Fairy godmothers in glittery pink dresses are so overrated.
As a little girl who was dressed up as a flower princess for Halloween against her will and later transformed into a bat, I wish the Scary Godmother could have haunted my childhood in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.
The Scary Godmother comics first materialized in 1997 when Jill Thompson was looking for a Halloween book for her niece but couldn’t find anything in the crypt. Enter the whimsically spooky flame-haired witch with the striped socks and the literal skeleton in her closet. If you have the key to the Fright Side, use it to open any door and you’ll end up in her house of not-so-nightmarish horrors, where she might just be brewing you a cup of coffee (sans toe of frog and eye of newt).
Scary’s “broommates” are the reason that creepy little girl Hannah Marie, who is drawn like a more unsettling Shirley Temple, is no longer scared of things that go bump in the night. Bug-A-Boo is the professional thing under the bed who scares kids under their mattresses for a living and loves pizza. That werewolf in sheep’s clothing—as in, he wears a tacky shirt covered in sheep—is Harry, whose voracious appetite means you’d better keep an eyeball on him before he raids your boo-ffet. The only thing that can shut him up is shoving more food in his mouth. Mr. Skully Pettibone always comes rattling out of the closet, and Count Maxwell the vampire is something of a tribute to Count Orlok of Nosferatu while his wife Ruby and son Maxwell are more modern creatures of the night.
Again, where was this twisted fairy tale when I was Hannah’s age?
Scary Godmother has since flown from her Eisner award-winning Dark Horse comic series into several Cartoon Network TV specials, which are charming to listen to if the egregiously bad CGI doesn’t frighten you off, and even taken the form of a doll that will finally be crossing over from the Fright Side to our world. I backed this Kickstarter several years ago, so I positively can’t wait to add her to my collection of creepy things. With a set of Skully Pettibone’s bone china.
For those of you who are anything like me and convinced Halloween doesn’t stop at the witching hour on October 31, you really need every volume of this comic in your coffin.