269. Graphic Classics: Halloween Classics

Halloween Classics edited by Tom Pomplun (US) - (Canada)
Graphic Classics, Vol. 23

Pages: 144
Ages: 12+
Finished: Oct. 10, 2012
First Published: Oct. 9, 2012
Publisher: Eureka Productions
Genre: graphic novel, YA, short stories, anthologies, horror,
Rating: 5/5

First sentence: "The steeples are white in the wild moonlight,
And the trees have a silver glare;
Past the chimneys high see the vampires fly,
And the harpies of upper air,
That flutter and laugh and stare"

Publisher's Summary:  "Celebrate All-Hallows' Eve with Halloween Classics: Graphic Classics Volume 23. The book features an EC-style introduction by Mort Castle and Kevin Atkinson, with adaptations of Washington Irving's “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Ben Avery and Shepherd Hendrix, H.P. Lovecraft’s “Cool Air” by Rod Lott and Craig Wilson, Mark Twain’s “A Curious Dream’’ by Antonella Caputo and Nick Miller, and Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Lot No. 249” illustrated by Simon Gane. Also, in a first for Graphic Classics, we adapt the screenplay for the silent film classic “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”, with art by Matt Howarth.."

Acquired:  Received a review copy from the publisher, Graphic Classics.

Reason for Reading:  This is the latest volume in the series and I'm working on reading the complete series.

A magnificent volume; a pleasure to read from start to finish.  Slightly different than other volumes, this one is a pastiche to the old "Tales of the Crypt"-type comics with a host introducing each story; here we have Nerwin the Docent who is full of creepy and interesting facts about Halloween history and customs.  Also the book starts of with the customary one page poem but then includes 5 long adaptations, rather less in quantity than usual volumes but much longer stories equalling the same size of book in the end.  I liked this focus on fewer stories.  Each one was a pure gem.  Irving's "Sleepy Hollow" is not a story I enjoy reading in it's original text but I do enjoy the tale and the adaptation here is very well done; this is perhaps one of the best representations of Ichabod Crane I've come across.  Twain's "A Curious Dream" is well-done and I have no complaints except that I'm not a big fan of the author's type of humour but this story does add a slight light-hearted touch to the rest of this spooky volume.  Next up is the fabulous adaptation of Doyle's "Lot No. 249"; I just love Doyle's stories of the supernatural and had not read this one before.  Great retelling and illustrations.  Second to last starts my favourite two stories in the book.  First is Lovecraft's "Cool Air", not having read much of the author I was unfamiliar with this tale and found it incredibly spine-tingling but most of all I was incredibly impressed with the atmospheric and stunning art of Craig Wilson.  The book then ends with an absolutely original idea in the graphic medium, an adaptation of a silent movie, "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari". I've seen the movie as a teen so am familiar with the story and am very impressed with the adaptation; it holds true to the original and is an ideal way to present these classic (almost forgotten) movies to 21st century audiences.  For the first few pages I was not sure if I thought Matt Howarth's illustrations were a bit cartoony for the story, but as I read and Cesare was introduced they grew on me and I thought he and Caligari were both well drawn.  This is the crowning glory of this volume and has a fitting place as the final story.  I send a public query out to Mr. Pomplun to consider adding some Silent Movie Classics titles to the Graphic Classics oeuvre; there are many possibilities.

As a side note, I've been tempted to request the original movie "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" from my library and hope to watch it as my Halloween movie this year.


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