I LUV HALLOWEEN is one of TOKYOPOP’s OEL – original English language or “American manga” titles. In the first volume, a group of trick-or-treaters believe that the apples they received at their first house of the night caused them bad luck and is the reason they keep getting bad candy. These gremlin-like, costumed reveling kids plot revenge on the old woman who gave them the apples by giving her bad fruit. That’s just the start of a Halloween night of macabre business.
Each of the three volumes of this series is going to focus on a full night of Halloween madness, but I won’t find out what future volumes hold. I found volume one to be bad on so many levels that I couldn’t finish it. The characters are reprehensible and disgusting, but not entertaining like a ghoul from a Tim Burton fantasy. They’re not macabre; they’re revolting. Instead of coming across as pop gothic, the characters and the story’s tone comes across as a lame version of the TV show “Jackass,” with the kind of dull juvenile humor that finds its way into Hollywood teen-oriented and 20-something comedies.
This is, of course, a reflection of the writer Keith Giffen, who has been having something of a career resurrection the last few years. In the past, when his work was bad, it didn’t hold anything back; it was all the way bad. I Luv Halloween is a bad idea that he strings along like a bad road movie. Artist Benjamin Roman’s character designs are a mixture of “The Garbage Pail Kids” and anime. There is also a touch of Paul Smith’s work from Leave it to Chance, with the flavor of cable animated TV series such as “Ed, Edd, and Eddie,” “The Wild Thornberry’s,” and “Rugrats.”
Ultimately, it’s all a bunch of ideas that amount to nothing but bad work.