"The Hada House"
Okay, so I've been shamefully negligent here of late: blame it partially on me having to adjust to new and frequently difficult circumstances, and partially to a rather disastrous computer meltdown (though I DID manage to save the files for my ongoing translation, to your undoubted relief). NEVERTHELESS, if you thought I was going to let a great holiday like Halloween get by me—HA! HA, I say!
So! Ready to do the time warp again? Today we are going to take a look at a little number by Marco Rota; Rota, of course, is responsible for my second-favorite Halloween story ever, (and even if it we ARE talking about a bit of a shallow bench, it really is great) and he's also written a number of other pretty great spooky stories (like this and this, which Elaine says she finds too disturbing to be enjoyable, but which I think is pretty great) that I hope may see American publication with this exciting new IDW deal.
For now, however, we are stuck with “The Hada House.”
Okay, so that didn't exactly sound like a red-hot recommendation, but actually, there's something to be said for this one, if you adjust your expectations appropriately. Boy, THAT didn't sound like a recommendation either. I am NOT on a roll here. But...okay, better stop while I'm ahead.
To the extent that this story gets by, it does it on atmosphere. As with many Rota stories, plot isn't exactly a priority. This can be okay; “The Halloween Huckster” isn't plot-heavy, either. Sometimes it can just leave a story feeling aimless, though. But whatever else you want to say, this definitely looks good and puts you in the Halloween mood and also there's a reference to the old English rhyme that became a pretty solid Steeleye Span song and whether or not it's one hundred percent thematically appropriate, I WILL TAKE IT.
Seriously, man, the looming mansion, the oddly-tilted gargoyle, the silhouette inside—GOOD STUFF. If the story could stay at this level throughout, it would be one of the all-time best.
But, well, it can't, not quite. Once our hapless couple actually gets inside the mansion and is dealing with its cartoony inhabitants, things get less interesting, and the story never really does anything with the initial Rocky Horror inspiration, though I would assume that “Rafferty” is in reference to Riff Raff from the movie. You know, if they ever make a comic about his adventures, and it starts with self-contained stories but later moves on to continuity-driven episodes in a longer ongoing plot, you can watch Rafferty turn into a serial. Just sayin.'
Mostly, Donald just sort of pinballs around. It's not the greatest thing ever, but I'll admit that it has a certain aesthetic appeal. Hell, there are a fair few early Barks stories that are basically flimsy excuses for us to watch Donald get injured, so there's precedent.
We could do worse, is what I'm saying.
Yes! THIS is what we want from a Halloween story! It makes me forgive quite a lot of silliness. STAY FOREVER!
Unfortunately, we inevitably come to the Big Reveal. I cannot say that I am transfigured by anger—I'm mellower than perhaps I once was, and I'm kinda used to such things anyway—but I would definitely say I am transfigured by slightly exasperated indulgence tinged with irritation at the inevitability of the whole thing. Is that something you can be transfigured by? Well, I am.
GRUMBLEGRUMBLEGRUMBLE. The other question is, what's with the sinister-looking cameraman in the lower right?
Of course, there's a bit of a kicker in the end; that too was inevitable. And don't think I don't appreciate it—it at least goes some little way to mitigate the lameness of the denouement—but it's not quite the spookiness I was hoping for.
Oh well—as sometimes happens when I pick through a story I'm not that enthusiastic about, I actually find that I like it somewhat more than I used to.
...but what's this? A gravestone, obscured by weeds and moss and spiderwebs? Let's carefully wipe them away, and...whoops, the flashlight is going out. Jiggle it to make it go fitfully on again. Okay, let's see...“Duck Comics Revue, 1857-1879?” WHAT?!? HOLY SHIT! THE BLOG WAS DEAD THE WHOLE TIME! DAH DAH DAH! AND WHAT'S THIS RUSTLING NOISE?!? AAAAHH! IT'S THE BLOG'S VENGEFUL SPIRIT! RUN AWAY!!!
...oh, wait, it was just a cat. PHEW.
A CAT WITH A BLOG-SHAPED SHADOW!
MUSICAL CRESCENDO, ROLL CREDITS
MUSICAL CRESCENDO, ROLL CREDITS
Labels: Marco Rota