John Carpenter’s Tales for a Halloween Night Vol. 3 (Graphic Novel)

By John Carpenter, Sandy King and Legendary Comic Industry Talent

Published By Storm King Productions


Oh, the beautiful times when you could expect John Carpenter to bust out a movie every few years or so. Sadly, we haven’t gotten a Carpenter flick since 2010’s The Ward, but he’s been excelling with his comic books courtesy of Storm King Productions!

Longtime collaborator and wife Sandy King helped John bring us a heaven vs hell epic in their book Asylum. Their next project was an annual anthology series entitled Tales For A Halloween Night. This year’s release,Volume 3, clocks in at 178 pages of terror!

The past two volumes had the Groundskeeper, written each time by 30 Days of Night’s Steve Niles, in the same stance and pose for one page in between each story giving you a little intro to each tale. This volume has different little interludes for the Groundskeeper doing both an intro and outro to each story that makes the read a little more exciting. He’s got a little schtick he does each time, and you can’t help but hear the voice of Tom Savini’s Creeper from Creepshow 2.

Carpenter brings us the first story entitled “The Awakening.” The Groundskeeper intros the story while holding a copy of Carpenter and King’s Asylum which is very fitting considering the story that follows. Carpenter loves calling bullshit on people, and here he targets faith healers and their get-rich-quick schemes. When the faith healers have to deal with true devilry, it takes absolute faith to conquer the problem. In Carpenter fashion, no one is free from sin! It’s a quick, fun story with some great accompanying artwork that really shows off the corruption of most of the people in the story.

“Where The Heart Was” brings us a story from cult icon David J. Schow and art by Darick Robertson. Schow’s credits include The Crow and The Hills Run Red. Robertson is known for a lot of Marvel and DC work but he also delivered the art for the greatest superhero political satire of all time, Garth Ennis’s The Boys. This duo delivers a perfect storm of a classic EC Comics-style story about a jaded lover who just won’t stay dead. It’s sarcastic, horrifying, and is drenched in sleaze that is highlighted by the art style. This one was a true joy to read.

“Bug” is written by legendary writer Louise Simonson, who co-created Apocalypse, Arch Angel and Cable of the X-Men series. “Bug” reads kind of like a werewolf movie in space with a crew from the Alien movies. It’s a really cool concept and fun read, but it’s mostly a lot of technical world building jargin that leads up to a small pay off.

“Indivisible”, written by Joe Harriss and illustrated by Greg Scott, is probably the most controversial story in the book. I wouldn’t be surprised if its Carpenter’s favorite, as it takes the old spirit of Carpenter’s unease with the government and his love of political horror to the next degree. Dealing with a small town of bigots that seem to worship a cult, it plays on modern day fears and feels a bit like Kevin Smith’s Red State. My only complaint is how short it feels. It builds quickly and doesn’t really answer much. Felipe Sobreiro, who has given us some of the most original artwork for both Marvel’s Ghost Rider and Image’s Strange Talent of Luthor Strode, does the coloring on this one and it is hauntingly brilliant as you watch the color scheme change throughout the story.

“The Captive” is written by television writer Amanda Deibert and is a great little thriller that feels similar to Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game. It’s a brief story, but with the amount of changes that happen in its time frame it’s a roller coaster ride . Cat Staggs, who’s worked for both Lucasfilm and DC, paints the panels very beautifully yet very ugly, capturing the ultimate date night from hell.

“Tricksy Treat”, written and illustrated by Richard P. Clark, is a super fun story that feels like it could be a segment from Tales of Halloween. My favorite thing about this story is its ability to balance its light heartedness with how mean spirited it can be. Kid goes trick-or-treating with his folks and accidentally brings home a crazy monster. What’s not to love?

“36 Baron Street” is written by the co-creator of the Groundskeeper, Steven Hoveke. It’s a pretty simple haunted house story with a pair of cops that tell an urban legend about the house as they investigate it. Not a bad story, but not as original as some of Hoveke’s previous entries in the series, and not the most original in this volume.

“True North” by James Ninness, who wrote on the last two Tales books and John Carpenter’s Tales of Science Fiction, delivers hands-down the weirdest story within this volume. It’s a sci-fi tale about a missing girl in a future society and the detective that tracks her down. There are little monsters in it, frozen people, and apps for basic living, but in all honesty I can’t tell you what’s going on in this one. It just feels like too much to fit in the time allotted. I wouldn’t mind seeing this one fleshed out into its own series just to explore the world, because its layout and visuals are really crazy and interesting.

“The Replacement”, with art by Richard P Clark and written by Duane Scwerzynski, is hands down my favorite story in the book.  It’s not entirely horror-related, but the basic premise is about a future where, if you kill someone, you must take their place. A drunk man runs over a college girl and then must assimilate into the dead girl’s life as her. It’s dark, twisted, ridiculous, and funny as hell at times. It’s probably one of the strangest yet fun things I’ve ever read.

“Visitation Rights”, by Keanlan Patrick Burke and Trevor Denham, is probably the most depressing thing I’ve ever read. That’s not to say it’s bad, it’s just depressing as all hell. Burke, to my knowledge, only writes novels with the exception of this anthology. This story is written like a novel, through the eyes of a father trying to give his two daughters a good christmas. Burke describes every emotion and moment in full detail with passages of text rather than word balloons, giving Denham the ability to blast the pages with dark colors and shapes of despair rather than the normal sequential artwork. Each page feels like the cover to a book and reads in utter heartbreak. It’s a damn good story but very harsh to read after “The Replacement.”

Finally, Sandy King brings in her genius of storytelling to round out the book perfectly in “Everlasting Peace.” A bunch of kids go into a haunted mansion on a dare only to discover the inhabitants are some pretty prominent figures in the world of horror, long deceased and ready to kill anyone who disturbs their peace. It’s such a fun take on these people and what their ghosts would be doing that it makes this perfect story to round out the book.

Volume 3 is an excellent addition to the previous Tales. This time around I completely enjoyed all but three of the stories, but the ones I did enjoy were so damn good it didn’t matter. A definite buy for your collection, so be sure to stop in your local comic shop and pick it up OCT 4th!

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