I know we’ve now left Halloween far in the past, but for horror fanatics like myself, that’s no reason to stop pretending Halloween isn’t 365 days a year. And since its Halloween (still) It seemed like a perfect idea to jump into a holiday themed book, like the Archie Halloween Blowout 2012, for example.
In my youth I never enjoyed Archie books. I grew up in impoverished neighborhoods, many of which were not predominantly white. I never had any issues with the life I lived as a child. I had my bad days and I ran into trouble from time to time, but I had caring parents, I had trustworthy friends, and I ate a few meals a day. But growing up in the environment I grew up in always made Archie comics look like total and complete jokes. I mean, really, who the hell lives such privileged and financially sound lives?
Who talks the way these cheeseball kids talk?
By god, who dresses them?
Riverdale folk. That’s who.
The thing is, now that I’m an aging father of three I want my kids living the closest thing imaginable to a Riverdale lifestyle. Those kids had it made. A bad day meant stubbing your toe, or getting a B+ on your report card. Let my kids live that lifestyle, they’ll probably end up much better off than I have.
And the whole point behind this rant is, now that I can see that lifestyle as a radically different alternative to the one I knew, and now that I’d much rather see my kids living that kind of lifestyle as opposed to the kind I lived, I can actually relate to the book in a way I never imagined. And even better, I can enjoy it, thoroughly. It’s no longer a joke to me… oddly enough, it’s closer to a dream.
Speaking of dreams, the troubles that surface for Archie and the gang throughout these brief Halloween tales are pretty dreamy. Costume conflicts and unexpectedly successful gags are just a few of the ideas toyed with in the collection, and the innocence of it all reminds the reader of a time when Halloween was different. In 2017 Halloween is every bit as much the festive bash for adults that it is for children. There’s a house party stuffed full of 30-somethings on every block, and drunken party goers are more frequently stumbled upon than little ones donning superhero outfits lugging around half-filled bags of candy.
That’s life. That’s what happened to Halloween. Except for in these stories, where kids still count for something and innocent scares are as endearing as they are effective. And there’s a lot to enjoy in all of that.
In regards to artistic style and narrative style, not much has changed from this collection and a collection you may have picked up 40 years ago, and that too, is pretty darn charming.
All in all, I really, really got a good kick out of this book. It’s about 100 pages, all dedicated to Halloween, all focused on Archie and the gang, all set in a picturesque setting. Even if Archie has never been your bag, now might be a great time to give this little booger a go!