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Hallowe'en: A Retrospective

You know that scene inPleasantville where Bill, the puppy-dog-eyed soda-shop owner, wistfully explains to David that the one part of each year he looks forward to is the bit where he gets to decorate the front window of the shop for Christmas? I have my shop window as well: the special banners that appear every year on Hallowe'en, Christmas, and Valentine's Day. I do so look forward to creating these banners, on which I often lavish an unnecessarily huge amount of care. Though I don't really believe in going back and hashing over past plotlines and/or psychoanalysing myself in comments posted beneath every comic, I am not averse to indulging in a bit of musing over these banners and what I might have been thinking when I created them.

All the banners are collected on the Miscellaneous page. This page, on the other hand, is devoted exclusively to Hallowe'en (I'll do the Christmas and Valentine's Day pages around Christmas and Valentine's Day). Below please find the Hallowe'en banners thus far, as well as my comments on them.


This was my first "special" banner ever. As such, it contains a certain...lack of creativity. I do quite like the way the letters are apparently so saturated with blood that they seem about to melt into puddles of gore. Any moment now, a woman willscream, and something will pop out of the bathtub.


Thisis still one of my favourites. It is a truth universally acknowledged that when you have a blond(e), a brunette, and a redhead all together in the same comic, you will not have a hard time finding properties to parody, and Casey, Barbara, and Marie really do fit the Freddy/Daphne/Velma bill, with Rahim tagging along as a rather reluctant Shaggy. This comic took me a while to put together, but I got to play around with gradients and make gentle fun of Scooby-Doo, so that was a win-win right there. This was before I discovered how to create little globes of radiance around light sources, a skill I will make use of below.


Marie and Casey were at odds when this banner appeared, so I decided that he wouldn't feature in it. I believe I had this idea late and instituted it out of desperation, but I quite like the way it turned out. It may or may not be apparent by this point, but Barbara is kind of my hero. I approve of the way she is always sneaking up on people. Also, there's something about drawing the split second before everything descends into screaming horror and possibly ends in a smashed pumpkin and some well-aimed punches that appeals to me.


I have made no secret of my feelings about the Twilight series. I think possibly one of the movies had come out relatively recently when I went to draw this banner, and it seemed quite naturalto mock sparkly vampires and everything they stood for. If I were to do it again, I would find some way of making the red lettering easier to read. However, I do approve of Barbara's torch. I frequently have problems drawing fire. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't.


This banner came out a couple of months after Casey's disappearance. I could have left him out of the banner again, but I preferred to include a ghostly, mysterious Casey barely illuminated by a single candle. If you don't count the background of the Scooby-Doo banner, this was possibly the first WoB strip, panel, or banner in which I bothered with even rudimentary shading. I did learn some things while working out the effects of the light source. Oh...and I created a light globe for the first time ever. This may be the spookiest of the WoB banners thus far.


Considering Marie's recent obsession with Doctor Who, as well as the fact that many of my readers had theorised that Casey was a Time Lord, 2011's banner seemed inevitable. It also echoed the comics, in which Casey and Marie were attending the Davies Hallowe'en party as the Doctor and River Song. Barbara's red hair made her a natural Amy, and Rahim's cynicism and job as a nurse propelled him into the role of Rory. As far as I'm concerned, the most nightmare-inducing monsters Doctor Who has ever produced are the Weeping Angels, and the most nightmare-inducing moment in any Weeping Angel episode is the one just before the light goes out. I fiddled around quite a lot with the shading in this banner because it simply looked better when I did. This banner may just tie the 2010 banner on the spookymeter...for viewers of the show, at least. It also ties the Scooby-Doo banner for pop-culture referencing. If you click on it, you can see a bigger version.


I'm not sure how it took me so long to do a header based on The Nightmare Before Christmas, but ah well: I got to it eventually. Marie is usually just about as confused as Jack Skellington, though she's probably less in danger of kidnapping Santa Claus and inadvertently terrorising all the children in the world. Then again, who can tell?

Comics copyright Kari Maaren 2006-2011