« And with that awakening, an insane sovereign
once again asserts his rightful dominion over
a night of madness — as the Halloween God! »
For years after Bernie Wrightson’s career path took him away from DC Comics, cover illustrations purchased by the publisher but left unused gradually trickled into print. Some were too specific and puzzling to be published tel quel, so new stories were written to order. Such a case was Batman no. 320 (February, 1980). This is another, which yielded The Halloween God, written by Gary Cohn and Dan Mishkin, illustrated by Ading “Adrian” Gonzales, and edited by Dave Manak.
And here’s an interesting twist: Wrightson’s original drawing didn’t quite look that way. As co-writer Gary Cohn told me, a few years ago, « When [editor] Dave Manak showed me this cover, the figure being thrown had a head much like the other goblins. I said, “Can someone change that to a Jack o’lantern head? Then we can write a story called, ‘The Halloween God.’ And so… »
I then asked Mr. Cohn whether he had any recollection as to who might have drawn said Jack o’lantern, as Wrightson was unlikely to be available. He responded: « My recollection might be wrong, but I think it was Dave Manak himself, who is no slouch as an artist. » That light effect on the ground really integrates the change, sells it, so to speak. Kudos to all involved.