This month, Sparrow & Crowe takes a break from the Demoniac of Los Angeles to tell several tales in the spirit of the holiday. The Halloween Special contains four stories told by the usual Sparrow & Crowe creative team, former writers for Wormwood, and newcomers to comics. The entire issue is largely in black and white with a few colored pieces at the start of the stories and in the Gallery section.
First up, we’ve got “The Bony Lady” written by David Accampo with art by Jared Souza. This story dives straight into Aztec lore and focuses on the Mexican community in Los Angeles. This story is more on the creepy than the humorous side of Sparrow & Crowe, but, interestingly, it’s more psychological horror than Souza’s usual dramatic renderings. While the art still looks great, having seen Souza’s work fully rendered in color, I have to say it doesn’t look as good without it. All of Souza’s usually amazing work with setting ends up cluttering the scenes and makes the story harder to read, especially in the digital format where we’re given close-ups of every panel and even some erased pencil lines show up.
“Wingman,” written by Paul Montgomery and with art by Pat Grubb, is incredibly cute, having Sparrow out on a date and Crowe playing the part of “wingman” . . . well, what it means in their line of work anyway. Grubb’s art is perfect for the tone of this piece, which is zanny and cartoony. The image of cartoon Crowe is going to amuse me for a long while. The dialogue mixes the traditional snark-filled, dry humor of the characters with the quippy one-liners the art and scenario insist on. The one negative thing I can really say is that there is one panel I still have no idea how it fits into the rest of the story even after several reads, but I’ve got a couple theories, so it’s probably me overthinking it.
Next up is another horror story, “My Cordelia,” written by Christa Nahhas and with art by Chloe Myaskovsky. Nahhas worked overtime as this story is largely told through text, but the accompanying images add a lot to the tone. What art we get is a mixture of smeared and sharp lines that rock in the black and white style. Sparrow seems really adult and mature in this, much more like the woman she actually is according to Wormwood than the facade she throws on to keep the world at bay, which is a testament to both the writing and the art.
Fans of Wormwood know that Rogers has a talent for the macabre. “Beneath the Dial,” written by Jeremy Rogers and with art by Chris Anderson, is a pure Rogers story and delivers on the creep and horrific factor tenfold. What I didn’t care for in Anderson’s Sparrow and Crowe character designs Anderson more than made up for in bringing Rogers’ twisted imagination to life. If you couldn’t stomach (heh heh) the art in the past two issues of Demoniac of Los Angeles or your average Animal Man comic, I would recommend steering clear of this tale, but if you’re looking for genuine horror, this is a tale you need to read.
The issue also includes a short gallery of Sparrow & Crowe art, which is all good enough that I could easily see them being used as covers for Sparrow & Crowe stories in their own right. It’s worth adding that the Halloween Special has a bit of a rougher translation to Comxiology than other works I’ve read on the platform. It being an anthology and each story having less room to play with, I had more trouble filling in the gaps between panels than I normally would, and some stories like “My Cordelia” have sections that were really meant to be read as a whole page. The overarching art can’t do its job when zoomed in to one panel of text at a time.
The Sparrow & Crowe Halloween Special can only be purchased digitally and can be found in its entire 47-page glory over at Comixology for $1.99.