Marcie is definitely dead. There’s no doubt about that. The police see Ryan as the prime suspect. I think they’re hoping this is all due to Ryan and not Michael Myers because they are petrified of him.

The story is far more graphic than the original, as we have Michael Myers cutting Ryan’s tongue out, and then putting the Michael Myers mask on him, so that the police do think it’s Ryan. Michael Myers is crafty, that one. It’s reminiscent of what he did in H20 (as we found out in Resurrection) with the EMT.

Pretty innovative end, with Lisa being buried alive in the grave site of Judith Myers since Michael Myers seemed to liken Lisa to Judith. But I don’t think Michael Myers would leave her alive.

That said, the idea of the “nightdance” is well-done because on one hand, it references Lisa being a ballerina and being afraid of the dark, so a dance with the night. But it’s also the “nightdance” with Michael Myers, trying to evade the Boogeyman, who lurks in the shadows.

Overall, this is another great entry in the Michael Myers comic book continuity. It’s a bit graphic on violence (and nudity, we don’t need to see Lisa completely naked), and I’m not sure what he’s doing in Russellville (maybe he somehow saw Lisa one day and thought she looked like Judith and that was enough?), but it’s neat to play on the Russellville bit, and there’s some genuinely good writing here from Hutchinson contemplating fate and death.

And again, I share a lot of the panels from these in the post, but I’m not doing the full artistry justice. These are worth checking out alone for Seeley’s art.

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