This past Friday brought a close to the week-long celebration called “Halloween ComicFest.” This yearly event saw the release of several free Halloween themed books and spook-tacular stories published by some of the industries finest – Marvel, DC, Archie Comics, and Action Lab to name a few. As I perused through the offerings at my local comic book store, Royal Collectibles, I was a bit disappointed to not see anything that specifically spoke to my interests. However, the disappointment of a Halloween passing without having read any ghost stories were soon remedied by 215 Ink’s “All Hallows’ Eve.”
“All Hallows’ Eve”, illustrated by Dave Mims, written by Thomas Luckman, adapted by Trevor Luckman, lettered by Michah Myers is exactly the kind of pairing that produces a noteworthy story, regardless of Halloween or holiday. Perfect to read and savor during the fall. In the vein of tales such as “The Devil and Tom Walker” and Goethe’s “Faust”, the story by Luckman takes place during the Halloween harvest in the 1700’s and 1800’s. The setup is “the Devil, in all forms of wickedness, was given All Hallows’ Eve to collect souls for the underworld.” The first issue follows the story of Jonathan Dodsman, a vile slave owner from Virginia who crosses paths with a mysterious stranger and one particularly creepy jack-o lantern. Over the course of the story. his misdeeds from the past are brought to light. and we soon learn that the mysterious stranger is here to collect Dodsman’s soul. In the second issue, set in Havon, New York, we meet a young girl named Sophia. She is searching for her love named William, on a Halloween night in 1868 and is set on a path by the Devil himself, to find him. What follows is another uniquely drawn story by Dave Mims, an artist and illustrator from the Pittsburgh area. The overall feeling of Halloween is felt on each page and Mims creates a look that makes the reader long for the third issue to come faster than candy filling a child’s basket!
Opening pages for issue one:
(*I sense a comeuppance in his future! – Chuck – editor monkey)
And the opening from issue two:
“All Hallow’s Eve”, an anthology of sorts, is very much an adult themed Halloween story. The writing captures the time and place of 1785/1868 and honors the spirit of all well told Devil stories. As one who is prone to stories concerning the supernatural, the devil, and the underworld – I was naturally drawn to the material. It should be noted that while “All Hallows’ Eve” takes place on Halloween and could be considered a tale for the October 31st holiday, it is very much a good story period. A departure from the books offered on Halloween it would surely be a hit if promoted and carried by local comic book stores. I, for one, will be speaking of Mims, Luckman, and Myers story as it truly is a work that deserves attention. “All Hallows’ Eve” works in every way and is the exact creative pairing that one looks for while we are given retread after retread and event after event. With the success of books such as Snyder and Jock’s “Wytches” and Kirkman and Azaceta’s “Outcast”, it’s about time the devil gets his due!
“All Hallows’ Eve” gets five out of five coach rides to the underworld (and a ride worth taking, courtesy of 215 Ink!)
“All Hallows’ Eve” issues #1 and #2 are currently available on comixology.com