Michael Myers is the understated horror icon, for better or worse. He’s the architect of the whole slasher genre and while John Carpenter’s Halloween is an undisputed classic, he doesn’t stand out as much as his fellow supernatural murderers. He’s the less-exciting Jason Voorhees, even if he came first and had his shit figured out by the first movie (as opposed to Jason’s three).
I guess Michael stands out less because he was never part of anything excessively dumb. Oh yeah, he had a bunch of lesser sequels that culminated in being beat up by Busta Rhymes and there’s that Halloween III fiasco, but he never fell into the pop culture trap of other ’80s and ’90s boogeymen. He didn’t show up on Arsenio Hall’s show or appear in a Fat Boys music video, for starters.
By the time we did get a silly Michael Myers moment, it was his goofy cameo in Rob Zombie’s Haunted World of El Superbeasto in 2009, merely a month or so after the last actual Halloween movie.
Since Michael was rarely as outlandish as his cinematic brethren, it made sense that it took so long for him to finally make his comic book debut. Freddy showed up in the late ’80s, while Jason showed up in the early ’90s, and Michael arrived in the year 2000. By this point, Halloween H20 had already come and gone, so the movie series was nearly dead already.
Released by Chaos Comics, Halloween #1 was written by Phil Nutman and Daniel Farrands with art by David Brewer. It follows Tommy Doyle, the boy confronted by Myers in the first movie who later went on to beat him down a bunch with a pipe years later in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. In other words, our hero in this story is Paul Rudd.
He’s mostly here to frame the issue, which is about Michael Myers’ beginnings. Tommy is obsessed with making a name off of Michael’s reign of terror and gets his hands on Dr. Sam Loomis’ old diary. From there, he reads about young Michael’s time in the mental institution, seeing as Loomis goes from wanting to help the mentally-distant boy to realizing that he’s evil incarnate.
It’s done surprisingly well. These kinds of prequel stories are always a touchy concept because they can easily go wrong. If Michael is 100% evil, then it’s a boring and meaningless story. If he’s created from his environment, you run the risk of humanizing him too much and making him look like less of a threat. Here, Nutman and Farrands blur the line and ask the question, “Could Loomis have saved him?”
Loomis mentions the other young inmates, all older than Michael. Coincidentally, that kid Blair is neither referenced or shown other than this intro. Weird. Especially because this flashback story doesn’t outright spell it out that Michael is behind all the murder and mutilation. Sure, Loomis believes he’s behind it and we know he’s a bad egg, but they could have easily tied Blair into it and made it a red herring thing.
Otherwise, the story is about Michael being put in an unwinnable situation where his roommates are not exactly a good crowd to be stuck with. But, just like Rorschach in Watchmen, they discover that they’re the ones stuck in there with him.
Once the issue comes close to running out of pages, we get a scene of Michael attacking Tommy. Since Tommy has enough plot armor, he is able to defeat Michael in a moment reminiscent of the ending of the first movie.
Months later, we get Halloween II: The Blackest Eyes with Phil Nutman and Mickey Yablans writing and Jerry Beck drawing. It picks up where the previous story left off with Tommy deciding to end Michael Myers once and for all.
This story isn’t so hot for the most part, partially because they spend a lot of time going into the whole cult backstory. The stuff about curses and druids always weighed down the Halloween franchise in the eyes of many. Luckily, there’s enough Michael action to make up for it, where he stalks Tommy, the sheriff, and the grown-up versions of the kids that bullied Tommy in the first movie, who are now hell-bent on burning down the abandoned Myers house.
Several months after that, we’re given Halloween III: The Devil’s Eyes by Phil Nutman and Justiniano. It begins with Tommy locked up in an asylum, mainly as a cover-up for all that druid crap that went down in the previous issue. He escapes and teams up with Lindsey Wallace, the other kid being babysat in the original movie.
Since this comic is released late 2001 and Halloween H20 came out a couple years earlier, they finally talk about the elephant in the room: Michael Myers is totally supposed to be dead, right? Like, Laurie Strode chopped his head off. Sure, Myers can heal from a lot of stuff, but the movies at least give us the illusion that there’s some kind of limit to it. He’s not like Jason, who can cartoonishly return from absolutely anything.
Even Halloween: Resurrection went with a different out, saying that Laurie killed the wrong guy. That movie wouldn’t be out for over half a year compared to this comic, so that raises questions. Are they going to go with that same explanation? Can Michael Myers come back from decapitation? Is there someone else under the mask? Hell, is it that Blair kid somehow?
It’s a strong finale to the Chaos Comics trilogy, though it does get a laugh out of me for Nutman just crossing his arms and going, “Yeah, I know this doesn’t fit into the movies. Screw it.”
Though it turns out there’s a reason for that. Daniel Farrands, writer of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, was at one point asked to pitch a follow-up to Halloween H20. The studio didn’t go with his pitch and instead, he just told Phil Nutman about his ideas and there we go.
Man, why can’t we get a comic based on Peter Jackson’s unused Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Lover screenplay? I’d read the hell out of that.
After the Chaos Comics stuff, there was only one voice of Halloween comics. Stefan Hutchinson wrote about all of Michael Myers’ exploits from 2003 to the end of 2008. For a Halloween convention, he made Halloween: One Good Scare, featuring muddy art by Peter Fielding.
It’s a good one-shot, all things considered. It follows the never-before-mentioned son of Dr. Sam Loomis, who followed his father’s footsteps and works at the sanitarium. Things get interesting for him when Lindsey Wallace has herself committed, insisting that Michael Myers is still alive and now he’s after her. This comic comes out post-Resurrection, so it asks the question of what Michael even wants anymore now that he’s succeeded in wiping out his family.
It’s a necessarily dire story that could have probably used a bit more of Michael in action, but succeeds in the end by rolling out some grade-A dread with a cliffhanger that’s never followed up on and doesn’t need to be.
In 2006, Hutchinson teamed up with Marcus Smith for the one-shot Halloween: Autopsis, released by Paranormal Pictures. It tells the story of Carter, a young photographer obsessed with images that “show the truth” because his father was a projectionist who died while Carter was watching Night of the Living Dead and that totally ruined movies and pictures for him.
…I don’t really get it either.
Short version is that he’s obsessed with photos of Michael’s victims.
The stuff with Carter isn’t so great, but the comic is redeemed by his stalking of Dr. Sam Loomis. See, it’s worth noting that Hutchinson’s comic world takes place in a continuity where only the first movie, first sequel, H20, and Resurrection happened. All the nonsense from parts four-through-six are off the table. That means that Loomis’ hastily-edited stinger death in Curse of Michael Myers didn’t happen.
As Carter spies on Loomis regularly, he feels pity for him. As he puts it, Loomis is no arch-rival of Michael Myers. He’s just another victim, living a sad existence where he knows his failure has lead to countless deaths.
Carter’s search for Michael leads to the obvious fate and we’re told that the story will continue in Halloween: Sam. Sam would be released as a PDF in 2008 on the now-defunct Halloweenmovies.com site.
Again, Marcus Smith is on art duties, but the story is mostly prose. It tells the story of the Halloween movies from Loomis’ point of view, ending prior to Halloween H20. It ultimately shows the final days of Loomis, who has grown so weary from his investment in Michael to the point of suffering a heart attack.
Michael appears before him for one last confrontation where Loomis is too tired and weak to fight for his life, but is able to at least get into Michael’s head a little bit and point out how empty a being he is. According to Loomis, Michael’s first kill was his peak and no matter how brutally he murders anyone else, it will never capture the same magic. It’s the closest thing to taking a loss that Michael does in the entire Hutchinson run and even then, not really.
In 2008, Hutchinson would do a handful of Halloween comics for Devil’s Due Publishing. The main one is a four-issue miniseries called Halloween: Nightdance, featuring art by Tim Seeley. Rather than bringing in characters from the various movies, it starts anew with a fresh set of characters. The best I can compare it to is the six-issue Friday the 13th comic Wildstorm released. It feels refreshing because it takes its time.
The one-shots and two-parters speed through everything a bit too much at times. Here, we actually get to know our victims and the tension is allowed to build.
Our protagonist is Lisa, a teenager who was locked in a cellar by Michael, along with a little boy named Daniel she was babysitting at the time. They were freed by a search party days later. Although Lisa doesn’t get to see Daniel anymore, he still sends her crude cartoon drawings every day. Things take a dark turn when these drawings become disturbing, like showing Lisa naked and covered in blood.
As you can guess, the unstoppable man in the William Shatner mask is looking to finish the job.
It builds on the modus operandi that Hutchinson introduced in One Good Scare. Michael Myers isn’t 100% about simply showing up and killing everyone in sight. Well, for the less-important people, sure, but what he really likes is confronting his prey, leaving them alive, and then coming back after their fear has ripened.
Next is Halloween: 30 Years of Terror, a double-sized one-shot featuring five short stories. They mostly feel a bit half-baked. “Trick or Treat,” drawn by Danijel Zezelj, is about the old couple who Tommy Doyle and Lindsey Wallace run to during the end of the first movie. While leading to some cool imagery, it ends just as quickly as it begins.
Jim Daly’s “POV” shows Michael murdering a beauty queen for kicks, mainly because that kill has been referenced in other Hutchinson Halloween stories. It’s not really a story. Just a sequence with a gimmick.
Brett Weldele’s “Visiting Hours” is about a girl who has been haunted by young Michael’s gaze for decades and awaits in the sanitarium for him to one day kill her because she’s too crippled by fear to do anything else with her life.
“Tommy and the Boogeyman,” drawn by Jeffrey Zornow and Lee Ferguson, is a weird one. It shows what Tommy Doyle’s up to in this continuity where Paul Rudd’s performance never happened. Part of the short story is a comic-within-the-comic about a cross between the Crypt Keeper and a tarantula, who acts as a more charismatic slasher villain.
Then we see that Tommy is apparently…Joe Quesada? Huh. Anyway, he draws Michael Myers comics.
Then there’s “Repetition Compulsion” with more great Tim Seeley art. It’s another Dr. Loomis thing, once again showing off how Michael is one step ahead of him at all times.
The final Halloween comic is Halloween: The First Death of Laurie Strode with art by Jeff Zornow. The three issue miniseries is supposed to be the link between the end of Halloween II and Laurie’s status quo as of Halloween H20, with Loomis faking a car accident and allowing Michael to believe she’s dead.
It’s a pretty weak comic, all in all, although I love the quick shout-out to Halloween III.
The second issue ends with Laurie watching in horror as Michael kills Jimmy, one of the survivors from Halloween II. That’s all she wrote because Halloween: The First Death of Laurie Strode #3 was never released. There was also hype for a miniseries called Halloween: The Mark of Thorn, co-written by Jeff Katz and meant to be released in 2009, but that got deep-sixed too.
Just as well, really. Hutchinson had nothing left to say. I’ll give him credit, he was able to build a continuity and use his different stories to fill in the blanks, but First Death of Laurie Strode shows the big flaw in his world. He’s too in love with Michael Myers and cares too little about everyone else.
Laurie comes off as too much of a mopey victim to want to follow. Dr. Loomis is a pathetic loser, constantly railed on for being a failure. Nearly everyone is murdered horribly. And Michael? He’s practically Batman.
And not the good Batman. I mean the hacky, overly-competent Batman who is 100 steps ahead of everyone and never gets punched.
One thing I’ve noticed about reading all the Freddy and Jason comics is that the writers are too into the villains to the point that protagonists aren’t allowed to survive. People survive the movies all the time, but in comics, they have to die violently to tie up these imaginary loose ends. The difference is, Freddy and Jason eat shit all the time, even in these comics where they always win. They’re overpowered, so they’re allowed to get knocked down because it’s only temporary.
Hutchinson’s Michael Myers doesn’t get knocked down. Outside of bringing up the explosion at the end of Halloween II, he refuses to ever show anyone getting the drop on Michael ever. The dude is nigh-unkillable. It’s okay to let him get hit with a wrench or a car every now and then. He can take it.
At least that initial Halloween comic from Chaos let Tommy outfight him. Yeah, Michael gets back up and wanders off, but we at least get to see someone fight back. It’s rather nice.
So yeah, the Halloween comics have their moments, but they usually try to play it safe too much. Sure, the curse stuff from the middle movies fell on its face, but at least they were trying something creative. Mix it up, man.
I will say this. Despite the comics taking place after the events of Halloween: Resurrection, Michael still never, at any point, chooses to seek out a rematch against Busta Rhymes. Hutchinson’s Michael Myers truly is a smart guy. He knows when he’s beat.
“Trick or treat, motherfucker!”
Gavin Jasper should probably start writing next year’s History of Evil Dead Comics article right now because that thing’s going to be ten volumes long. Follow him on Twitter!
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