Yeah, I know it isn't October. The gas station down the road doesn't seem to mind hanging up Christmas snow flakes from their ceiling panels, so I guess everybody is doing holiday stuff at inappropriate times. Deal with it. 'Halloween' is an indie horror anthology book, featuring a diverse assortment of creators over 13 stories. Action, spooky stories, cartoons, it's 58 pages of ghosts and gore from all corners of indiedom. That said, I'm disappointed to relate that none of it really grabbed me, even from creators I'm familiar with from past projects ('The Kill Screen').
Part of it seems to be that the book feels like a showcase rather than a book of self-contained stories. Many of the indie creators provide stories related to their existing properties, one even forgoing a story at together, their segment being a prologue for another book you are presumably expected to buy. This isn't the worst idea, I've always liked Halloween Specials based on existing properties and it sounds like a great way to promote creator-owned titles in a festive way. However, even 'The Kill Screen's segment, a book I already really like, wouldn't inspire me to give the full title a shot. At best, the creators seemed to have fun with what they made. At worst, it feels like shilling instead of demonstrating creativity.
I don't have a lot of highlights, but I'll list a few. The first story by Peter Mason was confusing but had some of the best art of the whole book, neat lines and colors. David Hailwood and Tony Suleri's short is probably the best overall, a little Heavy Metal style story with shades of Lobo. It's got beautiful weird art that is distinctive and unique, totally different than anything else in the book. Also, while the 'Kill Screen' story really didn't jump out at me the same way the main title did, Mike Garley's script is still strong and doesn't come off like an advertisement.
Much of the rest felt real weak with a lot of checklist small-press sins. There's an enormous amount of pseudo-philosophical bad poetry narration that ends up running together from one story to the next. More than one story was confusingly abrupt, making me wonder if my review copy was missing pages (it isn't). Most of it isn't frustratingly bad, just the kind of writing and art that makes my eyes glaze over after a while. As anthologies go, this one could have used a stronger editorial hand, the real quality maker for books of this nature.
I can't really recommend it. I would suggest looking up the people I name checked and read their other work, but beside the Haliwood short there's not much I can say is really worth thumbing through for. Still, there's always next year.
Writers: Various Artists: Various Price: Free Download Here