Review – Trick ‘R Treat
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Marc Andreyko
Art: Mike Huddleston, Grant Bond, Chris Gugliotti & Fiona Staples
Release date: October 2009
What’s not to love about trick or treating? It’s filled with scares, sweets, and dressing up. All these elements of the beloved Halloween tradition are present in Trick ‘R Treat. Written by Marc Andreyko, Trick ‘R Treat is a four-issue graphic novel adaptation of the cult horror film. As someone who has a soft spot for the film, I took the chance to review Trick ‘R Treat issues 1-4.
Like its cinematic counterpart, the story features four interwoven stories that take place in an unknown town during Halloween. There’s a high school principal who dabbles in a little murder with his son; A quartet of high school kids who fall victim to their own prank; A young virgin seeking her ‘first’ which takes a bloody twist; and lastly, a bitter old recluse who gets an uninvited guest. As you can probably already tell, these stories are not suitable for younger readers. This is evident within the first few pages that set the tone quite nicely for the rest of the series.
Each issue focuses on a different story, but they are all connected by a mysterious young trick or treater called Sam. This creepy little guy pops up in every issue and his presence reinforces the ancient traditions surrounding Halloween, which is really interesting, as there are so many opportunities for the story to go. One instance teaches you to always check your candy, as a young delinquent falls victim to his murderous high school principal. Then at other times, he is seen slaughtering and attacking those who do not stick to the rules of the holiday, such as giving out candy or keeping up their decorations. Halloween films very rarely focus on the actual holiday itself, and it’s something that makes Trick ‘R Treat stand out from the crowd and can put a chill up anyone’s spine.
Writer Marc Andreyko manages to capture the essence of the film’s script quite well, and the anthology format works rather well as a graphic novel. You can see clearly where each of these stories begin to connect with each other, which is crucial to the overall plot.
What I enjoyed about the writing, was the presence of both practical and supernatural threats. There are monsters and ghouls, but there are also mundane evils such as sadistic humans disguised as nice guys. It’s not a balance many horror comics can pull off and it adds to the atmosphere of suspense when you are reading.
The only major downfall is that Andreyko’s adaptation does not add anything new to the story or the overall plot. I feel like there are certain moments that he could have explored a little further or added in extra information. That’s only a small downside, because these issues are like four giftwrapped scarefests for any horror loving fan!
With a different artist for each issue, the artwork is certainly a bit of a mixed bag. Each artist brings a different style and this can make the four issues seem a little inconsistent. That’s not to say the visuals are not good. In the first issue, Mike Huddleston’s art looks the most realistic. With its dark purplish tint, he manages to capture the suspense of the film’s opening act. I really loved Grant Bond’s approach to the art in the second issue, which gives off this creepy cartoonish vibe. It adds to the campy and theatrical nature of the holiday and the story itself.
However, Christopher Gugliotti’s tackling of the third issue fell a little flat to me. I won’t spoil the story, but it contains one of the best twists in modern horror, and the artwork was either too dark to see what was going on, or a little too chaotic. It’s a shame because it’s a great moment, but the artwork was a little too obscure to really nail it.
For the fourth issue, Fiona Staples brings the old fashioned horror vibes. Think Tales From the Crypt or the Eerie comics. Her artwork is visually the most appealing and matches the darker tone of this issues story.
Overall, Trick ‘R Treat is a decent graphic novel adaptation of a really obscure horror film. Andreyko manages to capture the creepy tone of the film and has created a decent selection of horror stories. Though, if you are a fan of the film, these four issues won’t add anything new to the story but they do act as a nice visual companion to the film. If you’ve never seen the film, and you are looking for some good scares that aren’t cliche, then give Trick ‘R Treat a shot (preferably in the dark!).
If you enjoyed our review of Trick’ R Treat then leave a comment or rating below.
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