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The Mass Media

Top 10 Halloween Comics

Comics Image 1
Comics Image 1

Halloween is here, and in case you didn’t know, comics have a longstanding history with horror — in fact, gruesome and violent encounters of the four-colored kind were part of the reason Fredric Wertham, a German-American psychiatrist, thought that kids who read comics would become delinquents!

But since the Comics Code Authority is defunct today, and horror comics abound, the Comics Corner has come up with a list of the Top 10 Halloween Comics that are sure to scare, disgust, or engage your childhood nostalgia for a Halloween defined by “Hocus Pocus” and “The Nightmare before Christmas.”

#10. “Anya’s Ghost” — A charming story by Vera Brosgol about a Russian-American girl who, in the throes of a battle for high school popularity and against her heritage, meets a teenage ghost who turns out to be way creepier than Anya bargained for. An engaging story wrapped up in beautiful, fun art that captures the ghost’s psychological development and is a complete joy to read (except for those few parts that make your heart beat like crazy!).

#9. “Halloween Legion” — The “Halloween Legion” graphic novels by Martin Powell and various artists are all-ages fun. Nightmares run wild in quaint, rural Woodland, but the Halloween Legion, comprised of Skeleton, Witch, Cat, Ghost, and Devil join together time and again to vanquish the real bad guys. Despite their heroics, the strikingly well-developed characters remain outcasts but form an awesome team dynamic that puts the Avengers and JLA to shame!

#8. “Tomb of Dracula” Vol. 1 — Available in the more expensive, full-color Omnibus format or the cheaper, black-and-white Marvel Essentials format, “Tomb of Dracula” Vol. 1 collects the first 30+ adventures of … You guessed it, Dracula! Back in the ‘70s, Marvel and DC started to challenge the Authority by creating a new Age of Horror. Marvel’s decision to bring Dracula to comics was genius marketing for a new era of sexual glorification in horror films. Every issue sees Dracula seduce a new victim. There are four volumes in total.

#7. “The Marquis: Inferno” — Guy Davis, one of modern horror comics’ towering giants, wrote and illustrated this disturbingly fascinating morality adventure, character study, and historical piece over the course of twelve years in the pages of three different publishers. Now, Dark Horse collects the first of the tales of the Marquis, an eighteenth-century Inquisitor for the Church, and a hunter of escaped demons and damned souls. Illustrated entirely in black and white, this first volume of Davis’ “Marquis” is an emotionally complex comic that will leave you as unsettled as any movie in the “Saw” franchise.

#6. “30 Days of Night” — Everyone’s seen that terrible film “30 Days of Night” about Barrow, Alaska, where a month of night allows for vampires to slaughter and maim and murder en masse, right? “30 Days of Night” was inspired by the comic book miniseries of the same name, collected in this volume. Written by a masterful horror writer, Steve Niles, the original comic book is one of the most visually disturbing on the market. Artist Ben Templesmith’s frenetic images capture the raw, brutal power of the horror genre better than the film, and is sure to leave you more afraid of the dark than your wasted movie theatre money.

#5. “Batman: Long Halloween” — Batman debuted in the pages of “Detective Comics” #27 in 1939, and yet today he’s not really thought of as a detective, but as a crime-fighting master of the night. Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale brought the detective Batman back to life in 1996 with this thirteen-issue series that has been critically acclaimed as “epic,” “masterpiece,” and “classic.” An unknown murderer haunts the holidays, and Batman and the Gotham PD are on his tail for 300+ pages of fear in the ‘90s style of comic book extravagance. Few narratives so intimately probe Batman’s character (and his closest confidantes’) as “Long Halloween,” and few are as frightening tense.

#4. “Hellboy: Seed of Destruction” — When Mike Mignola, formerly an illustrator for DC and Marvel (largely working covers), brought Hellboy to comics bookshops in the ‘90s, his character and the ensuing Mignolaverse were greeted with uproarious success. Mignola’s success is part complex, historically/mythologically-motivated narrative reminiscent of the best of Lovecraft, and part unique artistic style. “Seed of Destruction” collects the first story arc for the character Hellboy and his equally awesome pals, and is the first in over a dozen volumes.

#3. “Batman: The Court of Owls” — Now, some will probably disagree, but there really isn’t a Batman storyline in the character’s 74-year history that is as creepy or eerie as the recent Court of the Owls saga which took place in late 2011 and early 2012 across several Batman titles. Despite all fans have learned about the Dark Knight and his protectorate, Gotham has always been run secretly from the shadows of the shadows by the eponymous Court of Owls. “The Court of the Owls” is not only great Batman, it’s fantastic horror.

#2. “From Hell” — Alan Moore is a giant of the comic book industry, whose works in the ‘80s helped bring about what many fans and critics call the “Dark Age of Comics” because of his bleak worlds, gothic narratives, and intensely human characters. “From Hell” is a collaboration of this master of the dark arts with Eddie Campbell, a retelling of London serial killer Jack the Ripper’s story. With this as context, readers are warned but encouraged to buy. Try not to tremble too much.
#1. “Creepy Presents: Richard Corben” — No one is more a master of the horror comics genre than Richard Corben, an artist of unimaginable talent whose pencils and inkwork defy words. He won fame in the ‘70s for his ability to embody the grotesquerie of the genre. Today, he continues to produces horror comics regularly, largely for Dark Horse Comics. “Creepy Presents: Richard Corben” is a 300+-page collection of his shorts from horror comics magazines of the ‘70s and ‘80s. There’s no better taste of horror comics than this volume!