Happy Halloween, comic book lovers! Although the only truly significant thing about this Halloween column is that I’ll be covering two weeks worth of comics instead of just one, after missing last Wednesday.
Also, we must remember our less fortunate monster brethren on the east coast, some of whom have been forced to cancel Halloween festivities altogether due to the ferocity of Hurricane Sandy. For them, I suggest venturing out, grabbing one of these titles, and curling up in bed with a candle to recreate the magic…
Magic such as is found in DC Comics’ NATIONAL COMICS: MADAME X, which is full of voodoo and zombies and murder and extramarital affairs. The Tarot plays a perfect role, and the tale could easily fit into an EERIE issue of old.
Wolverine is everywhere in Marvel, it’s true. But he doesn’t always get to swear and be his intensely violent self. That is remedied in Jason Starr’s WOLVERINE MAX #1, which—even aside from the language and violence—manages to be thoughtful and venture into the realm of memory loss. Plus, his legs are severed by a shark in the first four pages (don’t worry, they grow back). What’s not to love about that?
Brandon Graham’s MULTIPLE WARHEADS, from Image, is like no world you’ve ever seen. This is whimsical art accompanying words that sing with play and pun (the Organ Trail! Somnam-bulls! Call-a-flowers!). This is a classic road movie set amongst squid-faced kings and toxic water faucets. Cigarettes sing rounds (literally) in celebration. Severed dragon heads prefer tea. It’s like that dream you had that made perfect sense while you were asleep but is impossible to describe upon waking.
BEDLAM #1, also an Image book, is… well, what is this? Some awesomeness that cannot be contained? Some psychotic sepia-filtered superhero nonsense with murder and a sick metaphorical playground? Whatever it is, it blew me away. Nick Spencer and Riley Rossmo, “Madder Red” will become a name for the comic history books.
The trope of terrorizing a happy family unit has worked for years in movies, so it seems long overdue in comics. LOT 13 #1 is a creepy slice of suburban creepiness, boasting a lot of fantastic art pieces and panels (thanks to Glenn Fabry) that say everything about the characters without containing a printed word. Steve Niles has a perfectly snarky sense of humor with regard to these teenagers and their various ‘crises’. A soft indie flick gone sour. POLTERGEIST with Puritanical ghosts.
IDW’s LET’S PLAY GOD is a fun foray into slasher flicks as presented by an all-girl punk band. There needs to be more music in comics.
Darick Robertson and Grant Morrison’s HAPPY continues in Issue #2 with our namesake blue horse helping Nick win at poker and then kill his opponents with a pen. Who says imaginary friends are just for kids?
Finally, if you’re itching for some 80s nostalgia, pick up Josh Fialkov’s ORIGIN OF SKELETOR #1. This is regal, creepy, and downright cross-generational fantasy that could take place anywhere between Middle-earth and Narnia. It’s the tragedy of the half-breed—and who could forget? Fialkov always tells powerful, genre-bending stories with no heed to predictability or traditonal villainy, and this is a classic example.
Stay tuned for a full review of Vertigo’s 80-page Halloween special, GHOSTS. Until then, happy tricking, little devils, and stay (bone) dry.