I love Halloween. The candy, the costumes, the creativity. This year our store celebrated the Halloween ComicFest and I gathered up all our best reads in the horror category and made a giant display at the front of the store. Here is a list of my top ten favorites.
10: Sweet Tooth – Tired of all the hype around zombies but still love yourself a good post-apocalyptic tale? Then look no further than Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth. The world has gone to hell in a hand basket and suddenly women are giving birth to animal-human hybrid babies – some more feral than others. Sweet Tooth is one such hybrid named for his penchant for chocolate bars and other sweets. The story is captivating and the artwork ranges from sweet to downright creepy.
09: The Lost Boy – This book has beautiful artwork. Like, blow-your-mind beautiful. Also fairly creepy in spots. Now this is a book on Scholastic’s print so it’s suitable for younger readers. A boy moves into a new house and finds a tape recorder in his room – that thrusts him into a dark and dangerous mystery about a boy who went missing years ago. It’s completely in black and white – which only adds to the spooky appeal.
08: American Vampire – Stephen King partners with Scott Snyder and they both finally do Vampires some justice. They don’t sparkle. It isn’t a high-school drama with fangs. This is horror storytelling at it’s finest – I would love to see this become an HBO type show – it has that kind of potential.
07: The Walking Dead – Speaking of television shows – The Walking Dead has hit the big time. I always laugh internally when people come in and see the graphic novels on the walls exclaiming “Oh, Walking Dead has a comic now?” I’ve watched the show and I have to say, I’m not a fan. It lost so much of what made the comic so amazing. And it IS amazing. Also much, much, much more sinister and horror-filled.
06: From Hell – To be honest, this is not a one night read. Moore treads a fine line between the fact and fiction of the Jack The Ripper case. There is social commentary here – of both London in 1888 and the world in the 1990’s. More than a century later we are still fascinated with the Ripper case and the conspiracy theory Moore presents is as plausible as any other. This is a heavy read but well worth it. Brew lots of tea and settle in for the long haul if you pick this up.
05: Bedlam – This book is so popular we can barely keep it on our shelves. An ex-homicidal maniac is “cured” of his mania and now wants to help the police clean up his city. But can he be trusted? A fast-paced, often disturbing read.
04: Locke & Key – Fantasy, mystery, horror. This comic has all that and more. With stunning graphics that portray the character’s emotions perfectly Locke & Key is a dark fantasy about a New England house where the keys unlock doors that transform all who walk through them. You’ll be on the edge of your seat through each volume – I know I was.
03: Beasts of Burden – Some probably won’t find this scary. I mean, it does involve talking animals. And zombie dogs. And witch cats. And creepy haunted sewers filled with flesh eating rats. All brought to life by one of my favorite artists Jill Thompson – her watercolors blow my mind.
02: Witchdoctor – This esteemed Doctor fell from medical grace into the waiting arms of some seriously black magic. Now he heals the paranormally inflicted with a sarcastic wit that rivals House. I LOVE THIS BOOK. It’s everything I want. Great characters you fall in love with. A bit of off-beat humour and rawkous action. And some seriously fucked up monsters. Hell yeah!
01: Uzumaki – It’s Halloween. I’ve given you horror. I’ve given you creepy. I’ve given you sick humour and bloody action. What could possibly top the vampires, zombies and witchdoctors on this list? I present to you Uzumaki: Spiral Into Horror. And spiral you will. Junji Ito is a master of horror. Creating twisted tales that puncture your brain and sit festering in your gut long after you’ve put the book down. His artwork and his storytelling set him apart from everything on my shelf. I can read horror and dark fantasy but when I want to be truly scared – I read Uzumaki (or Museum of Terror)
Do you have a Halloween favorite to recommend? Please let me know!Have a safe and happy Halloween and a blessed Samhain (happy New Year) to all my pagan friends!