Why Abby Howard’s “The Last Halloween” Is Scary Good
Halloween may be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep celebrating with a delightfully depraved webcomic! Known for her dark humor, creepy imagery, and love of all things horrifying, cartoonist Abby Howard weaves a gruesome spell in her gory adventure-comedy The Last Halloween.
Unbeknownst to humanity, there exists a parallel dimension just beyond the shadows, populated by nightmarish monsters (one for every human born). For eons the monsters have been relegated to a half-existence, all of them dreaming of the chance to murder their human counterparts, an act which grants them immortality. The only thing keeping them at bay is an enigmatic peacekeeper known as the phagocyte. But on this Halloween night, someone has decided to remove the phagocyte from his post, and unleashed bedlam on the Earth.
It’s up to Mona, a lonely acerbic child, as well as some spooky allies she makes along the way, to restore the phagocyte, end the monster invasion, and somehow survive the night while all manner of creatures try to kill her. If Mona fails though, humanity will be decimated, an era of monsters will begin, and this really will be the last Halloween.
Howard’s tale balances on a razor-thin line between wry, affable humor and unsettling, skin-crawling horror. The Last Halloween is not for the faint of heart, as gore and violence go hand in hand with Mona’s journey, and the end of the world comes with a fair amount of blood and viscera. But mixed in with the frights is a surprisingly poignant story about the importance of trust, kindness, and family.
Mona is a hilarious unwilling heroine, calling out the absurdity of her situation with Howard’s trademark directness, but at the same time she is very believably a traumatized little girl. Best of all, amid the chaos and intrigue there are moments of somber quiet that, true to form, prove more spine-tingling than any chainsaw wielding demon.