By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Dark Horse Comics
Netflix’s Stranger Things may well be part of your All Hallows’s Eve ritual with this one-off comic book special. This yarn written by Michael Moreci has all the hallmarks of a classic campfire story setup. The air is chilly, and Will’s idea is the type you’d expect to have a clever jump scare. Todor Hristov‘s art sets the tone for that, and Chris O’Halloran‘s colours draw you into the tale within a tale.
The lads are introduced to doing what they do best, goofing off and playing games. No, it’s not Dungeons and Dragons (that release is next week). They’re enjoying the night at the woods, trying to scare each other. Will’s story about the Child-Eater of Hawkins sounds genuine enough. I can hear Noah Schnapp’s voice as he tells this gently spooky legend. It doesn’t get too wildly nasty like the events leading up to their encounter with the Demogorgon–this story takes place before season one–but instead dulls the terror down to the level of Stephen King.
The terror takes place in the late 60s, when Beth Baker disappeared. Other kids–Alex, Bobby, Angela and a quickly taken fourth wheel are involved this time, and are trying to figure out why four children went missing over the years. The concept in this tale is well thought out, suggesting the entire town is in on some terrible secret.
I surmise the real world connections are just that. Specific folks in Hawkins know more than anyone else realizes. Maybe this Halloween special foreshadows an event still to come, but we’ll never know…