John Carpenter’s Tales for a HalloweeNight Vol. 6 offers up thirteen tales of terror in a solid graphic novel horror anthology. It’s the type of graphic novel many people would enjoy curling up with at Halloween time. Or, if you’re a Cemetery Dance reader, it’s the type of graphic novel you could enjoy curling up with any time of the year.
Tales for a HalloweeNight feels like Tales from the Crypt in that it gives you bite-sized horror stories with some food for thought, plenty of creepiness, and great visuals. Some of the stories go with the Tales from the Crypt plot formula of cruelty followed by punishment, while others go into completely different directions.
The stories also diverge in style. Zombies and ghosts are here, and each story has something of a supernatural element, but often the greatest villain is human cruelty. Whether we’re dealing with modern murder, torturing someone in an Iron Maiden, or trying to destroy a swamp, people again and again are the worst villains.
One essence that remains throughout the anthology is a pulpy, entertaining quality, so that stories can become as sensational and otherworldly as they want. Readers are just along for the ride, and the ride is fast-paced, light and sinister. While some stories may speak to some readers more than others, there’s enough variety that the collection ought to entertain basically anyone who likes horror anthologies. The twists and turns are also appreciated.
The art is in full color, and the art style varies from story to story. Sometimes the artwork is surreal and dreamlike, while in other places it can also look quite realistic. Story and art need to go together for a comic to work, and each story has the necessary atmosphere most appropriate for the type of story it’s telling.
The writers and artists working for the anthology all have strong backgrounds, many working for big comic book publishers like Marvel, DC and IDW. John Carpenter penned the opening story, about people capturing a witch. After that, the writers and artists are Elena Carrillo, Jaime Carrillo, Sandy King, Luis Guaragna, Sara Richard, Jennie Wood, Richard P. Clark, Alec Worley, Ben Willsher, Duane Swierczynski, Simone Guglielmini, Frank Tieri, Cat Staggs, Dennis Calero, Renae DeLiz, Andy Price, David J. Schow, Nick Percival, Amanda Deibert, Jason Felix and Tim Bradstreet. A few pinups are also included at the end of the book.
The good news is that if you like this anthology, there are five more previous ones to check out. All of this is published by Storm King Comics, helmed by Sandy King.