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Hey look, a different comic approach! FIVE WHOLE COMICS FOR YOU TO ENJOY! I hope you like them, they were fun to write and draw.

Oh Halloween, that most magical time of year when spirits roam free and demons stalk the streets, looking to devour those that do not offer them respect. Some people like Christmas, I prefer Halloween.

Personally, I find the history of Halloween fascinating. While I’ve never really taken to the whole dressing up thing and only really went trick or treating until I was 10 or 11, I do like the concept of a holiday based on horror. The whole affair has really come a long way since it’s inception as All Saint’s Day, but less far than you’d imagine from it’s traditional roots as Samhain, the Celtic festival celebrating the end of the summer half of the year and the start of the dark winter half. In those days, folks dressed up to placate and ward off spirits, rather than to simply acquire fattening treats, though I imagine that if they had access to Snickers bars, they’d have gone door to door as well.

As an amateur folklorist, storyteller, and mythology nerd, the most interesting part of the holiday is its emphasis on monsters of all types. Television, advertising, and costumes are all oriented toward beasts and creatures, demons and angels, and it’s terribly intriguing to see the sorts of creations humanity has come up with over the years all at once. It’s as though we push the things that scare us and aren’t acceptable away nowadays and only let them come out at Halloween.

Consider the past. Monsters were serious threats to humanity even a few hundred years ago. Every dark place, every unexplored forest, every new frontier held it’s fair share of creatures waiting to tear you limb from limb. The fear of these things was so real it would keep people within settlements at night and worried during the day. Of course, fear is a dangerous thing, and as could be seen with the handling of witches in Europe, it can sometimes get out of hand.

These days we have different fears, newer ones that are harder to identify and even more difficult to grapple with. We’re afraid of terrorists and government plots and each other. We don’t have monsters to channel the energy of fear into something creative and interesting, we just have fear. While it may not always be at the forefront, it is a very real issue that needs to be confronted and dealt with in ways beyond just gross-out, gore-filled horror movies. I’m not sure what the solution to that is, but I am sure there is a solution.

Some look at it as a triumph that we no longer have anything to fear from monsters, and I can certainly relate to that (a more logical society is healthy) but not being able to experience the magic and wonder of monster-kind in the context of their times feels like a major let-down. There’s something about just reading a story about tengu, kappa, dragons, sea monsters, or ghosts that doesn’t quite capture the essence of what it would be like to actually believe these things exist. I’m not saying we should go back to those times, but man, some of the stuff people came up with back then was just crazy cool. The Jersey Devil? The Loch Ness Monster? Baba Yaga?

Totally awesome.

At least we have Halloween, though. I take this time of year to recognize all of man’s fearful creations and to smile at them, realizing that they were, and still remain, tools for our subconscious minds. Let us all appreciate them and enjoy how completely great they are.

You can do that while stuffing your face with candy, if you like.

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