Short Story Review: Halloween: White Ghost

Halloween Ghost

Halloween: White Ghost is the story of the mechanic Michael Myers killed in the original Halloween film to get his iconic jumpsuit look. Yes, it’s a story about the mechanic! I love that little detail being expanded upon here. This is a one-shot comic written by Greg Mitchelle, with art by Thomas Mason. It was released in October 2008 for digital only it seems. The cover is fine as art goes. We already get the sense that he’s a downtrodden guy. But wow, my mind just blew because looking at the cover again, I only now noticed Michael Myers in his Smith’s Grove white gown in the far left background. Whoa! It took me a few times to notice that. But that’s how it should be. Michael Myers, even in his other attire, should always be camouflaged with the darkness.

Right off the bat, we essentially get a regular page of exposition about fate – the reoccurring idea in these Halloween comics that we are helpless against fate where fate is essentially a metaphor for death and Michael Myers embodies death – and then we get introduced to Chris Hastings, the mechanic, shortly after Michael Myers escapes from the Smith’s Grove sanitarium.

In the film, Dr. Sam Loomis comes upon the tow truck, which is where we are with Hastings, and he’s drinking on the job. Although, we are in Eureka, Illinois, where he lives and works.

Meta insight here: I typically write as I read, so everything is my initial reaction to things. It turns out, this entire “comic” is exposition. The only actual artwork here is Mason’s cover. That’s different, but okay.

Hastings has a wife, Becky, and a daughter, Maggie. After Halloween, he’s supposed to leave the tow trucking business behind and go work for Becky’s dad to make more money. He’s a bit peeved about that. But fate has other plans. He wasn’t even supposed to be working the day Michael Myers attacked him, but another driver called in sick. Alas, you can’t escape your fate.

As he contemplates his future, Hastings decides to revisit his past by going to Haddonfield. Fate seems to be tugging on him, huh? All the stars lined up for him to get slaughtered for his jumpsuit.

We zoom back to Hastings as a 13-year-old in 1958 in Haddonfield. He has a fraught relationship with his dad, who basically seems like how Hastings is now: Tired and zapped of all life. Dead before a coroner officially proclaimed as much. Eventually, in 1969, he was set to marry a different girl, Sylvia Robinson.

I like that Haddonfield is itself a character in this short story, something that’s gotten lost in a few of the sequels. Haddonfield exists as this sleepy, normal town, awash in fall and Halloween festivities, and it plays host to the gruesome murders of Michael Myers. And in this story, its character is that of the holder of bad memories for Hastings.

Another neat, small detail throwback is that Hastings went to the Red Rabbit Lounge, a strip club in Haddonfield. That was the name on a thing of matches Marion, the nurse, had at the beginning of the original film. Naturally, Hastings ended up ruining his eternal bliss with Sylvia by sleeping with one of the strippers.

Interestingly, when he confesses his sin to Sylvia, he describes her as being, “blank-faced and white.” In other words, a white ghost. So the title has the double meaning of being both Sylvia, who was to be his future had he not messed it up, and Michael Myers, who was his sealed fate. Coupled with her in her white wedding dress, that really cements the “white ghost” picture.

She ends up being killed by a train in a drunken bit of suicide-by-train, as Hastings watched on helplessly. Well, he did try to save her, but tripped in the process, only adding to his guilt. This also all happened near the same spot on Highway 24, an hour outside of Haddonfield, where Hastings would eventually be killed by Michael Myers.

Rather brilliantly, when Michael Myers appears behind Hastings in his white Smith’s Grove gown, Hastings, in his drunken and depressed stupor, thinks for a moment that it’s Sylvia in her wedding gown. That’s a nice touch, well-done.

Overall, this is a nice little short story at only 21 pages (since it has no illustrations, it doesn’t make sense to call it a comic) and not one that adds much mythos to the Michael Myers story, but it is a nice thread to pull on from a small detail in the original: Who was the mechanic before that fateful day with Michael Myers? It was a rather typical story of the guy down-on-his-luck and miserable, but the way it came together at the end with him thinking Michael Myers was Sylvia was a flash of brilliance. I enjoyed it, and I think hardcore fans of the franchise will also enjoy it.

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