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‘The Revenge of Hallowzine’ Horror Anthology Features Comics From 31 Local Artists

A group of artists of all different skill levels and artistic styles came together to create the fifth installment of the spooky comic anthology.

"The Revenge of Hallowzine" is an anthology that features more than 30 local artists who created spooky comics.
Provided/David Ellis
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CHICAGO — A group of local artists are creating a Halloween-themed anthology with spooky comics that draw from their personal experiences. 

Andrea Pearson, an artist from Rogers Park, is organizing the fifth installment of the anthology “The Revenge of Hallowzine” and publishing the collection through her new small printing press called Aquatic Panda Distro. People can help fund the project’s printing costs online

Over 30 Chicago-area artists with a variety of life experiences, skill levels and art styles contributed a wide range of comics to be included in the horror anthology, Pearson said. 

“Part of the fun of anthologies is discovering new artists and seeing their work side-by-side with other artists you might recognize,” Pearson said. “It’s about the discovery of finding new stories and new artists you maybe had never seen before.” 

Many of the artists put pieces of themselves into the anthology by depicting personal stories and drawing from their own life experiences, Pearson said. 

Contributor Melissa Kelley created a comic that pokes fun at people with doll phobias by depicting the ways her doll-collecting hobby is more silly than creepy. Contributors Max Bare and David Schneider wrote a comic called “Open Mice Night,” that’s about an open mic night gone wrong and is informed by Schneider’s experiences as a Chicago comedian. 

“There are some legitimately creepy stories, but there are also some really fun, silly, lighthearted stories,” Pearson said. 

Pearson’s comic in the anthology is called “Dichotomy,” in which she retells her father’s story about the time he met his doppelganger as a kid. 

“My father passed away a few years ago, so I did it in his memory and it was a cool way to think about the stories he used to tell,” Pearson said. “It’s kind of a true-life ghost story that was very fun to draw and very personal.” 

Credit: Provided/Andrea Pearson
A group of North Side comic artists meet up monthly to draw together, with some of their work included in the horror anthology.

“Revenge of the Hallowzine” was initially conceptualized a few years ago by a recently-disbanded group, Northside Comic Artists, which met up monthly before the pandemic to make comics together. Pearson and a few other former members took on the project with the group’s blessing this year. 

Local artist Eric DeSantis is currently working behind the scene to put the book together and get it ready for print. A painter from Rogers Park, David Ellis, designed the cover for the book, which DeSantis is using to create a cohesive design theme throughout the anthology. 

Pearson founded her small printing press, Aquatic Panda Distro, this year. She was inspired create the small press by other independent zine creators who’ve organized meetups, like Zine Club Chicago, as well as her own experiences as a biracial artist who works a full-time job to get by, she said.

She hopes to uplift artists of color and create a community for creators with day jobs, Pearson said. 

“I wanted to create a space for people like me in the world,” Pearson said. “There’s so much systemic oppression that keeps artists of color specifically from being able to create art full-time. I wanted to find other artists like me who have full time jobs to survive … and create a venue for people to show their art to the world.” 

Pearson plans to publish artists’ work and distribute it at local conventions, including Chicago Zine Fest and Chicago Alternative Comics Expo. She also hopes to create more opportunities for artists to come together, Pearson said. 

Some North Side artists currently meet up the first Wednesday of every month at Third Coast Comics, 6443 N. Sheridan Rd., in Rogers Park, Pearson said. 

“Working as a comic artist can feel really lonely,” Pearson said. “Being around other creative people helps you to feel more creative. Sometimes I’m just sitting there with my sketchbook open, talking to other artists while I’m sketching and messing around and it sparks ideas in my head I would never have thought of at home by myself.” 

People can find more information about future projects from Aquatic Panda Distro on Instagram

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