“Haunted” is a result of a 24-hour comics marathon and it retains that energy. Often, a comic created during one of these all-nighters is part hot mess and part mad genius. They sometimes come out fine as is. Usually, refinements are made. For “Haunted,” it looks to me that Zahler kept much of the original by keeping to a minimal line. Lettering, coloring, and some other adjustments later, I believe he has come out smelling like a rose. The stars must have been shining down on him. That makes sense to me since this comic is full of star-gazing whimsy.
Zahler chose wisely on setting up his premise and chain of logic. You’re not supposed to come into one of these 24-hour sessions with a full-on script, just a concept. I can see in good 24-hour comics, like an elaborate game of charades, one idea giving root to another. You begin to see patterns. An exit strategy emerges. A detour is contemplated. A clever coming full circle is hoped for. Once that circle is complete, you sit back and marvel at the journey you took to get there.
This is a successful 24-hour comic. Zahler pulls together a thread dealing with two lovers, star-crossed AND at a crossroads! If you take a look at a lot of these all-night comics, you’ll see a lot of stars. Somehow or another, night itself becomes a character. Imagine that. It is under the cover of darkness that so many of these comics find a way back to the light. Either that, or they crash and fail. Zahler does not fail here.