Wednesday, October 6, 2010

31 Days of Halloween - Day 6: Comic Book Wednesday - Halloweeny Comic Characters

This list isn’t about characters that are scary, supernatural or monstrous. Not necessarily, anyway. It’s about the comic book characters that you could stick in your front yard for Halloween. The ones that Party City could sell as a window cling or that Hallmark could stick on the front of a Halloween card. These are all characters that so clearly and visually embody all things Halloween-ish that somebody who had never picked up a comic in their life would look at them and say, “Well I guess it must be Halloween again, Judy!”
Assuming they’re speaking to someone named Judy.

Taskmaster
Pretty much every character on this list is in my favorites simply due to the fact that their costumes look Halloweeny. Taskmaster is probably my favorite of the folks here, though. With his skull face and black-and-white duds with orange highlights (including a cape lined in orange satin [I don’t know that it’s actually satin, but I like to think so]), this guy looks like the leader of a team of Halloween-themed superheroes. Which should happen now. At least as a seasonal one-shot.
Gunwitch
I really, really wanted Halloween Girl on this list. Unfortunately, she’s kind of just a tween that likes dark colors. I can’t honestly say that John Q. Public would identify her with the spooky season unprompted. So Gunwitch is here, and you can’t really argue his Hallo-qualities. While Dan Brereton has created a mega-shit-ton of creepy, memorable characters; Gunwitch is the one that just screams, “Trick or treat!”
With the pointy hat festooned with little skulls and his decidedly scarecrow/skull appearance, there is no mistaking the time of year that this silent, undead fellow is going to be most comfortable.
Jack O’ Lantern
Well, duh. This guy was designed by Steve Ditko (I know, right?) and is basically too crazy-looking to be taken seriously. Until you get to October, when he becomes one of the most awesome villains to have ever cold-cocked Spider-Man. Apparently there is a DC Jack O’ Lantern as well, but he’s a hero and I can’t actually find any pictures of him right now. Weird.
Deadman
Boston Brand may not be one of the most obvious choices on the list, but he is one of my favorite comic book characters, so he’s in. I mean, the guy is a ghost. And he wears a bright red bodysuit with a ridiculous collar. Most of all, though, I’d just really like to see Deadman as one of those hinged, cardboard figural things you can buy. He’d be saying, “BOO!”
Green Goblin
While Goblin’s silly costume may not get the job done by itself, once you throw in those signature pumpkin bombs he is a shoe-in. What kind of evil bastard transforms the totem of the second most wonderful time of the year into lethal weapons, anyway?
Haunt
I don’t know anything about this Haunt fella other than he is the product of a collaboration between Robert Kirkman and Todd McFarlane (or as Jonathan Davis hilariously called him at the MTV VMA’s years ago, “Todd McFartin’”), possibly penciled by the much-better-than-McFarlane Greg Capullo (I’m not sure, but if that’s the case I should really be picking it up). Regardless of origins, the guy looks really cool and is clearly a spooky, ghosty type. I like it.
Silver Banshee
This is such a great and simple look. All black-and-white, skull face, crazy giant mullet; this chick looks like something out of an old RATT video. Creepy and campy at the same time, this would make a great costume because it’s going to look cool enough to people who aren’t familiar with the character. Those who are will get an extra kick out of it.
Daredevil
It’s a dude dressed up as the Devil. Just because he doesn’t carry a pitchfork and sport a tail doesn’t mean people won’t get it.
Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose
I don’t even know what to say about this character, but I do feel that she is unmistakably Halloweenish. Obviously Jim Balent loves to draw giant, mystical titties. I can’t really begrudge him that. He’s quite good at it. It just so happens that these giant, mystical titties have a distinct Halloween flair that even the most comic-ignorant soccer mom would recognize as being festive and appropriate for the Halloween season. If not for any other time.
Scarecrow
Scarecrow is probably the single most variable entry on this list. Tons of people have drawn him tons of different ways, but he is always instantly recognizable. I’m not even taking into account his whole fear fetish, which certainly works in his favor. But whether Professor Crane is depicted as a willowy, patchwork ghoul or a serial-killerish guy in a suit with a bag over his head or a giant monster; he is always the personification of Halloween’s spirit.
The Creeper
This is another one that I’m not entirely sure about, but I also don’t see how anybody could look at that garish, loony design and not think of Halloween. The Creeper is another fantastic design by Steve Ditko (who I am seriously considering awarding some sort of plaque) that just screams… well, he just sort of screams.
The Reaper
Batman: Year Two may have pretty much sucked, but not only did it give us this awesome-looking character (which looked far too modern at the time to be believable as a pre-Batman crimefighter), the story arc also laid some of the groundwork for the awesome Batman: Mask of the Phantasm feature film. And while the titular Phantasm is not in DC continuity, I’m going to mention the character because the design was so much better (in a practical, believable sort of way) than its inspiration, The Reaper. Who looks very Masque of the Red Death-ish and would sell like mad as a Spirit Halloween store exclusive costume.


Until tomorrow, stay creepy
-Phantom

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