I have a new slogan that may entice you into reading comics- “Comics: Bringing you back to the worlds you love, without having to re-envision shit!” Within the past ten years, screenwriters, television writers and novelists have begun to realize that the comic book medium is the ideal place to continue telling their stories, when they have been unable to do so in their original medium. The ‘Star Wars’ saga, The ‘X-files’ and Stephen King’s Dark Tower epic are all examples of properties, whose worlds have expanded once they have made the transition over to comics. In many cases, die hard fans of the franchises have become the ones who are now writing the stories.
One such die hard fan is Stephan Hutchinson, who has turned his immense love for the ‘Halloween’ films into the basis for his career. Stephan has spun brand new tales featuring Michael Myers, from HALLOWEEN: NIGHT DANCE to the anniversary special, HALLOWEEN : 30 YEARS OF TERROR. In each story, he has paid a tremendous amount of detail when placing his own tales in continuity with the ‘Halloween’ films. His newest book, HALLOWEEN: THE FIRST DEATH OF LAURIE STRODE, shows the same attention to detail, from the appearance of characters that are mentioned in ‘Halloween’ and ‘Halloween 2’ to the recollection of the events in both films. Though this may give goose bumps to Michael Myers fans, the real question remains- is the story exciting enough for those who aren’t obsessed with “The Shape”?
HALLOWEEN: THE FIRST DEATH OF LAURIE STRODE, which I will abbreviate as FDLS, offers a direct continuation of the story from ‘Halloween’ and ‘Halloween 2’. It begins days after Michael’s first killing spree in Haddonfield. As you would expect from the title, the story is about Laurie’s mental state after the first attacks. She is not handling it well. Every night, she has vivid dreams, where she is brutally mutilated by Michael.
What is interesting about this, is after every attack, her dead face, with its eyes gouged out, is left looking very similar to Michael’s mask. Laurie’s subconscious mind is trying to assimilate the revelation that she is really Cynthia Myers, Michael’s sister. Consciously, Laurie cannot deal with the information. She takes the drug, Placidyl, along with antidepressants, just to deal with the tremendous amount of survivors guilt she has.
She shares this burden with Sally Winters, who had the flu, and was stuck, safe, at home, on the night of Michael’s killing spree. Sally is slowly becoming Laurie’s new best friend, and is somewhat of a bad influence on her. She encourages Laurie to get high and get drunk, as a way to forget all the guilt, pain and fear she has inside.
For those of you fans who are familiar with the ‘Final Girl’ concept, and consider Laurie to be the prototype for it, this change in her character offers up some thought provoking ideas. Is Laurie now in true danger, since she is smoking pot and drinking, therefore tarnishing her good girl image? Without her innocence, is it possible Michael may be able to kill her?
Dr. Loomis certainly thinks Laurie will die at Michael’s hands (er knife). Loomis shows up at the end of issue one, to spread fear throughout Haddonfield, shouting over and over again, that even though Michael was caught in the explosion at the hospital (at the end of ‘Halloween 2’) “HE’S NOT DEAD!” Loomis may be right, considering that Laurie starts catching glimpses of Michael, every so often, out of the corner of her eye.
I was going to give FDLS a poor review after I finished reading the first issue. The majority of it was filled with Laurie’s narration and scenes with her whining to Sally Winters about how horrible her life is. Of course Laurie has good reason to whine, but this would have turned out to be a pretty lame mini-series, if that was all that went on in four issues.
I changed my tune after reading the second issue. At this point, Laurie has Judith Myers journal. She reads Loomis a passage, describing a time when a four year old Michael caught his sister having sex in the woods. Loomis compares what she read to his experience of trying to psychologically analyze Michael. Together, they try to figure out just exactly what Michael Myers really is, and in doing so, take the reader along with them for the journey.
And what a twisted journey it is. Artist Jeff Zorno has a talent for drawing some of the most disturbing things I have seen in comics, from Laurie Strode peeling her face off in a dream sequence, to an image of Michael and Laurie’s parents’ dead bodies trapped in their crashed car. It is going to be difficult to get the image of Michael’s father, with his face wrapped around the car’s steering wheel, out of my mind.
Hutchinson and Zorno are the perfect combination for bringing the newest chapter of the ‘Halloween’ saga to the comic book form. If FDLS retains the level of quality that issue two had for the next two issues, it will be a must read for die hard Michael Myers fans, as well as comic book readers, looking for a scary story.