Archie Halloween Spectacular: Short on Stories and Fun

Archie Andrews and gang dress up for Halloween in the Archie Halloween Spectacular Cover A. Written by Dan Parent. Drawn by various artists. Published by Archie Comics. 10 October, 2018

Archie Halloween Spectacular

“Something is Missing!!”
Dan Parent (Writer), Bill Golliher (Artist), Bob Smith (Artist), Glenn Whitmore (Colours), Jack Morelli (Letters)
“They’re Creepy and They’re Kooky”
Dan Parent (Writer), Jeff Shultz (Artist), Jim Amash (Artist), Glenn Whitmore (Colours), Jack Morelli (Letters)
“A Bewitching Tale”
Dan Parent (Writer), Bill Galvan (Artist), Jim Amash (Artist), Glenn Whitmore (Colours), Jack Morelli (Letters)
Archie Comics and DC Entertainment
10 October, 2018

Archie and the gang are out celebrating Halloween in the Archie Halloween Spectacular, a collection of three short comics.

archie halloweenIn the first story, “Something is Missing!!” the gang are out trick or treating with Jughead’s sister, Jellybean. Jughead and Jellybean have a competition with each other: who can acquire the largest amount of candy from the neighbours. Though Veronica and Betty think it’s childish for them to go trick or treating, they’re determined to help Jellybean win the contest. But a silly competition soon becomes the least of their concerns when they lose track of the little girl.

In “They’re Creepy and they’re Kooky,” the supposedly haunted Wellington house of Riverdale has acquired new residents, a family as bizarre as the house’s history. Betty and Veronica want nothing to do with the residents, not even with their teenage daughter Monica, who will be joining Riverdale High. But when Archie disappears inside the house with Monica, it’s up to Betty and Veronica to find a way to rescue him.

The final story, “A Bewitching Tale,” features Betty and Veronica joining the school Halloween play, but Veronica isn’t pleased with the role she is given. She takes matters into her own hands but will she get to steal the spotlight?

Veronica taunts Jughead as she and Betty ally with Jughead's sister, Jellybean, in the Archie Halloween Spectacular Page 4. Written by Dan Parent. Drawn by various artists. Published by Archie Comics. 10 October, 2018
A fun start that goes nowhere.

As much as I love short stories, the ones in this book felt rushed and underdone. There’s barely any substance to them, which I realize is asking for a lot considering these are Archie comics. But stories need to have a purpose, and these don’t.

The story about Jellybean seems like a wasted opportunity. Being in charge of someone and losing them is terrifying, and though I don’t expect Archie to explore such dark subject matter, some heft would have been appreciated. On the other hand, if they wanted to play it for laughs—all the kids are dressing up as the same character so, how do you tell them apart—the story failed to deliver its punchline, leading to a stale conclusion to an overwrought joke.

The second story riffs on the Addams Family, even giving the new residents of Riverdale the same get-up. It’s a cute way to show us how ominous the family might look to Betty and Veronica, but again, the pay-off is lacking. Why do the family dress that way? Do they live like that? Or is it because the other Riverdale kids are inquisitive? There are so many layers to this story that are completely ignored in a bid to get to the ending. The result is a story that promised so much and delivered so little.

The final story is probably the best thought-out of the collection. There is a specific aim for this story, and it slowly builds to it. There isn’t much action or suspense, but it is the most Archie-esque of the three in this book. Without giving away any spoilers, when I pick up an Archie comic, this is the kind of plot, and ending, I expect.

Betty and Veronica realise they've arrived at Pop Tate's with the wrong in the Archie Halloween Spectacular Page 6. Written by Dan Parent. Drawn by various artists. Published by Archie Comics. 10 October, 2018
This should have been called the Betty and Veronica special.

The stories in this collection all focus on Betty and Veronica, which becomes dull reading after a while. It would have been better to put a different character in the spotlight each time, à la The Simpsons‘ Treehouse of Horror specials, or the Jem: Dimensions comics. The Archie universe is so rich with characters, this would have been the perfect opportunity to highlight some of the supporting people like Moose, Midge, Reggie, Kevin, Chuck, and Ethel. That’s just naming a few! I understand this is a collection of existing stories, but a more varied range would make for a fun reading experience.

I love the art throughout. These are classic Archie stories and the art is exactly as I remember it from reading the comics as a child. The colours are bright and vibrant and pop right off the page. I would have loved more spookiness though; it is a Halloween edition.

Perhaps it would have been wiser to increase the number of stories, or the length of each individual tale. Twenty-four pages is hardly anything, especially when five of those are dedicated to Betty and Veronica’s party tips that aren’t as helpful as they think they are. I’m not sure what Archie Comics was hoping to achieve with this issue, but it doesn’t feel like they succeeded. This collection is a fun read, but it just leaves you wanting more.

Louis Skye

Louis Skye

A writer at heart with a fondness for well-told stories, Louis Skye is always looking for a way to escape the planet, whether through comic books, films, television, books or video games. She always has an eye out for the subversive and champions diversity in media.
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