This Saturday many comic book stores across the country will celebrate Halloween ComicFest, reveling in the horror-day spirit of screams and scares this frightful fall.
Here is a "Friday Five" of some of the most creepy comics and spooktacular series lurking in our cob-webbed strewn bookstacks, just in time for the Halloween season.
The Walking Dead
Robert Kirkman's comic book series that started the pop culture phenomenon that has currently sweep the nation like, well, a zombie plague! The inspiration for the smash hit television show, the general story here is not really anything new (unknown plague begins turning people into zombies (or "walkers" as they are called here) and the lone survivors must fight the horrific hordes of the undead to stay alive and possibly find a cure), except Kirkman focuses the majority of the series on the everyday, mundane aspects of the human condition and the horrors that lie beneath the surface through the analogy of a zombie apocalypse. Of course, there are still plenty of flesh eating ghouls and over the top horror and violence packed between the back and white inked pages.The first 8 hardcover collections of this series are recommended, but after that, you *may* find yourself getting more bored and / or angry that horrified, depending on how attached you get to the characters.
For over 20 years now, "Big Red" (as he is affectionately known as to his B.P.R.D. teammates) has been the unlikeliest of heroes, protecting the world from and fighting off the doomed and damned legions of hell. The world Mike Mignola has created with Hellboy is part EC Comics, part ancient European folklore, and populated by weird Lovecraftian supernatural monsters. I've written about Hellboy in the past on this blog and I'd be hard pressed to come up with a favorite story, so instead I'd recommend you just read anything and / or everything in the Hellboy universe.
The be-all and end-all name in horror comics.Sometimes trashy, sometimes terrifying, but always "entertaining" (that's what the "E" stands for in EC, natch!), these putrefied pulp magazines were full of four color fear and kids in the 1950's couldn't get enough of titles like Tales From The Crypt, Vault of Horror, and Weird Science. So much so that a devious doctor of psychiatry Frederic Wertham deemed them dangerous to children and wrote his own terrifying treaty on the subject, Seduction of the Innocent. The doc was a quack and if anything, just made the EC Comics brand even more legendary and mysterious. Essential Halloween season reading... or at the very least just gasp at the amazing artwork from comic craftsmen like Johnny Craig, Jack Davis, Frank Frazetta, Al Williamson, Basil Wolverton, and Wally Wood!
Locke and Key
Spooky, supernatural suspense and dark fantasy lie behind the doors of Keyhouse, a New England mansion on the island of Lovecraft, filled with otherworldly portals and bizarre creatures who roam its grounds. From the (warped, in a good way!) mind of Joe Hill (Stephen King's son!) with eerie art from Gabriel Rodríguez, the characters in this series—besides having to deal with the weird and unexplained goings-on in their midst—must also learn how to cope with their own personal demons, secrets, and mysteries. Read this scary series before it becomes the next blockbuster genre television show and / or movie!
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Crank up this tune and blow up the Hellmouth all over again! Literally picking up right where the (oc)cult television show left off in season 7, Dark Horse Comics called up Joss Whedon and gave him free reign to continue the adventures of Buffy and the "Scooby Gang" in comic book form. The "Whedon-esque" dialogue doesn't miss a beat and the pulpy artwork pops off the page. Storylines include Buffy leading a new group of militarized Slayers, Buffy decoys, "zompires", the horrors of reality tv, and blossoming demonic romances. If I told you anymore, it would be full of spoilers. Vampires, teenagers, and "Freaks of the Week" (er, comic book issue), Oh My!
We have horrors by the hundreds in our collections. With a quick search, and you're sure to find something to scare your senses and terrify your eyes. And unlike when you get caught standing around reading the newest issue of your fav series at your local comic book shop instead of buying it, all you need is your library card for all of the above free frights!
What horror, sci-fi, or mystery graphic novels are you currently reading? Let us know in the comments!