Here are more comics I recommend reading for October and Halloween time.
Blackwood (Dark Horse Comics)
To call Blackwood a Harry Potter premise with sharper teeth, taking readers down a dark, sometimes twisting road, is to sell it short. Creators Evan Dorkin (of Beasts of Burden) and double-teaming artists Veronica Fish, and Andy Fish have crafted an interesting motley crew of outcasts getting into occult misadventures at Blackwood College. They are supposed to be learning about witchcraft, but the real lessons are, of course, after class. Dorkin’s work is interesting as he uses established tropes and subverts and plays with them. The use of colours, in particular, is garish, almost impressionist. The art riffs seriously on pre-Comics-Code-Authority E.C. Comics horror fare. It is a retro, exploitative paintjob with decidedly modern trappings and sophisticated writing. There are consequences. Characters die, and gruesomely. Readers familiar with H.P. Lovecraft will also detect a whiff of eldritch horror, here, which only adds another layer to the enjoyable narrative. In other words, it's a comic for early teens, ideally read on a leafy autumn evening.
Edited by William O. Tyler and Justin Hall, Theatre is a wonderful queer grindhouse/Tales from the Crypt-style horror anthology featuring a frightful cover by artist Phil Jimenez, perhaps best known for his Wonder Woman and The Invisibles work.
The whole works is framed by San Francisco midnight movie drag queen impresario Peaches Christ haunting a post-apocalyptic Castro Theatre, forcing uninvited guests to watch each story unfold. With this classic McGuffin, readers get a lot of bang for their buck, with a wide range of LGBTQ+ art styles and stories.
In the spirit of grindhouse cinema, the most amusing fake horror movie posters appear between the pieces. My only qualm is that there is no table of contents, so it can be difficult to remember where you left off, or to find a certain story you are, uh, dying to read. There is also requisite gore, sex, violence and monsters aplenty, here.
Theatre of Terror came out, so to speak, in December 2019, so it just missed the mark for Halloween, so I am giving it an extra, much-need push here. Stand-outs include “Mer-Maid Story”, Justin Hall's “Full Moon” and “Frankenwhein”, Robyn Adam’s “Dead Name No More!”, featuring a transgender ghost hunter, Tina Horn and Jen Hickaman’s (known for SFSX) “Barrier”, “Werekat”, “The Vulture” and “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)”.