Graphic Novel Series Review: Halloween Girl, Vol. 2

May 10, 2022

Written by Joseph Perry

Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5. He is a contributing writer for "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" print magazine and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, Ghastly Grinning, The Scariest Things, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Decades of Horror: The Classic Era" and "Uphill Both Ways" podcasts. Joseph has also written for “Scream” magazine, "Filmfax" magazine, “SQ Horror” magazine, and the websites That's Not Current an He occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.

Mad Shelley Comics has just released Halloween Girl, Vol. 2, the second chapter in its supernatural graphic novel series Halloween Girl. This latest installment in a planned 7-issue series based on creator Richard T. Wilson’s The Halloween Girl film and its sister web series, Under the Flowers. Halloween Girl, Vol. 2 continues this young-adult–oriented series in an intriguing manner, widening the world presented in the debut issue while dropping breadcrumbs of mystery for future story progression.

Titular character Charlotte William is an 18-year-old ghost who can take on human form. Halloween Girl, Vol. 2 begins as she is trapped in a large house and about to be devoured by huge, spider-like creatures — and it doesn’t help that she suffers from arachnophobia and is stuck in her form that is least helpful for the precarious situation.

Wilson’s writing is sharp and engaging, and he unfolds the story at a pace that is neither rushed nor too slow-moving. It might be helpful to be familiar with the franchise mentioned in the first paragraph above, but this reviewer is not, and I’m still able to follow the action of the series so far, though I may be missing out on the backstory of certain characters and the mysterious villainous group known as The Hollow. I have a hunch that all will be revealed over the next five installments. Curious readers new to the franchise could seek out backstory in the aforementioned film and web series.

The highlights of Stephen Mullan’s crackerjack black-and-white artwork in this issue for this reviewer are the panels that focus on facial expressions, including one of the highlights, an extreme close-up of Charlotte that takes up about ⅔ of a page, in which a character is reflected in her eyes. Mullan gets the most out of expressions from eyes and faces showing a range of emotions. His rendition of hellish creatures is also highly impressive. 

With Halloween Girl, Vol. 2, Wilson and Mullan continue to have my attention. Charlotte is an engrossing protagonist, and with Wilson setting up some more emotional depth in this issue, I’m curious to see how the Halloween Girl story arc continues to play out.

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