By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
The Halloween Comicfest is now into its fifth year, and this milestone certainly needs to be recognised. Not only will a handful of major comic companies, like Marvel, will be contributing themed goodies that comic shops around the world will distribute but also there will be toys! Diamond Select‘s release is the most notable, with sculpts from Universal Monsters Select Figures line. This year will see The Wolfman, The Mummy and Lucy Westenra, Monster Hunter.
Among the most notable items that will see free distribution is Afterlife with Archie: Season Two (Archie Comics), Evil Dead 2: Beyond Dead (Space Goat Productions), Harrow County (Dark Horse Comics), The Haunted Mansion #1 (Marvel) and Scooby Apocalypse (DC Comics).
Mini-Comics offered include John Carpenter’s Tales for a Halloween Night: the Traveler’s Tale, Mickey’s Inferno and Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Manga by Diamond Publications.
Please phone your local comic book outlet to see if they are participating in this program.
As for regular releases, the following are my picks of the season — but I must begin with a classic:
Although this series is technically out of print, they are worth tracking down to read for the Halloween season! These anthologies are great to get my spook on and with a roster of talents ranging from Robert E. Howard to this company’s own Mike Mignola, the reason why they should be examined closer is the love the creators have for the genre. The reason why I got hooked is because of a sampler offered during Free Comic Book Day; Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson crafted a wonderful tale of paranormal mystery solving animals. “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie” in The Dark Horse Book of the Dead and is one of those volumes that must be owned, I’ll be reading the four books come fortnight.
When when I thought reinventing a beloved franchise can be bad, I’m finding myself starting to like Scooby Apocalypse a lot more than my initial reaction. While this is not quite required Halloween reading, it fits in this list of must look at material for the season! When the apocalypse has destroyed everything that was, to see classic monsters from this series reinvented and reimagined is keeping me glued! This ongoing series is certainly going places where the cartoon series has not, and I will keep reading!
Crypt of Screams
This legendary creator is going old school in style and modernist in telling a quarterly anthology of tales drawn in black and white!
“Speed Demon” goes Old West with a Faustian type tale, “The Pond” sounds like a take on a local legend in Victoria, BC where a person who looks upon the lake (Mystic Pond) will see their future lover with horrible ramifications and “A Silver Lining” turns the Haunted Mansion formula around with a werewolf.
Little information is provided in how it will tie into the sequel, but as for ongoing adventures, everyone will certainly want to howl for it.
This one-shot is continuing a tradition started last year in Action Lab‘s Puppet Master series inspired by the films made by Charles Band of Full Moon Entertainment. Last year featured them invading a sorority house serving a pithy master, and this year’s outing looks at other tropes: for what lurks underneath Bodega Bay Inn, home of the puppets? Some creature lives there and the puppets have to defend their home. Sounds like a cabin-in-the-woods scenario set by the sea instead!
in La Dama de la Muerte
Other cultures celebrate the season differently. In Mexico, it’s known as the Day of the Dead and to see this get a cyberpunk treatment in Benitez Productions flagship comic is exciting! This three-part story will certainly the spirits alive for months.
After suffering a tragic loss, Lady Mechanika takes a trip to a small Mexican village just in time for their Día de Los Muertos celebration. But the festivities turn truly deadly after the arrival of the Jinetes del Infierno, the mythical Hell Riders.
The Fiddle That Screamed for Blood
The series features Rondel, a Van Helsing-like hero who wanders the Appalachians in meting out witches and magical creatures. This upcoming issue sounds like a love letter to The Fiddler on the Roof and Evil Dead, or could the story be something else? The cover alone makes seeking this title out a must!
Even children love their scary stories, and Albatross Funnybooks deserves special mention for bringing out a series to sate the youth in all of us. Eric Powell (The Goon) is penning this anthology series. I wonder if he’s pretty much the R.L. Stine of the comic book world?
Steve Niles‘ The October Faction has a new series, Deadly Season, and no list can not be considered complete without mention of this series. With the main series up to volume three, this read is simply fascinating! For those who do not know about this series released by IDW Publishing:
The lead character is Fredrick Allan, a retired monster hunter who is now teaching Monsters & Mythology while he hides from 30 years of enemies. His heyday was in the ’70s, so October Faction will flashback to those ’70s monster hunting days. The main thread is about this man who is trying to get to know his family for the first time ever. Unfortunately, while he has neglected his wife she’s become a pill-popping thrill-killer. His two children, just turned 19 and 20, are starting to piece together who their father is and also whether or not he is their real father.
– Steve Niles, Writer
Shadows on the Grave
Technically slated for Winter / Christmas release, this anthology collection can fit in there with The Nightmare before Christmas category but pre orders are happening now as October rolls in. For nearly fifty years, Richard Corben (Rat God, Ragemoor, Creepy, Eerie) has been terrifying readers with his unique visions of the macabre and the horrific. This eight-issue anthology will feature tales as represented in Corben’s signature black-and-white style. Each issue of Shadows on the Grave features four tales of horror, including the ongoing saga of Denaeus, a Greco-Roman-era version of Corben’s Den from Heavy Metal.