Now that I’m a bit older, I still play dress-up, but no one’s offering me free candy, anymore. On the positive side of the equation, I can buy my own candy. It’s not nearly as satisfying, but at least no one is sneaking those tiny boxes of raisins into my Halloween bag. On the negative side of the equation, I only eat sugar-free candy these days. It’s a whole thing. Let’s not get into it today.
I also love I Luv Halloween. Years ago, I found volume one at the local library. Written by Keith Giffen and illustrated by Benjamin Roman, it was published by TokyoPop. I picked it up because the artwork appealed to me. I had no idea who the target audience was supposed to be. Published in black and white, drawn in an adorable manga-esque style, its main characters were children who engaged in very unchildlike behavior. Publisher’s Weekly called it, “a black comedy that reads as if Quentin Tarantino and Tim Burton had collaborated on a Halloween heist story.” They also wrote that it was “not for the easily offended.” If you somehow manage to find a copy and decide to read it, you have been warned.
Some of my favorite Halloween movies combine comedy and horror – more on that next week – so it turned out that I was the target audience. So was Harrell, which almost makes up for his sick enjoyment of Circus Peanuts. (Spangler Candy has been manufacturing Circus Peanuts for over 100 years. They’ve had more than a century to stop doing this. On the bags of their banana-flavored atrocities, the Spangler brain trust doesn’t brag about how good Circus Peanuts taste. They can’t, not while there’s truth in advertising laws still in effect. All the Spangler group can promise is that their bag of awfulness will be “Free of Major Allergens.” For some reason, they seem to think this ad line will compel the general population to stock up on the stuff. How is it, Spangler Candy, that you’re still in business?)
Back to I Luv Halloween, I enjoyed it enough to buy my own copy of the book. Soon afterwards, I noticed when the artist popped up on eBay, selling a page of his original artwork. Being always short of cash in those days, we bid what we could and won the prize! Weeks after we’d paid for the page, the artwork still hadn’t arrived.
When my package showed up, the artist included a note, apologizing for the delay. He also added another four pages of I Luv art to make up for his tardiness. It was like Halloween all over again. Free treats and I didn’t even have to dress up for it.
If Finch, Devil Lad and the gang were in our area, we’d know better than to offer them handfuls of pennies, Choco-Willies, or apples with razors in them (as one character foolishly does in the story). When they knocked on our door, they’d get those little Snickers bars every time.
Benjamin Roman accepted our commission request. This time, the artwork arrived quickly. Harrell tells me, upon seeing he drawing, I danced around the kitchen, saying, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
This is the polar opposite of how I’d react to a gift bag of Circus Peanuts.