Halloween is quickly descending upon us this weekend. It is a time for frights, scares, and most importantly, overeating fun-sized candy that you ate more of than handing out to trick-or-treaters like you’re supposed to. Hey we’re not judging. We’re right there with you. After that belly full of sweets, what’s better than curling up to your favorite chilling comic story? There certainly is a lot to choose from out there, so we have compiled the best Halloween stories that we enjoy reading before giving in to the inevitable chocolate coma. Some make us want to sleep with the lights on, some just fit this dark time of year. All of them make our must read list during Halloween.
The Walking Dead Vol 1: Days Gone By
How could we start this list without talking about the most popular horror comic of all time, The Walking Dead? The long running series in its entirety is a great October read, but to break it down into a smaller portion, we prefer the original story arc in Vol 1: Days Gone By. Over the course of the series, the rag-tag group of survivors have found various shelters to whether the zombie apocalypse. None of them prove safe for long, but we think the very beginning is the most terrifying. Rick suddenly waking up in a word he doesn’t recognize anymore and having to search for his family who he doesn’t know if are alive. In the beginning they had no shelter and were not hardened as they have become. To us, this was the time The Walking Dead was the most terrifying and deserves to be given another read through.
Marvel Zombies vs The Army of Darkness
All of the Marvel Zombie stories have been lots of fun, but the best easily comes from crossing over with one of our favorite Halloween series with Army of Darkness. Serving as partial prequel to the Marvel Zombies series, Ash finds himself transported to the doomed universe. We get to watch our boomstick wielding hero try to warn the Marvel heroes of the coming peril, but to no avail until it was too late. Of course he has to make a fool out of himself hitting on Scarlet Witch and Dazzler while he’s at it. But one of our favorite moments? Watching a zombie Howard the Duck eat that universes Ash, which of course ended an issue, making us think “our” Ash bit the dust. Some crossovers don’t work, but this one was magic. Hail to the king baby.
Twilight ruined vampires. They took one of the most badass, undead creatures and made them sparkly. Scott Snyder, Stephen King, and Raphael Albuquerque tossed that crap out the window and made vampires something to fear again. Introducing us to Pearl Jones and Skinner Sweet, the book built a brand new mythology for vampires that was better than anything we have seen in years. Watching the new American vampires take on the older, established European vampires was a fresh twist that kept us on our toes. Albuquerque’s terrific art is what really brings the action to life when the bloods start rolling. While zombies might be everyone’s obsession now, American Vampire showed why these bloodsuckers still deserve our attention.
Jumping straight into another supernatural group that goes hand in hand with Halloween, Scott Snyder and Jock took on our traditional, tired view of witches and turned it on its head. With this new version, witches became hideous monsters that prey on the innocence of children, all under the protection of a town that sold their souls to them long ago. Charlie has to try to save his daughter from these terrifying creatures in one of the most frightening books we’ve read in quite a while. It not only plays on our fears of what goes bump in the night, but it also reels us in to the horror of losing a loved one. Trust us, read this series and you will never look at witches the same again. Plus, if you are a parent, you will never want to let your kid go out at night again.
Batman: The Long Halloween
Batman himself can be one of DC’s scariest heroes, especially to Gotham’s criminals. He uses fear to his advantage more than any other hero, so many Batman stories could have potentially made our list. In the end, what better story to represent the Dark Knight than The Long Halloween from Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. The 13 issue series is an epic story that follows a Year One Batman as he tracks down the mysterious killer, Holiday. It brings together several of Batman’s most notable villains, including the transformation of Harvey Dent into Two-Face. Beyond the phenomenal story, it would not be the same without Sale’s dark, moody art that really makes the story stand out as one of Batman’s greatest, as well as being one of the best Halloween stories out there.
Swamp Thing Vol 2, #20-64
We all know Alan Moore is one of the greatest comic creators of our time. His time on Swamp Thing created just about the only run for that character we have ever cared about, with Scott Synder’s recent run being about the only exception. Jumping on board the second volume, Moore got rid of just most everything the previous creators had established, including what Swamp Thing actually was. This was no longer a man turned monster, but something darker and primordial. He changed the dynamic of the book and crafted one of the best horror stories in decades that left a cold chill going down your spine. He even introduced one of our favorite supernatural characters during his run, John Constantine who has had plenty of dark stories himself. Moore changed superhero team story telling with Watchman and changed horror story telling in comics with Swamp Thing.
Bernie Wrightson’s Frankenstein
We all know the story of Frankenstein. Over the years there have been several variations and retellings of the classic man-made monster, but Mary Shelley’s original tale is still the best out there. That’s why Bernie Wrightson’s Frankenstein is the best comic take on it you can find. Wrightson adds his beautiful illustrations to the story to enhance a narrative that was already a masterpiece. His gruesome take on the creature blew us away when we originally saw it and still does today. While it doesn’t match the level of the original story, it is worth noting he later returned with Steve Niles for a sequel, Frankenstein, Alive, Alive! that was fantastic in its own right. Still, the his original forray into Frankenstein still proves the best.
Hellboy: Seeds of Destruction
How could Halloween be complete without Hellboy? The character is one of the most unusual superheroes out there. Brought to Earth by Rasputin to help bring about the apocalypse in 1944, he answered the debate between nature and nurture as he was rescued by Professor Broom. Raised to protect the Earth from any threat, Seeds of Destruction covers his origin and Rasputin’s eventual return as he tries to force Hellboy’s giant hand in bringing about the end of the world. He breaks normal comic hero conventions in his first story, which also serves as his best. It might not be a story that will get your skin crawling, but it still is an excellent story to reread this Halloween.