Halloween Hangover: 6 Comics to Keep the Good Times Rolling
It’s easy to look on a calendar and see what holiday’s coming next, but it’s also easy to look and realize that holiday’s here, and you’ve done nothing to get in the zone. No decorations. No costume, or presents. Halloween is past, and November’s arrived but it’s not too late to immerse yourself in a belated Halloween spirit.
Here are some recommended comic titles to keep you going through your Halloween hangover.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Volume 1 (Archie Comics)
Set to become a TV show on the CW next year, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina isn’t the Sabrina cartoon or Melissa Joan Hart TV show you remember, but there will be points that sound familiar. Sabrina lives with her aunts, Salem the cat can talk, and Harvey Kinkle is Sabrina’s love interest, but when you see how Sabrina’s mom is treated by Sabrina’s father you won’t be confused by which is horror and which is family entertainment.
Like reading the naughty version of an upstanding institution, a lot of fun comes from seeing recognized properties warped but it’s not all about destroying their wholesome name. Sabrina is a chilling comic whether you have childhood memories of the series or not. Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who’s behind the CW’s Riverdale, Robert Hack’s art send shivers down the spine, with color splashing off a yellowed page. Set in the '50s and '60s, Jack Morrelli’s lettering keeps the modest facade but it’s the two-faced Greendale that will give you nightmares after realizing what it takes to be a witch.
Infernoct (Scout Comics)
“Make sure he eats. Make him sleep even if he doesn’t want to. NEVER turn off all the lights.”
These instructions become less alarming if you consider the property where they were found. A creepy, haunted house would leave creepy, haunted messages of warning on the stairs, but even if the note fits with the surroundings, it’s not what Sam was expecting at her job.
Fear of the dark is a common concern that many people have, but when Sam finds her elderly client, sitting in a sea of table lamps, a half-noted piece of advice becomes a serious directive. Homecare services hasn’t been Sam’s career long but writer, Mina Elwell, lets us know from what people say, that Sam is making some changes to her life.
Shadows are so prevalent that the dusty, morning light from a window feels like a protection spell and the grainy quality of Tristan Elwell’s colors, greens and a raspberry red for Sam’s hair, pop without being vibrant. Artist, Eli Powell, eliminates any need for the old man to speak of the toll fear’s had, and the best part of the Lovecraftian monsters on the cover is the thought that’s put into how they prey on their victims. Issue two evolves these scares further still, for an atmospheric series with high prospects.
Semiautomagic (Dark Horse Comics)
Professor Alice Creed specializes in cyber-related crimes of a supernatural persuasion. In other words, she kills monsters. When a friend’s nephew downloads a computer game that takes his soul from his body, she sets off to track his soul down.
Initially released in short installments for Dark Horse Presents, the pacing is intended to give readers something to latch onto every few pages and makes for a fun book to read all at once. The same ways lava lamps recall psychedelics, artist, Jerry Ordway’s, layouts grow more amorphous as things start to go wrong, while Marissa Louise’s colors enhance both the action and the chaos. Alex de Campi integrates lettering into the climax of the first arc in a way that melds art and language and it’s a rollercoaster of a ride.
Straitjacket (Amigo Comics)
When Alex Wagner was twelve years old she murdered her twin brother. Alex doesn’t see it that way. Her brother is on the Other Side, where she sent him, so they could fight ‘feeders’ no one else can see, on two fronts. Like Alex, Doctor Hayes is new to this asylum, and wants to re-evaluate her diagnosis.
Guillermo Sanna’s expressions for Alex are artless and testing, her eyes wide and deep. Her mind is always two steps ahead and she’s someone you want to protect, despite knowing that she’s capable of violence. Writer, El Torres, takes time to comment on hospital abuses, like doctors putting their reputations before patients. Doctor Hayes isn’t like that, but he is a fascinating character in his own right. You hope both he and Alex can pull through.
Paper Girls, Volume 1 (Image Comics)
As much as it’s a compliment (and on people’s minds, with season two dropping last weekend) Paper Girls must be tired of getting compared to Stranger Things. Set on Halloween and with a plot by Brian K. Vaughn that meets the hype, volume one tells the story of four paper girls, one of whom is new to the paper route. There’s safety in numbers, and time travel, and pterodactyls. This bike riding adventure has it all, and artist, Cliff Chiang, includes 80’s references, like a Monster Squad poster on the wall.
Scream! and Misty Special (2000 AD)
In the tradition of horror anthology comics, Scream! and Misty, from the '70s and '80s, 2000 AD provides a sampler of its upcoming titles with special attention to those that are partial to genre monsters. Highlights include "The Thirteenth Floor" and "Return of Black Max: Blood Moon." The former by Guy Adams, with art by John Stokes and Frazer Irving, looks at a hotel and its reawakened AI, Max, who remembers the tower from its glory days. Forced to adjust to the change of being low incoming housing, that doesn’t mean Max has to change how he deals with intruders. A digital smile’s never crackled more, while color is reserved for the thirteenth floor.
"Return of Black Max" by Kek-W, with art by Simon Coleby, has Maxine on the run from a German WWI fighter and his giant bats. He wants her grandfather’s Iron Cross from the war, and did I mention she’s being chased by giant bats?
Image’s Redlands, Wytches, Black Magick
Alterna Comics’ Mr. Crypt (for all-ages)