During The Monster Apocalypse, A Scared Girl Falls In With The Undead

In the webcomic The Last Halloween, young Mona's father refuses to take her trick-or-treating, which is probably for the best since the monsters of the world have risen up against humanity. When she finally finds a group of allies, it turns out that they're monsters, too.

Abby Howard's The Last Halloween is a gleeful blend of goofiness and horror, one that mates wide-eyed characters and absurd situations with some truly gruesome violence. Mona was actually excited for Halloween; she made her own costume and was hoping that her father would take her out to score some candy. Instead, though, her father—who has gone a bit mad in the wake of Mona's mother's death—leaves her home alone to watch scary movies on television. However, it quickly becomes clear that the monsters on the television aren't fictional—and that Mona needs to get out of her house before she gets eaten.

It's a weird and wonderful balancing act that Howard pulls off. Her character designs are deceptively simple, made for conveying big, over-the-top emotions. And the group of misfit monster kids Mona encounters seem ripe for an animated series, each with their own oddball personality. (I'm personally partial to Shirley, the Twitter-addicted hipster ghoul.) But Howard places them against imagery filled with dread—a horrifically charred body, twisted trees with swirling leaves, the sloping earth of an open grave—giving herself permission to enact moments of high ridiculousness and bloody horror side-by-side. And while Mona is trying not to have an aneurysm at each fresh terror, there's a larger story going on, on tied to a mysterious lady traveling with a monster partner and a fellow they seem to have kidnapped. All in all, it's great, slightly loopy, horror fun.

[The Last Halloween]