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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fear in Four Colors: The Trick ‘r Treat Graphic Novel

By Paige MacGregor

Although I can’t answer the question of whether the comic adaptation of writer/director Michael Dougherty’s Halloween horror flick Trick ‘r Treat lives up to its cinematic counterpart (since I haven’t seen the movie), I CAN answer whether the 96-page Trick ‘r Treat graphic novel is worth the two-year wait that fans were forced to endure after the comic’s release date was pushed back from October 2007 to October 2009. The answer? No, Trick ‘r Treat isn’t really worth it.

I’m sure that members of the Trick ‘r Treat film’s cult following will enjoy Marc Andreyko’s Trick ‘r Treat adaptation, but as a reader unfamiliar with the film, I was confused by the multiple stories contained in the graphic novel. Originally, Trick ‘r Treat was scheduled to be a four-part comic series illustrated by Done to Death artist Fiona Staples. The four issues were scheduled to be released weekly in October 2007, the last issue appearing on Halloween. When Dougherty’s film was backlisted, however, the comic’s release was pushed back.

Subsequently, DC/WildStorm made the decision to release Trick ‘r Treat as a single graphic novel, written by Marc Andreyko (Manhunter, Torso), but featuring contributions from four different artists, including Fiona Staples. In addition to Staples, Gen13 artist Mike Huddleston, cartoonist Grant Bond, and The Curse of the Werewhale and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre artist Christopher Gugliotti were recruited to illustrate portions of Trick ‘r Treat, and in my opinion that might be the worst decision that was made by DC/WildStorm with regard to this particular graphic novel.

I was intrigued by the novel’s cover, which was created by the film’s concept designer Breehn Burns and depicts the now well-known Trick ‘r Treat character Sam in his signature costume, partially eaten pumpkin-shaped lollipop in hand. Unfortunately, beyond that I was disappointed. Had Trick ‘r Treat been published in four separate issues as originally intended, I think I would have liked the series better. Lumping four comic-book-length stories that are all based on the Trick ‘r Treat film but are illustrated in very different styles is not the best idea. For readers like me who enjoy some consistency in their graphic novels’ visual style, Trick ‘r Treat’s illustrations detract from the story by distracting the reader from the actions taking place on the page.

As such, I had to read through it several times to focus on the stories being told rather than on the visuals, and what I found was some rather uninspired writing. According to various sources, Marc Andreyko’s writing remains true to the Trick ‘r Treat movie script, which may be why the stories themselves lack imagination and emotion. Stories designed to be told using a combination of audio and visual means don’t always translate well into the written word, even with accompanying illustrations, and despite Andreyko’s best efforts the Trick ‘r Treat graphic novel falls flat.

I would only recommend this graphic novel to those who have seen and enjoyed the Trick ‘r Treat film, and even then I would do so with the disclaimer that I can’t speak to how well the comic captures the feel of the movie. Trick ‘r Treat fans may find that the graphic novel adaptation falls short for them, as well.


Scare Sarah said...

The film was very surreal. I think it'll lend itself well.

Andrei said...

Eh, I'll probably give it a read if I get my hands on it, but by the looks of it I won't miss out on too much if I decide to skip it. Great review, though.

B-Sol said...

Paige always does an excellent job! Have to admit, this didn't look very good to me, either.

Spike Ghost said...

i want this... i need this :D

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