It’s that time of year again, where everyone tries to come up with suitably punny twitter names (Treehouse of Horror style) and gears up to watch Hocus Pocus.
But this Halloween, make sure you read some spooky, scary and just plain strange comics. Here are recommendations featuring vampires, zombies, faeries, people brought back to life and all sorts of places where strange things happen.
Note: Many of these books contain violence and gore, with some also featuring nudity and sexual violence.
Eve has an imagination that’s more than active – it can be downright dangerous! Working late at the costume super-store Halloween Land, she gets lost in her own thoughts until something goes bump in the night. The rubber masks and plastic novelties are coming to life, and Eve must face ghosts, goblins, and gorilla suits made real.
A 44 page one-shot features art by the amazing Amy Reeder (Madame Xanadu) that should really get you in the mood for Halloween – not to mention give you some last minute costume ideas!
The New Deadwardians
In post-Victorian England, nearly every member of the upper classes has become a vampire to escape all the zombies. Into this simmering cauldron is thrust Chief Inspector George Suttle, a detective who’s got the slowest beat in London: investigating murders in a world where everyone is already dead!
When the body of a young aristocrat washes up on the banks of the Thames, Suttle’s quest for the truth will take him from the darkest sewers to the gleaming halls of power, and reveal the rotten heart at the center of this strange world.
If you like your detectives period, a la Sherlock Holmes or Ripper Street, or are looking for a vampire/zombie story with a difference then check this one out. As well as a great mystery, The New Deadwardians touches on issues related to class (with the upper classes being Young while the rest – the Bright – are still susceptible to being bitten by the Restless) and gender (the societal expectation of when women are permitted to “take the cure” and the women pushing for equality – and “throats” ) related to the period.
Locke & Key
Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them… and home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all…
When a horror comic author’s pedigree includes multiple Bram Stoker awards and being Stephen King’s son it’s gotta be worth a look. A movie trilogy was announced at ComicCon this year and I am so excited about that.
Cryptids. Aliens. Monsters. All the world’s bizarre secrets–what if they were real? Their existence would be debunked by a reality TV show! HOAX HUNTERS is that show, publicly disproving all variety of lore. But their real goal is the opposite: as the world’s dark corners surface, the HOAX HUNTERS cover them up.
Reality TV, supernatural coverups and an… astronaut made out of crows? What’s not to love about that?
Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things
Courtney liked her life. She had friends scattered throughout her city neighborhood. She enjoyed school, and her teachers and classes were the best. But that was before. Now Courtney’s parents have dragged her out to a high-to-do suburb to live with her creepy Great Uncle Aloysius in his spooky old house. And while her parents have slipped easily into their new social status, Courtney now has to deal with snobby classmates and the strange shadowy visitors that often come to visit her uncle. Now, instead of kids from the neighborhood, her only friends are ghastly ghouls and spooky spirits. Hmmm… maybe this won’t be so bad after all…
Courtney Crumrin is not just my favourite little girl without a nose, she’s my favourite little girl dealing with all sorts of faerie creatures in the forest. If you loved the artwork on Holly Black’s Good Neighbors graphic novels, then check out Ted Naifeh’s earlier work about less than good neighbours.
Rachel Beck wakes in a shallow grave and claws her way free as a mysterious woman watches from a bluff. With no memory of the night before, Rachel enlists the help of Aunt Johnny, the town mortician, to find her killer. But when repeated attacks send her to the morgue, Rachel’s ability to wake from death again and again prove to be a blessing and a curse, and the eerie town of Manson will never be the same!
Although I have yet to read Moore’s most famous work, Strangers in Paradise, Rachel Rising was enough for me to believe people calling him one of the medium’s greats.
Morning Glory Academy is one of the most prestigious prep schools in the country, but behind it’s hallowed doors something sinister and deadly lurks. When six brilliant but troubled new students arrive, they find themselves trapped and desperately seeking answers in a place where nothing is what it seems to be!
Thanks to a recent Comixology sale I was able to binge on the seven volumes that have been released so far. And despite having read all seven I am still so very confused; just when I think I have something figured out, nope, sorry Catherine. I have no idea what is going on – and this is the one time that makes something awesome.
Trapped on an island off the coast of Maine, the people of Hopeless find life a little darker and more dangerous with every day that passes. The number of orphans rises continually, but who can say what happens to their parents? Plenty of the bodies are never found. This is not the stuff of happy, careless childhoods, it is instead fertile ground for personal demons. In Hopeless, the demons are not always abstract concepts. Some of them have very real teeth, and very real horns.
If you like books about kids stuck in spooky places where things are going wrong then Hopeless, Maine is an excellent way to jump into reading comics and graphic novels.
Pearl Jones is a struggling young actress in 1920s Los Angeles. But when her big break brings her face-to-face with an ancient evil, her Hollywood dream quickly turns into a brutal, shocking nightmare. Plus, in a back-up tale by horror master Stephen King, learn the origins of the first American Vampire!
American Vampire is a bloody romp throughout history as written by one of my favourite comic writers of the moment. AV is scary, funny, heartwrenching and just plain fantastic.
Death’s daughter rides the wind on a horse made of smoke and her face bears the skull marks of her father. Her tale of retribution is as beautifully lush as it is unflinchingly savage.
One-part western, one-part fairytale, one-part horror, any story about Death’s daughter is worth reading this Halloween.
When her world is turned upside down and she is stripped of everything she loves, Mercy must take on dark powers to help save the soul of her beloved Sarah.
Lesbian vampires are so overdone. It’s time for some lesbian werewolves!
For one day in rural central Wisconsin, the dead came back to life. Now it’s up to Officer Dana Cypress to deal with the media scrutiny, religious zealots, and government quarantine that has come with them. In a town where the living have to learn to deal with those who are supposed to be dead, Officer Cypress must solve a brutal murder, and everyone, alive or undead, is a suspect
I love paranormal mysteries. And what’s more interesting than a murder where the victim has come back to life? One where they can’t remember what happened, and the only evidence it happened at all is that they died and came back?
Ghostbusters v5: The New Ghostbusters
The Ghostbusters are gone, spirited away by some dastardly demons from another dimension! But spectral shenanigans haven’t ceased in the city that never sleeps, meaning a new group will need to step up and don the proton packs. Will the New Ghostbusters be able to rescue their predecessors, or will they share the same fate?
Excited by the news of a new Ghostbusters movie with lots of hilarious women but can’t wait for it to come out? Then check out The New Ghostbusters.
Who you gonna call? Janine and her team of ladies!
And, uh, that token dude.
BONUS: Batman: Li’l Gotham #1
It’s October 31st, but Robin needs Batman’s help to learn the true meaning of Halloween…CANDY! And will Robin be able to tell the difference between the real evildoers and costumed children, or will the kids get clobbered while the villains escape?!
Batman teaches his son and Robin (Damian, the one raised amongst the League of Assassins) all about the true meaning of Halloween. Cute and funny, it’s a great Halloween read (and all holidays for the rest of the series) for all ages.
And since it’s already in your heads…