Spooky Indie Comic Reads for Halloween!

We have some great, lesser-known comic suggestions for you strangers out there; all spooky, creepy, and supernatural.

These are available online now in a digital format via download or app, at a lower than average cost. Below, are some lesser known, yet great reads hand-picked by me, as I love to share good things. Check these out (click on the title of each for a direct link):

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

A Girl Walks Alonw

  • Writer: Ana Lily Amirpour,  Artist: Michael DeWeese
  • Released: August 20, 2014 via Comixology by RADCO.
  • Price: $0.99 – first issue, $1.99 – second issue
  • Notes: Ongoing series, I hope.
  • Age rating: 17+

“Strange things are afoot in Bad City. The Iranian ghost town, home to prostitutes, junkies, pimps and other sordid souls, is a bastion of depravity and hopelessness where a lonely vampire, The Girl, stalks the town’s most unsavory inhabitants.”

Great black and white art inside, with a narrative prospective of a lone young woman vampire in a post-apocalyptic style setting. The story also turns very violent with sexual situations, so better suggested for those who don’t mind such things.

The Suicide Forest

Suicide Forest

  • Writer: El Torres,  Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta
  • Released: June 2011 by IDW Publishing
  • Price: $7.99 (Digital version is on sale 50% this Halloween weekend, via current IDW online outlets)
  • Notes: In print, and available via digital apps. 106 pages.
  • Age rating: 12+

“The legend of the Aokigahara forest (which lies just outside of Tokyo) says that those who have committed suicide in the massive wilderness are cursed to have their souls trapped within its very roots. Unfortunately for Alan, his girlfriend, Masami, committed her suicide there and she’s now on a vengeful mission to ruin his life!”

The art is gorgeous with mystery, hooking the readers into a dark nature setting. The story reminds me of the older Japanese horror films like Kwaiden and Jigoku, with connections to real life superstitions and Japanese folklore.

Who Needs the Moon? (#1-8)

Who Needs the Moon

  • Writer, Artist: Michael DeWeese
  • Released: 2014-2015 via Comixology by Todd McCullough .
  • Price: $0.99 each
  • Notes: Complete volume standalone series, also available in Spanish language
  • Age rating: 17+

“The townspeople of Kingford are unaware of the growing vampire problem that is soon to ruin them and their home. Fortunately for them, there is a newcomer that has plans to stop the monsters. And since being a werewolf, he’s got the muscle to do something about it. Maybe too much muscle.”

I am reading this now, in the middle of the series. I’m loving it so far, as it features a character who kind reminds me of Dexter Morgan from the early seasons of the Dexter TV series, struggling with his own morality and judgement with his newfound werewolf instincts. It’s set in a small town with all sorts of interesting characters and situations. The art also has a nice moody yet colorful style to it.

The Dead (#1-6)

The Dead

  • Writer: James Maddox,  Artist: Jen Hickman
  • Released: 2014-2015 via Comixology by James Maddox and Jen Hickman
  • Price: $0.99 each
  • Age rating: 17+

“The Dead brings the story of what happens after you die. And while there’s seemingly a room for every occasion, clouds and halos are in short supply. Chased from his own room in this infinite house, Sam must find his rightful place among the strange (and sometimes dangerous) residents.

A series full of mysteries and unpredictable turns. You also get some action, humor, drama with the supernatural horror; all mixed in with an interesting cast and a great ending.

Super Drac

SuperDrac

  • Writer, Artist: Nic Lawson
  • Released: Aug 15 Via Comixology via Nic Lawson Comics
  • Price: $0.99
  • Notes: Single, standalone issue
  • Age rating: 9+

“Superdrac is about an eccentric vampire who becomes bored with his life. So he decides to use his vampire powers for good.. with interesting results!”

A single cheap standalone issue. Very cute and funny short story of a boy vampire looking for something a little extra in his life…

Dark Horse Horror Sampler 2015 #0

298714._SX640_QL80_TTD_

  • WriterArtist: Various
  • Released: Oct 2015 via Dark Horse Comics
  • Price: FREE!
  • Notes: Available digitally via current Dark Horse Comics apps and services
  • Age rating: 15+

“Get previews of 2015’s hottest horror stories. Get eight different stories and over 80 pages of horror for free.”

I added this in there, as Dark Horse Comics has been around for horror fans for decades, with a lot of original titles for horror fans. For free, it’s worth picking up and seeing the latest from them.

That’s all for now. If you would like to add to this list, or have thoughts on my suggestions, leave a comment below!

– Orion T

 

 

SW Comics Rec: Afterlife With Archie, Vol. 1: Escape From Riverdale

photoMU4Y1AA3

Afterlife With Archie Vol. 1: Escape From Riverdale

  • Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
  • Artist: Francesco Francavilla, Jack Morelli
  • Published by: Archie Comics
  • Pages: 210 , Publish Date: June 4, 2014 Price: $17.99
  • Notes: collecting #1-5 of the sometimes monthly single-issue series

Synopsis:

“When Jughead’s beloved pet Hot Dog is killed in a hit and run, Jughead turns to the only person he knows who can help bring back his furry best friend — Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Using dark, forbidden magic, Sabrina is successful and Hot Dog returns to the land of the living. But he’s not the same… and soon, the darkness he brings back with him from beyond the grave begins to spread, forcing Archie, Betty, Veronica and the gang to try to escape from Riverdale!”

My Recommendation:

Jughead is hungry…for human flesh?!

Photo Oct 21, 11 28 20 PM

Yes! Afterlife with Archie takes place in an alternate, less cartoonish continuity of the popular Archie comics. Who thought, Archie Comics could be a source for modern horror, suspense, and drama? Yet here we. The result is terrifying, brilliant, and fun.

As a fan of horror and comics, I was hooked from the opening page. Not so much for the tired gimmick of zombies; but the attention to what makes the best of this sub-genre wonderful: the stage environment and the players present. We have suspense and supernatural horror mixed with casual social commentary. When done well, any overplayed genre can be made fresh and enjoyable.

And, I love the biting and screaming; which does well for suspense and horror elements, and for fun campy, and darkly campy comedic moments.

The overall tone is more than simply “Archie with zombies,” or a Walking Dead clone. The unique art style of Afterlife with Archie is the key. Instead of the familiar comical style we all know, we get a dramatic and dark atmosphere. The night environments, use of shadows, and angles all work together to produce a foreboding tone. Classic, spooky lettering sound effects are used well, with strategic placement to enhance the horror.

photo-1

The coloring is also superb – especially the use of red (Archie’s hair and the Riverdale “R” on his sweater) – as is the storytelling’s ominous change of background, and the biting and screaming. Much of these fantastically detailed visuals (with occasional surprise gore) go back to the classic horror comics like the EC Comics of old (Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, The Haunt of Fear) and the classic Warren Magazines (Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella).

The full story is grand and terrifying. For this Riverdale, the outbreak is real and out of control. The only way to have a sense of order is through survival. The horrifying circumstances here are based on the supernatural, where the usual hope in prevailing science for survival is further diminished. What makes Afterlife with Archie darker is how we lose familiar characters, or those we are just beginning to know, into the darkness. The terror seeks to consume, to overwhelm. We are left wondering who will survive, and keep the light, in the end.

However, not all is gloom and doom. We get some of that classic camp from the regular Archie comics. Some familiar tropes to modern horror present, such as lesser characters making light of the situation, or in an excessive state of panic. Many relationship angles happen, including the dilemma of Archie’s ongoing “intimate relationship” choice between Betty and Veronica. Others disconnect in some tragic, yet comically melodramatic ways (poor Ethel Muggs). Jughead comes full circle with his insatiable hunger, but no longer for just hamburgers. Such fun development keeps the comic enjoyable, without being too morbid.

photo-2

We also enjoy a return to classic heroism with our main character, Archie Andrews. He is brave, and a rule-breaker: a great lead character to root for, who is not concerned with impressing anyone or getting the girl. In contrast, it seems the rest of the survivors do, or at least fail to take control of their situation preferring to enjoy the comforts of safety while they can. Archie also deals with some serious, heartbreaking choices in issue four, adding maturity and development to a perpetually young character. I also feel the awesomeness of Archie’s shirt now: I feel the “R” is now a clear symbol of his boldness, and hope for Riverdale. His humble appeal and heroism make him the perfect, deserving protagonist in a plague-ridden apocalypse.

The overall pacing and plot keeps us readers in check, looking forward to each new chapter. Afterlife of Archie is an instant classic. Buy this, as it is worth every penny. Also there are bonuses, with reprinted “From the Vault: Chilling Adventures in Sorcery” black-and-white classic stories, interviews, extra artwork, and more.

Then find a nice cozy spot in the dark with a small reading light. If on a digital device turn out all the surrounding lights. Keep your windows locked and your blankets near, then enjoy the read.

– Orion T

Photo Oct 21, 11 27 30 PM