Halloween: The Gathering Week One

by Nathan Koffler on September 16, 2018

Well, it is that time of year again! The time of year that you can freely enjoy all media from the horror genre and your friends and family don’t think it’s weird. Thankfully, I have surrounded myself with so many horror fans all over the internet, so I don’t face judgement over my constant love for horror often. But one of the many beautiful things about the couple of months leading up to Halloween is that the appreciation for killers and monsters in media spreads into the hearts of everyone around us and people like me and you get to feel a little normal for a brief period. 

The horror genre extends to all kinds of different art forms including comic books, which I don’t think always gets as much recognition as it deserves. I recently made a huge list of horror comic books and graphic novels that I would like to get around to reading and was astonished at how many there are. I am a pretty consistent reader of horror comics and I have barely clawed my way through most of them. 

I have set out to read as many as I can so that I can share this infatuation with others by recommending the ones I adore the most. So for this first week of horror comic book recommendations, I will tell you about two that have really been on my radar lately. 

Creepy Archives Vol. 1

This may be an obvious recommendation but I believe that it deserves being in the spotlight as much as possible. Creepy was a black and white horror anthology magazine that began in the 60’s. Each issue contained several creepy stories about all kinds of monsters and eerie scenarios. 

The magazine was published from 1964 until 1983 and then again by Dark Horse from 2008 until 2016. Fortunately for all fans of horror comics, Dark Horse also republished all of the issues of Creepy and it’s sister, Eerie. That means that there is a whole lot of Creepy Archives to go back and read, but if you’ve never read them or if you’ve never read the first five issues, then you should definitely give the first volume a read this Halloween season. 

Upon revisiting this volume, I was pretty amazed at how dark some of these stories get and how great some of the twist endings were. These volumes are packed full of stories about any kind of monster you can think of and somehow they are all really entertaining. Reading these early stories in 2018 may make them seem unexciting or predictable, but if you can immediately put that aside before you open up the book, I guarantee you will be in for a hell of a ride. 

One of the neat things about these archived volumes is how they kept in the original advertisement pages in between stories and issues. In these pages you get to see ads for horror novels, booklets on how to pull pranks, portable radios, inflatable rubber snakes, and plenty other really interesting and bizarre things that take you back to the 60’s. 

So in the six weeks leading up to Halloween, begin your journey into the world of Creepy and Eerie Magazine by grabbing a copy of Creepy Archives Vol. 1. You’ll be introduced to your host, Uncle Creepy, and I guarantee you’ll enjoy the ride he takes you on.

Hack/Slash Omnibus Vol. 1

After recently diving into the Hack/Slash universe I found this first volume of Hack/Slash Omnibus to be one of best ways to get introduced to these characters and their story. This volume contains several of the series' one-shots and limited series issues with a few special guests that will be recognized by horror fans.

I enjoy the concept of Hack/Slash so much because of the way they differentiate regular murderers from slashers. The stories take place in a real world where slashers, like the ones we see in movies, are real monsters that need to be hunted by our heroes Cassie and Vlad. The slashers come back from the dead or have to be killed multiple times just like horror movie slashers. It’s entertaining because we get to spend a little bit of time in this reality that I’m sure a lot of us have wondered about.

But don’t let my mention of the word “reality” fool you because this volume is still bonkers. Cassie and Vlad fight some monsters that I was familiar with, like Chucky and Evil Ernie, and plenty of new ones created by the writers. Some of these slashers are so amazingly bizarre and some of just plain wonderful. I specifically loved Laura and Father Wrath, the broken hearted Catholic School girl and her undead murdering zombie preacher. 

Each issue reminds me of shows like Scooby Doo, Where Are You? and Buffy the Vampire Slayer because each issue is technically still in the same universe as the rest, but there is no continuing storyline throughout the issues collected in this volume. Instead, each issue is about the same characters who are somewhere different hunting down a new monster. 

The volume contains so much artwork from so many different artists that each separate issue is a brand new surprise. It really helps keep the 400 page book stay fresh despite the stories in each issue following the same formula. 

I highly recommend Hack/Slash Omnibus Vol. 1 for some Halloween season reading because in it you will be served some gory action-packed slasher tales.

I hope that these recommendations fill your September and October with comic book reading to satisfy the Halloween season craving for all things creepy. Come back next Monday for more horror comic book recommendations and reviews and let me know what you thought of the two above by tweeting me @nathankoffler.