By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Halloween 2021 can still be about staying at home with a good book to read because of the pandemic, or going out and wearing a ghoulish face mask up since it’s appropriate to. After a year of being told by health boards about what to do and not to, I’m sure a revolt will happen. Events are taking place with restrictions in mind. All of that is fine and dandy, and for those who just want to be safe, I have the following book recommendations. The links provided go to Amazon USA, to which I’m an affiliate with, for those interested in purchasing.
Snow, Grass, Apples
Dark Horse Comics
This graphic novel adaptation of Snow White retells the tale from the point of view of the stepmother. It’s an eerie gothic style take which then steps into the realm of high romanticism. We are introduced to her as though she’s the heroine, rather than the wicked witch. She fell in love with the king, and he in turn took her in to be one of his many lovers. When we finally meet the daughter–who has vampyric tastes–the tale takes on a unique look at the tale most readers should be familiar with.
What makes this tale horrific is in how it ties to the seasons. The events take on various feelings of melancholy, cheer and rebirth. Colleen Doran’s art is exceptional in this piece as it plays with the motifs. The pictures’ mosaic-like quality looks like it should belong in the Sistine Chapel!
Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory HC
Dark Horse Comics
An elder member of the occult-battling pack of Wise Dogs recalls a harrowing mission–in U.S-occupied Japan after World War II, a mysterious curse creates an army of crawling, disembodied heads which threatens to overwhelm the region. Emrys and a team of canine companions attempt to solve the mystery, bringing them into conflict with shape-changing tanuki, evil oni, and a horde of vengeful demons.
The Walking Dead Compendium Volume 1
The Walking Dead IP is quite the phenomenon, and this collection brings together issues #1-48 so anyone new can get up to speed on why this series is loved. From the television series on AMC to its other iterations over the years, this book is the work that started it all! There’s two other collections, so for those inclined, they can get up to speed with Volume Two and Three before tackling the expanded universe.
Megaghost Volume 1
With new never before published story content and bonus sketchbook material, this volume is not to be missed! When Martin Magus comes into possession of a bewitched ring, he discovers that he now has the power to summon Megaghost! A giant supernatural robot sworn to defend the world against the creepy things that go smash in the night. Written by Gabe Soria and illustrated by Eisner Award-winning artist Gideon Kendall, this comic book is an action-packed, arcane adventure that mixes Saturday morning cartoon thrills with supernatural chills! Collects issues #1-5. as well as other tales.
R.L. Stine Just Beyond
“The Scare School” is the first in the series of graphic novels about three 12-year-olds who have materialized in modern times, as though to escape from something–a cyborg actually–before disappearing. When three modern day kids get curious, just where they end up makes for a must read for the season. Think Stranger Things meets Twilight Zone, and that’s this work in a nutshell.
The bonus is that this series is in development and will be coming soon to Disney Plus!
Lugosi: The Rise & Fall of Hollywood’s Dracula
Lugosi, the tragic life story of one of horror’s most iconic film stars, tells of a young Hungarian activist forced to flee his homeland after the failed Communist revolution in 1919. Reinventing himself in the U.S., first on stage and then in movies, he landed the unforgettable role of Count Dracula in what would become a series of classic feature films. From that point forward, Lugosi’s stardom would be assured…but with international fame came setbacks and addictions that gradually whittled his reputation from icon to has-been. Lugosi details the actor’s fall from grace and an enduring legacy that continues to this day.
The Dead Hand Book: Stories from Gravesend Cemetery
Source Point Press
Tales of warning, the deepest loves honored by surviving paramours and the indifferent cruelty of life in the 17th-20th century are all recorded in the Stories From Gravesend Cemetery. The purpose of this book is to educate the casual cemetery wanderer about how to read the old stones they pass by and to excite the #deathpositivity movement enthusiast or morbidly curious. This book aims to help honor those who have come before us by opening the door of understanding the strange records inscribed in old cemeteries; many of those interred below have only that record of their life existing on a crumbling stone.
Kitaro Volume 1 to 7
Drawn and Quarterly
No long time manga reader can go without this seminal classic by Shingeru Mizuki. He’s the creator of Kitaro. He’s just like any other boy, except for a few small differences: he only has one eye, his hair is an antenna that senses paranormal activity, his geta sandals are jet-powered, and he can blend into his surroundings like a chameleon. Oh, and he’s a yokai (spirit monster)! With all the offbeat humor of an Addams Family story, Kitaro is a lighthearted romp in which the bad guys always get what’s coming to them.
Garlic and the Vampire GN
Quill Tree Books
With humor, heart, and an unusual heroine who is braver than she realizes, Bree Paulsen’s colorful and cozy debut graphic novel is a farm-fresh tale that reminds readers to believe in themselves-and that strangers are not always as scary as they seem.
Garlic feels as though she’s always doing the wrong thing. No matter how much her friend Carrot and kindly Witch Agnes encourage her, Garlic just wants to tend her own garden, where it’s nice and safe. But when her village of vegetable folk learns that a bloodthirsty vampire has moved into the nearby castle, they all agree that, in spite of her fear and self-doubt, Garlic is the obvious choice to confront him. And with everyone counting on her, Garlic reluctantly agrees to face the mysterious vampire, hoping she has what it takes.
After all, garlic drives away vampires . . . right?
Demon Slayer Complete Box Set
No list can be complete when the anime fandom is in love with Demon Slayer. Anyone who hasn’t been indoctrinated or drawn into this franchise can get caught up with this release! This box set includes all 23 volumes for the reader who loves to binge, and it comes with an exclusive booklet and double-sided poster to show the passion. It won’t be the same for Tanjiro Kamado, the hero. He had a peaceful life in Taisho-era Japan, but after a demon massacres his entire family, he’s out for vengence! His little sister Nezuko is the only survivor, but is infected with demon blood. The series is about Tanjiro looking for a cure for his sister, and find that one demon who turned his world upside-down.