Last August, I picked up a few comics at the awesome Autoptic Festival, written about here.
Of course, Halloween is my favorite holiday, so it was probably not coincidence that a number of the new comics I picked up were rather spooky, so I squirreled them away until the leaves started turning, it started getting chillier, and you can get more foods with pumpkin in them, like a literary bag of Halloween candy.
Big Baby was one of Charles Burns' first comic creations, and this anthology collects a group of Big Baby stories published between 1983 and 1991. A lot of the same themes that would later be perfected in his opus, Black Hole; childhood whimsy, teenage angst, suburban malaise, mid-20th century noir horror leaking into the mundane world, and other good, weird stuff. Here, things are a bit more surreal, which was definitely fun. You can also see his exquisite, rather deadpan style developing as well.
This was an adorable, spooky, morbid little book, perfect for a Halloween treat. Featuring a collection of "interviews" Sarah Becan, her brother, and a few friends conducted with various dead people via some sessions with a Ouija board on Nantucket Island, it was a great mix of hilarious, touching, and just plain creepy- just how I like my Halloween fun. Becan's cute ghost illustrations are a perfect companion to the amusing, if somewhat disturbing dialog of her ghostly visitors, and their many tragic, untimely deaths, love of getting laid, and advice for the living. A short, easily completed comic, I'd recommend The Complete Ouija Interviews would be really fun to pass around at a Halloween party. It actually makes me want to dig up my parent's old ouija board from the basement and try out my own. Good thing I don't really believe in ghosts!
This Kickstarted anthology of short horror comics from dozens of budding artists really goes into some really dark, interesting places. You can never tell what is going to happen in the next one, with settings ranging from suburban American anytowns to Australia to deep space, making it never get repetitive. While some of the stories end a bit abruptly and seem a bit obtuse, the bleakness and arbitrary nature of fear is always present. The comics are diverse in every sense of the word; a lot of different people are represented, and many different art styles and ideas also show up- mostly, the stories are pure horror, original and effecting, with few cliches, though a few offer up commentaries on human cultures, more or less successfully. If you can locate a copy, snap it up! It will probably show up in your dreams, too.
*Theme music for entry, "Junk Bones," Dark Dark Dark, Snow Magic, 2008