Reviews

Review – Stranger Things Halloween Special (Dark Horse Comics)

Stranger Things Halloween Special (Dark Horse Comics) cover (detail) by Francesco Francavilla
  • Writing - 7.8/10
    7.8/10
  • Art - 7.8/10
    7.8/10
  • Overall - 7.8/10
    7.8/10

Stranger Things Halloween Special

Writer: Michael Moreci
Artist: Todor Hristov
Colorist: Chris O’Halloran
Letterer: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Maturity Rating: Teen
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: October 21, 2020

It is Halloween time in Hawkins, Indiana, and what better thing to do than sit around the fire at Castle Byers and tell scary stories?

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7.8/10
7.8/10
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Scary Stories in Stranger Things Halloween Special

It is time for a spooky story in Hawkins, Indiana, as Mike, Lucas, Dustin, and Will gather around the fire at Castle Byers and tell ghastly tales in Stranger Things Halloween Special. Before their life got really scary the “party” of Dustin, Lucas, Will, and Mike could just be kids being kids. Around Halloween time that means trick-or-treating and telling scary stories. Will has an especially creepy one up his sleeve. But the “Child-Eater of Hawkins” couldn’t be real, could it?

STRANGER THINGS HALLOWEEN SPECIAL ONESHOT
Stranger Things Halloween Special (Dark Horse Comics) cover by Francesco Francavilla

This is actually the first Stranger Things media I have consumed outside the show! I am a huge fan of the series (you can check my rankings of characters from season 2 here and season 3 here). Nothing against the comics or anything else; sometimes I just want the show, I don’t need anything else added. But I am a sucker for one-shots and holiday specials, plus it is hard to pass up that beautiful Francesco Francavilla cover. So, I picked up Stranger Things Halloween Special from Dark Horse Comics. Now it is time to figure out if it was a trick, or a treat.

Writing

Michael Moreci handles writing duties on this one-shot holiday specials. For what it is, this could be any characters, or really just some random characters, just sitting by the fire telling a spooky story. This really has nothing to do much with Stranger Things‘ mythos or legend. It neither adds nor takes away from the show…and I love it for that.

Moreci does exactly what I personally want from a comic book based on Stranger Things. I want the Netflix show doing all the storytelling and mythos. What we get here is the kids being kids and just being friends, which is actually what I wanted more of, out of the show. We get that in Stranger Things Halloween Special. We get to see the “party” just being good friends.

Now, the story mainly bases around Will’s scary story he is telling around the campfire. It is a fun, classic, almost Twilight Zone type tale. Moreci plays with it well and I actually just really enjoyed the short little horror story that was added into the mix of this issue. Moreci does an excellent job of catching that Stranger Things vibe and feel with his writing. The characters all feel true to their television show characters.

Art

Todor Hristov handles the art duties on the Stranger Things Halloween Special. Probably the hardest thing to do on these licensed books is trying to capture the likeness of the actors but still staying true to your style at the same time. Hristov does a great job of that. The characters look like their actor counterparts but still have Hristov’s flair to them.

Hristov has some fantastic textured linework throughout Stranger Things Halloween Special. Nice detail on the characters and some delightful background detail as well. He paces the story wonderfully visually, as well. Especially for the more horror elements. 

Chris O’Halloran does some beautiful coloring work, as well. There is this nice chalky, textured look to Stranger Things Halloween Special. He captures that Halloween feel with some wonderful dark colorations throughout the issue. Great use of reds and blues throughout the book.

Conclusion 

I was not too excited about picking up Stranger Things Halloween Special. I really just want the tv show, but like I said, I am a sucker for certain things, and this hit all the sweet spots to get me to pick it up. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised: it delivered exactly what I wanted. It didn’t really add or take away anything from the show’s lore or mythos; it didn’t change or add any characters. Really has zero effect on the show. It just showed the kids being kids and having fun before their world got turned “upside-down” (sorry, had to throw that in there). 

That is really what I want more of: the kids just being friends and doing stuff together other than battling giant monsters. Stranger Things Halloween Special delivered that. Some might be disappointed by that news, but for me, it is exactly what I wanted.


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