Hallowe’en Countdown V, Day 31

« Carve out a pumpkin and fill it full of cake mix and raisins and bake for half an hour and then write me and let me know how it turns out. » — one of Patrick Dean‘s ‘Party Tips’

I never met Patrick Dean in person, but I did consider him a friend. I became aware of his work when we both contributed to the second issue of Danny Hellman‘s Legal Action Comics anthology, back in 2003. Looking back, it strikes me that we were among the very few participants not going out of their way to offend.

We began to correspond. Geography aside, we had plenty in common, and so we kept in touch over the years. Then poor Patrick was diagnosed with ALS and fell victim to that relentless degenerative disease a couple of years later. But that’s a well-documented tragedy, so I won’t dwell on it.

I know I’ll always be thinking of Patrick when the leaves turn to red and gold, and I do believe he would have liked to be recalled in that fashion. His own countdowns to Halloween were always heartfelt and delightful.

My partner ds is also a fan, and she shared her own appreciation here.

Patrick’s indispensable guide to all things Hallowe’en, The 2013 Haint Book (2013, of course).
An early-ish strip, from Big Deal Comics & Stories no. 4 (Winter, 2004).
Illustration for The Legend of the Jack-O-Lantern, from The 2013 Haint Book.
From Big Deal Comics & Stories no. 7 (Spring 2006).
From The 2013 Haint Book. If you must ask, a haint is « a type of ghost or evil spirit that originated in the beliefs and customs of the Gullah Geechee people, descendants of African slaves who live predominantly in the Low Country and on the barrier islands off the coast of the Carolinas, Georgia, and north Florida. » [ source ]
A brew only a witch could love, presumably. From The 2013 Haint Book.
With the passing years, Patrick’s work was just getting deeper and (yet) more emotionally layered. This is the opening page from Sometimes I Think About You at Night, the overlapping stories of two estranged couples, one living, one deceased, from Big Deal Comics & Stories no. 11 (2012).
Over the course of our correspondance, Patrick never failed to winningly personalise his mailings: this envelope features a shared favourite, Charlton Comics host Dr. M. T. Graves, he of the Many Ghosts.
A fitting coda to this (or any) edition of our Hallowe’en Countdown. See you next year, hopefully!

If you’ve missed any of our 154 previous instalments, here they are in handy and tidy fashion:

Hallowe’en Countdown I (2017);

Hallowe’en Countdown II (2018);

Hallowe’en Countdown III (2019);

Hallowe’en Countdown IV (2020);

and, bien sûr, Hallowe’en Countdown V (2021).

For the optimal Hallowe’en experience, you may kiss the Old Witch’s Finger (discovered on a beach while on vacation, earlier this month) and make a wish: a pox on your enemies or a tremendous candy bounty… you call it.


Tentacle Tuesday Masters: Patrick Dean

« Did I say daughter? I meant octopus. »

If you’re looking for gory tentacles, fountains of flesh and mounds of blood (err… unless it’s the other way around?), screaming hordes being devoured by a famished cephalopod with a mean streak… go look at our other Tentacle Tuesdays posts, for today’s entry is not for you.

HoweverPatrickDean-OctopusPoetry, those of you who like a friendly octopus and can appreciate understated wit and off-beat humour, stick around as we travel into a land created by Patrick Dean (not British Ambassador to the States). A word of warning – people randomly bursting into song and cohabiting with monsters is quite normal here.

Monsieur Dean likes monsters – nay, loves them – but he likes to contemplate them in their quieter moments: wooing a potential mate, politely asking for a BLT sandwich, watching a Julia Roberts movie or even reciting poetry.



All images in this post have been scanned from Big Deal Comics & Stories numbers 1 through 4 (published from 2000 to 2004), and lovingly coloured by my co-admin-cum-partner. I reread them recently in my ceaseless quest for tentacles, and while I remembered really enjoying them a few years back, I had forgotten how good they were. A lot of comics of a random, episodic nature are very much hit or miss, but these little gems are all gold, if you pardon my mixed metaphor. For instance, here’s PD’s summary of #3:

« More assorted one page strips. 28 pages of witches, cities, investigators, sailors, big shows, haunted houses, bees, record collections, band directors, roommates, octopuses, ham, radio towers, rainy days, treasure maps, J.D. Salinger, pork chops, and four leaf clovers. »

What kind of stone-hearted, dull-witted person would say “nope, not interested” to that? Luckily, not all Big Deal Comics are sold out – three issues are still available for purchase.

The best part of Cathy’s letter is… well, you guessed.

Those musical interludes I coyly alluded to earlier? Here.





The best saved for last? I think so!


Don’t forget to visit Patrick Dean’s website, visit his FB page, or admire more of his art here.

~ ds