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The cozy-shadow allure of Autumn

While there's not much of an Autumn in Malta — none at all actually — I've always loved the idea of a true fall.

The colour palette is especially alluring to me, the hues of which can all be reflected in the fallen leaf of a deciduous tree — plum, dark red, sienna, copper, burnt orange, dark yellows.

There's something about the colours and the weather that inspire one to imagine witches around a corner, pumpkin-people, monstrosities of all shapes and sizes — often the friendly, even cutesy, kind.

I had the pleasure of discovering the Cartoon Network animated series, Over the Garden Wall, yesterday. I watched all ten episodes of the mini-series at one go, which translates to about 1.6 hours of running time. It's the perfect autumn watch.

It's about two brothers, Wirt and Greg, who get lost in the woods. A woodsman warns them of a Beast lurking in the forest and to stay away from the Unknown.

The series was created and written by Patrick McHale who was a writer on Adventure Time too. Over the Garden Wall is a little masterpiece for children and adults alike and the art and music are gorgeous. There's a lesson to be learnt at the end, but getting there is an absolute blast. It's also got a bit of a Hayao Miyazaki feel to it.

It features all the perfect fall iconography — from pumpkins and antler-headed demons to witchcraft and magic and getting lost in the darkness. It's the epitome of the cozy-shadow allure of autumn. After consuming it, you're likely to go on a search for folksy and Americana memorabilia and Halloween art.

I know I did, which is how I discovered that retro Halloween postcard collections are a thing (and a thing of beauty at that) and how I stumbled upon the old board games and art of the McLoughlin brothers. It's the kind of cutesy-creepy aesthetic that I am so fond of.

It's also writing that appeals to me very much. It reminds me of why I love Shel Silverstein, Tim Burton's poetry, Roald Dahl, Edward Gorey, Chris Riddell's art and Paul Stewart, and many others who mingle the innocent with the dark.

I have this children's story at the back of my mind and it's been there for quite a long while and sometimes I wonder whether I should give it a go, whether I'd be any good at it. I'm not too terrible at illustrations either, so it could be another project I could get lost in for a while.

But I digress. Over the Garden Wall was an excellent mini-series and I fell in love with it. It's great that there are comics being published after the series ended for those who couldn't get enough.

In the meantime, I've decided that my autumn reads this year will be the following: Lives of the Monster Dogs (which I've already started), In the Night Wood, and The Only Good Indians. There'll be more but those are the ones on my list for now.

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