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TALES FROM THE LONGBOX!

"The Most Halloweeny Comic Characters!"
9/30/09
by: Protoclown

There are lots of great spooky comic book characters out there that invoke the imagery and ideas of Halloween. Hell, when you consider that nearly every superhero or villain is wearing a crazy outlandish costume, just about every comic character can be tied to Halloween in some way. But there are certain characters that get all the spooky elements just right, so that they practically ooze Halloweenness out of every pore.

So break out your party hats, because today we're going to celebrate those characters who so expertly embody the most awesome of holidays. I'm mostly sticking to Marvel and DC characters here, with one exception, and bear in mind that this list in no way reflects on how awesome these characters are. Some of them are in fact quite stupid, but you at least have to give them props for representing Halloween. Oh, and guys like Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, and Jason Voorhees aren't making the list. I'm only considering original comic book characters. If they started out in some other medium, they're automatically disqualified from my list. So without further ado, let's have at it then.

Jack O'Lantern


As far as Halloweeny characters go, the King of them all (at least in my book) has to be Jack O'Lantern. The first man to don the flaming pumpkin, Jason Macendale, was perhaps better known for his stint as another Halloweeny Spider-Man nemesis known as the Hobgoblin, but as he was just a copycat of the Green Goblin and not quite as Halloweeny as Jack here, I chose to represent him in this incarnation instead. Few things say "Halloween" like pumpkins, and when you carve an angry face into one, set it on fire and put it over your head, there are few people who are going to fuck with you. The only thing that overshadows how incredibly badass such a stunt is is the fact that it's completely fucking insane. Fortunately for him though, he's not so insane that he thought to go with the "flaming bag of poo" theme instead, representing another, more prankish element of Halloween. I'm sure Spider-Man thanks him for that every day.

Scarecrow

Most of Batman's Gotham City rogue's gallery pull off spooky rather well in one way or another, but Scarecrow is without a doubt the one who best represents All Hallow's Eve. Given that his whole shtick revolves around causing fear in those he encounters, the guy is kind of like a walking horror movie. Even knowing that it's just skinny Dr. Jonathan Crane behind that mask doesn't make him any less terrifying--something about those long lanky limbs when he's in that creepy costume give him a pretty unnerving aura. Of course, the fact that he uses fear-inducing drugs on his victims certainly helps. Maybe Batman and the Gotham City Police Department can team up for some kind of DARE ad campaign revolving around the scarecrow. I imagine teenagers probably follow him around trying to get high off his fear toxins, which must get pretty annoying when he's trying to be stealthy, having an entourage of stupid kids just trying to get fucked up.

Green Goblin

This guy's really got the spirit of Halloween down to perfection. Not only does he tool around town with jack o'lantern bombs, but he's even got a little satchel to carry all of his candy in when he goes trick or treating. Some would call it a purse, but those people would soon find themselves sucking on a fat pumpkin bomb, should they say that to Norman Osborne's face, on account of him being batshit crazy. And if you saw this guy fly up to your high-rise apartment on his little rocket sled on October 31st and say "trick or treat", I think you'd find yourself very agreeable to the idea of tossing a few Snickers his way. And just look at that hat! It's like a fucking windsock on his head!

Etrigan, the Demon

When you really think about it, Etrigan is kind of ridiculous: a squat yellow demon with fins for ears who leaps around in a blue cape and red underpants while speaking in rhyming verse. And he even wears little "booties" on his feet. I don't know what else to call them. (I'll bet when he goes to sleep he wears those pajamas with the little footies attached to them...and maybe a little trapdoor for his patootie). But there's still something about the guy that always makes me think of the Halloween season. I can't even explain why--it's not like his red, yellow and blue color scheme does anything to really invoke the holiday. Maybe it's the name of his human host Jason Blood. Maybe it's those orange glowing eyes surrounded by what appears to be large glops of black eyeshadow. Or the fact that I usually see him guest starring in stories that more fit the bill. Regardless, this little goober always makes me think of October, so I'm including him on my list.

Spawn

If you've ever read Spawn, you know that what started as an interesting concept turned into a terrible, crappy comic book that utterly refuses to take the story anywhere that doesn't involve Spawn sitting on a skull throne for countless hours brooding about how much his life (and comic) sucks. But much as I hate his comic, I at least have to give the guy his due: he does fit the Halloween bill pretty well, being a guy who went to Hell and managed to get out by agreeing to be a Hellspawn soldier in the demon Malebologna's (sorry, easy joke) army. His costume is adorned with spikes, chains, skulls, and a cape big enough for an entire boy scout troop to camp in and tell ghost stories (while parked directly under his ass... if that's not scary, I don't know what is). Combine that with the fact that in the good ol' days he was constantly tangling with bizarre creatures such as demons, clowns, demon clowns, self-mutilating religious fanatics, and cyborg gorillas, and you've got a recipe for a ghoultastic time.

Ghost Rider

There have been several Ghost Riders over the years, but the best known one is easily Johnny Blaze. Cursed by the demon Mephisto, Johnny's head catches on fire at nightfall, which has really wreaked havoc on his sex life, except with women who are into that kind of thing, which let's face it, are probably few and far between. Limited to afternoon delights, Johnny gets on his flaming motorcycle and cruises the nights looking for rights to wrong and people to save. This is kind of like a modern version of the Headless Horseman, except that he has a head and it's on fire, and he's on a motorcycle instead of a horse, but aside from that, exactly the same!

Gentleman Ghost

Gentleman Ghost is awesome, because never fails to strike me as absolutely hilarious every time I see him. I mean, it's a ghost dressed up in a fancy 19th century suit, with a cloak, tophat, and monocle. Oh, and no face. It's the kind of ridiculous villain that only could have been cooked up in the Golden Age of comics. I place him on my list above any and all other ghosts simply because he's nothing more than a walking wardrobe, and he's got style. Just look at that spectral bowtie! And what's that monocle hanging off of? Why would a ghost need a monocle anyway? Does that mean that ghosts can be near-sighted? Why would someone even bother wearing a monocle in the first place, because wouldn't that give him a headache to only have one eye's vision corrected? Oh, the questions I would ask him if he were real!

Baron Blood

Baron Blood is a vampire created by Dracula who Captain America has to keep killing over and over again, because he totally sucks. Oh shit! You see what I did there? It wasn't even intentional. Introduced in the horror comics boom of the 1970s, Baron Blood was retconned into Cap's World War II past, facing off against and getting his ass kicked frequently by Cap and the Invaders. And let me just tell you, if you're a vampire, a guy who is on fire like the original Human Torch is probably not someone you want to have on your enemies roster. So I could have gone with Man-Bat here instead (he's far more respectable), but something about Baron Blood just cracks me up, to the point where I sort of find him endearing on some level. I mean, yeah, the guy's not threatening in the slightest, and you'd laugh if you saw a guy like this in real life trying to attack you, but hey, he's fucking trying, you know?

Swamp Thing

Sure, Swamp Thing's not to scary once you get to know him, but until then he's a freakish, mutated creature of the swamp. A classic DC horror character dating back to the 1970s, Swamp Thing just has an iconic horror look about him, and with a spin-off TV series, movies, and video games, he's instantly recognizable by many people who don't read comics. Swamps by themselves tend to be scary, because they're dark, often slimy, and carry all kinds of unknown threats. Toss in mutants and a healthy dose of occult mysticism, and you've got a recipe for a classic horror character. And you've got to respect a guy who takes the time out of his day to stop and smell the roses (or petunias, or whatever the hell that flower is).

Doctor Destiny

Skeletor owes a lot of his appearance to Doctor Destiny, thorn in the side of the Justice League since 1961. His ability to manipulate the world of dreams has an all-powerful sort of menace to it, much like the power Freddy Krueger enjoys over his victims' dreams. I mean, even if you're Superman, how can you fight a guy who has the power to turn all of your dreams into gay sex scenes? Robbed of his power to dream by the doctors in Arkham Asylum, he has gone completely mad over the years, making him ever more dangerous every time he inevitably escapes through Arkham's revolving door to menace the heroes of the DCU again. There are plenty of skull-faced comic villains who could have filled this spot, but those of you who have read Sandman know just how fucked up and scary Doctor Destiny can be (which is surprisingly scary for a guy who normally wears blue pajamas, cape and a skull mask).

So that's a pretty good start to what could end up being a long, ongoing thing. There are many other Halloween-inspired comic characters that could have made this list, but I had to draw the line somewhere. If there's enough demand though, I may well do a follow-up piece for next year, so if you didn't see a character you felt deserves to be on the list, sound off on the comments below and I'll take it under consideration for next time!

Have any questions or comments about this piece?
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More Halloweeny Comic Characters!

Reader Comments

Simpson's Trivia King
Sep 30th, 2009, 05:36 AM
For my money. I always preferred the Hobgoblin over any of the Green Goblins any day
Member
Sep 30th, 2009, 05:39 AM
Never heard of Dr. Destiny. Man Skeletor used to seem so original to me.

I would say Dr. Strange could make the list. The guy dresses like a bad Vincent Price character and is always trying to be all spooky and stuff. Something that the venture bro's picked up on when they spoofed him. Also as you mentioned, man-bat. Of course Morbius would fit the bill as well. Blade not so much unless you count "Blackula" as a halloween classic. Also if you are going to count Swamp Thing then you really have to mention the Man Thing. Man Thing first appeared in May of 71 and Swamp Thing didn't appear until July. Although now Man Thing is some sort of magical zombie puppet thingy they started out as very similar books. Though I do certainly understand why swamp thing is more popular.

Might as well throw in the ENTIRE batman cast as well. Think about it, grown men and women dressing up as either animals (batman, robin, catwoman, ect) characters based on pop-culture spoofs (The Mad Hatter, Scarface) or classic halloween costume ideas (Joker, Harley Quinn). Everyday is Halloween in Gotham. Seriously, you'll be hard pressed to think of a batman villian that wouldn't be considered either a monster straight from a horror movie and/or a guy in a halloween costume if they were taken out of the context of the books. I mean yeah other comics have a bunch of costumed freaks as well, but their costume is generally a super hero one... you know tights with their initials on them. Gotham City villians (and heroes for that matter) look they they robbed the local spencers and suited up.
Pickled Patriarch
Sep 30th, 2009, 05:40 AM
Wow, upon first seeing him, I thought Doctor Destiny WAS Skeletor. Just throw in the chest belt 'n staff and stick him in Snake Mountain and you'd have Skeletor in a nutshell.
Member
Sep 30th, 2009, 07:17 AM
I've seen that pic of Scarecrow before, and it's one of my favourites. It'd make a good trading card.

Also nice to see the Gentleman Ghost, who is a particular favourite of mine as well.

No mention of DC's Jack O'Lantern? While not quite as classic or... pumpkiny as Marvel's, he's still got a pretty cool look, I think.
Member
Sep 30th, 2009, 10:04 AM
Would any of the Yellow Lanterns count? They do draw their power from fear, so there's bound to be someone who fits the bill. And how about Trigon or Mephisto, you don't think that devils count as Halloweenish but Green Goblin can be in because he's got Pumpkin Bombs? Well, maybe next year.
Pip Pip is offline
Forum Virgin
Sep 30th, 2009, 01:35 PM
Quote:
Seriously, you'll be hard pressed to think of a batman villian that wouldn't be considered either a monster straight from a horror movie and/or a guy in a halloween costume if they were taken out of the context of the books.
Julian Day comes to mind...Poison Ivy somewhat.

Next year, I want to see Demogoblin and Nightwatch though.
Forum Virgin
Sep 30th, 2009, 02:00 PM
Dr. Destiny may look like a Skeletor derivative, but he's extremely evil. In one issue I read about (made #1 comic book horror moment in one of Wizard Magazine's lists), he broke out of Arkham with Sandman's jewel and used it to psychologically torture and eventually kill the patrons in a diner.
Member
Sep 30th, 2009, 02:26 PM
I think etrigan reminds you of halloween cause he is a hell fire demon that could rip you in half easily (although you can hurt him with a fire extinguisher which is pretty funny)
Member
Sep 30th, 2009, 03:55 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pip View Post
Julian Day comes to mind...Poison Ivy somewhat.

Next year, I want to see Demogoblin and Nightwatch though.
Well Posion Ivy always reminded me of the classic "EVE" costume but that could be argued. As for Calendar man he literally used to dress up as a giant calendar, so again, guy in a lame off-the-shelf halloween costume.
Kwisatz Haderach
Sep 30th, 2009, 05:50 PM
Great article proto. I honestly thought Dr. Destiny stayed inactive after Sandman.

I'm surprised there weren't any JTHM characters in here. Senior Diablo, The Dough Boys, Wall Monster or even Johnny himself.
Riot Control
Sep 30th, 2009, 06:45 PM
I think that Scourge of the Underworld should make it to the list.
That damn kid
Sep 30th, 2009, 06:47 PM
Damn, I'm surprised you didn't use a picture of doctor destiny from "Arkham Asylum: Serious House on Serious Earth", he was much scarier there, even though he was defeated by being pushed down a flight of stairs in a wheel chair D:
The Goddamned Batman
Sep 30th, 2009, 07:37 PM
HowardC: Yeah, I agree about the Batman cast, but a line had to be drawn somewhere. Since this was supposed to include characters from many comics, I just picked the most Halloweeny Batman character.

DarkfireTaimatsu: I'm actually not familiar with DC's Jack-o-Lantern. And there's no picture on that Wikipedia page so I still don't know what he looks like.

Drunken_Lemur408: There may be someone among the Yellow Lanterns who could make the list. And a guy who has little mini jack-o-lantern bombs and dresses like a pointy eared green goblin? Hell yes he's more Halloweeny than just some crappy demon dude!

TuxKamen: Oh, absolutely. Reread the paragraph I wrote about him, and you'll see I reference that Sandman shit.

Hangie: That was simply the best pic of Dr. Destiny that I could find online.
Member
Sep 30th, 2009, 08:30 PM
Wait, do the Black Lanterns count? They are Zombies. Although then you would have to throw in the entire cast of Marvel Zombies as well. Dead Man probably fits though. Also,I will admit that they're not as Halloweeny as the Green Goblin, Mephisto and Trigon fit because Halloween is always being associated with the devil.
Amicable Herculean
Sep 30th, 2009, 10:06 PM
Quote:
I still don't know what he looks like.

Totally not a ripoff of another well-known hero with "lantern" in his name. Nope.
Member
Sep 30th, 2009, 11:35 PM
He's even got his own little Trick or Treat bucket! Oh, and his powers seem pretty good for a haunted house.
Amicable Herculean
Sep 30th, 2009, 11:38 PM
The best part is that the "bucket" has his face on it.
Temperamental Texan
Oct 1st, 2009, 12:14 AM
Disney wouldn't have made nearly so much money had they gone with that Little Mermaid design.
Member
Oct 1st, 2009, 03:28 AM
I actually have a comic somewhere that references Jack-o-Lanterns origins. One of these days, I'll have to find it.

And how about Nightcrawler for a Halloween character? With the Brimstone BAMF and demonic look, I'd say he fits the bill.
King of the Monsters
Oct 1st, 2009, 03:55 AM
What??? No mention of Marvel's Scarecrow??? Dude was warped. Like a bizarre kinda slasher villain almost. :P

Great list.
Forum Virgin
Oct 1st, 2009, 06:36 AM
Primortal, I'd agree with you there. I have the second DC Vs. Marvel issue, where the two universes Scarecrows are stalking either Lois Lane or Mary Jane (been so long since I've read the issue), right after Killer Croc and Wolverine bust out of the sewer, fighting eachother. As for Etrigan, I was going to mention earlier I have a comic where the Joker accidentally summoned him (he was trying for Lucifer, but called Etrigan instead by using rhyming verse). Joker eventually made a deal with the Demon (but since it was just part one of an arc, I don't know how it all turned out). He also had a pretty funny part in "I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League" where Blue Beetle catches him not rhyming, and he just says, "So sue me."
Forum Virgin
Oct 1st, 2009, 10:00 PM
Hah. "Bushmaster" on that comic page made me laugh.
God of Pickled Toast
Oct 1st, 2009, 11:18 PM
What about Ragman and Simon Dark? Especially Simon Dark.
pij pij is offline
Forum Virgin
Oct 2nd, 2009, 12:31 AM
From the lesbian version of Robin to Disney animated jailbait: The story of the Little Mermaid.
SPOOOOOOOON!!!
Oct 2nd, 2009, 06:44 PM
Man, am I glad I never read Global Guardians. I mean, Bushmaster, Godiva, Green Fury, and my personal favorite, Impala? Impala? These guys make Lightning Lad and Matter-Eater Lad look badass. And I don't even care what their powers are. Impala can blow up the whole world? I don't care. I'm still making fun of his name.

Nice article, by the way, Proto, but a bit disappointing not to see Mephisto.
Hypnotic Swirling Colors
Oct 3rd, 2009, 01:21 AM
In that global guardians picture, jack 'o lantern was the only one who got the meneceing glare down.
pickled
Oct 3rd, 2009, 06:10 AM
I was sorta expecting some obscure characters.
Forum Virgin
Oct 4th, 2009, 06:34 AM
Wasn't there a guy called Halloween Jack?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween_Jack
Hypnotic Swirling Colors
Oct 4th, 2009, 07:55 PM
Wait a second. Most of the DC characters from other comics in Sandman are on this list. Was I reading a horror comic all along and didn't know? 0_o
Member
Oct 8th, 2009, 10:54 AM
What about Solomon Grundy, Phobia from Teen Titans, Deadman, The Spectre, Phantom Stranger, DC's Sandman, Mister Fear, Marvel's Dracula, Marvel and DC's Frankenstein, Cryptkeeper, Cain and Abel, Werewolf by Night, Zombie, Living Mummy, Hellboy, Ghost, Judge Death, Mobius, Silver Banshee, Lord Pumpkin from Ultraforce, Lillith, Damian Hellstorm, Terror Inc., and Man-Thing?
The Goddamned Batman
Oct 8th, 2009, 02:17 PM
Many of those were on my list of potentials, but I had to draw a line somewhere or I'd still be writing the thing. Look for a sequel next year where I'll cover some of those guys.
Big In Japan
Oct 10th, 2009, 03:09 AM
Yea, i stopped caring about Spawn after Greg Capullo left on pencils.
taco loving zombie
Oct 10th, 2009, 03:13 AM
i still read spawn he was buddies with jesus and now is earths only god
good fer what ails ye.
Feb 25th, 2010, 05:59 PM
I would say basically any J. Vasquez character pretty much fits the bill.

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