Halloween is by far my favorite Holiday. The celebration of ancient Keltic rituals to commemorate the changing of seasons and to ward of the evil spirits that accompany it is so much fun. From getting to dress up as my favorite super-hero, to having the TV only tuned to AMC’s Horror Marathon, and visiting all the local haunted houses; I can’t get enough gore and ghouls. So to celebrate this horrifically fun holiday I thought I could share with you some great comic books to really get you in the spirit of the season.
Luckily for us, comics have always embarrassed horror and every possible genre and incarnation that comes along with it. So let’s take a look at a few titles that I feel are not only must read comics but embody the Halloween spirit. Weather you love Zombies, Monsters, Mysteries or Gore the comic book medium has something for you, so if any of these don’t peak your interest please visit your local comic shop or ask us over here at Geeks With Wives. Now let’s get started…
By: Robert Kirkman
Art by: Sean Phillips
Marvel Zombies seems like the best place to start, mainly because it encompasses two of my favorite things; super-hero’s and the un-dead. Written by Robert Kirkman (you know the Walking Dead guy) this 5 issue series explores a world where the zombie virus has infected all of our favorite heroes and villains. The hook here is they still retain their powers and some sense of their humanity but are completely consumed with hunger for living flesh.
Kirkman’s story is insanely fun and beautifully realized by artist Sean Phillips. Both writer and artist dive head first into the absurd with Marvel Zombies and I love every disgusting panel. Nothing is safe from Kirkman’s horrific fantasy as even Galactus falls to the zombie horde in a perfect display of what makes this a jaw dropping read. Phillips’ art is so brutally disgusting that some panels are hard to look art. The acts of gory, zombie violence perfectly embody classic moments from Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead; you know the moment where you have to look away and ask the person next to you when it’s safe to look back because you just can stomach it. Marvel Zombies will please any fan of the absurd, but it is really for anyone who loves the classic zombie tale and all the blood and guys that comes along with it.
By: Geoff Johns
Art By: Ivan Reis
If Marvel just isn’t your bag, but you want to see zombified heroes, than let me introduce you to Geoff John’s Blackest Night. Here the zombie apocalypse is taken to space as Hal Jordan and his Green Lanterns must fend off Nekron and his army of the un-dead heroes from wiping out all life and emotion across the universe. Johns’ run on Green Lantern is one for the history books but Blackest Night maybe the best arch of them all.
Johns and Reis further expand the DC universe with Blackest Night, this time taking it to its darkest corners. This book is full of so many highlights that include an un-dead Justice League and a few unlikely heroes and villains obtain the power of the emotional spectrum.
Not only is the story a masterpiece but Ivan Reis art is something to behold. Seeing the bright and vibrant world of Green Lantern clash with the unforgiving blackness that accompanies Nekron and his Black Lanterns is feast for the eyes. Although Reis art is amazing it’s Johns’ universe that remains the star in Blackest Night. The world his has built is so beautiful and fun I implore every comic fan to pick up his run but if you want the top of that glorious mountain then grab Blackest Night.
By: Robert Kirkman
Art By: Tony Moore
I know I have talked about two books about zombies already but I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t include The Walking Dead on a list of comics to read for Halloween. If you are currently breathing oxygen then you have most likely heard of The Walking Dead; Robert Kirkman’s opus about average people trying to survivor in the throes of a zombie apocalypse. This cultural phenomenon all started with the six issue arch Days Gone By. In which we are introduced to our main protagonist Rick as he wakes up in zombie hell and heads towards Atlanta in search of his wife and son.
Kirkman’s walking dead is a sometimes all too realistic look at would it would be like should we actually encounter the zombie virus. The Walking Dead will not only turn your stomach with shocking depictions of un-dead violence but it will also destroy your emotions as Kirkman has no quarrels with smashing everything you love then looking back at you with a sadistic smirk. The Walking Dead first 6 issue will pull you into a world that you will desperately want to leave but can’t because your so involved. These gut wrenching moments are only truly brought to life through Moore’s art as horrific realism seems to flourish in his black and white pages.
Even if zombies aren’t your cup of tea Kirkman’s story will turn you. He knows that zombies are merely the background to the bigger threat; the loss of humanity. People are the real horror show in The Walking Dead and this is what sets it apart from the rest of the go to zombie stories.
Tales from the Crypt
Created by: William Gaines & Al Feldstein
By: Various Writers
Art by: Various Artist
This one I am adding to the list for pure nostalgia reasons. Tales from the Crypt was 27 issue long horror anthology series hosted by the Crypt-Keeper. Here we were treated to a range of horrific tales touching almost every sub-genre from Monsters, to serial killers, and blood hungry revenge seekers; Tales from the Crypt has a story for everyone whom likes a little scare. Some of my favorites involve a ventriloquist dummy, a wannabe rock star, and a kid with an imaginary friend whom lives in his closet.
I share a special place in my black heart for Tales from the Crypt as it was the first thing in the horror genre that I had ever seen. I was immediately taken by the creative story-telling and terrifying art style. My love for Tales from the Crypt was only further satiated by the late night television show. I remember trying so hard to stay up past midnight just to see the POV of the person walking through the haunted mansion and the introduction of our horrific host the Crypt Keeper. Tales from the Crypt was exactly the fun but skin tingling tales I need to jump start my love for all things horror.
Locke & Key
By: Joe Hill
Art By: Gabriel Rodriguez
This series of books isn’t your typical jaunt in the horror genre. Whereas the previous books I mentioned follow classic horror troupes, Locke & Key separates it-self as more a cerebral terror. It still involves murders, ghosts and demons but introduces those elements in a truly unique fashion, but what else would you expect from the son of Stephen King. Joe Hill introduces us to the Locke family as their father is brutally murdered and they are forced to move to their old family estate, Keyhouse. They quickly discover that their old family home holds some truly strange secrets in the form of magical keys.
What unfolds is something truly special. Never before have I been so griped by a horror comic as I was when I first started reading Locke & Key. Hill has created a terrifying place in Keyhouse as the Locke’s do all they can to prevent hell on earth. Locke & Key is creepy and will give you an un-settling feeling that reminds me of the first time I watched Saw. You just feel a little eerie after each page as Gabriel Rodriguez’s art amplifies the creep factor and sends your mind to deep dark places. Nothing is pretty in Rodriguez’s world as the art perfectly mirrors the disturbing tone.
Now is the perfect time to jump into Locke & Key as Hill and Rodriguez are currently at the end of this horrific epic. So please join me as we take careful steps through the house that Hill built on the inspiration of H.P Lovercraft. This is the perfect Halloween book and will put you in the right mid set to venture into the haunted abyss that is October.
If any of these books just don’t peak your interest here are some honorable mentions that also imbibe the Halloween Spirit.
Honorable Mention: Batman: The Long Halloween, Hellboy, Hack/Slash, Army of Darnkness and The Goon.