I celebrate Halloween all month long in October, loading up horror movies, horror film scores and of course, taking boyo to all of his various costume parades, trunk-or-treats and such until we giddily celebrate the actual Ghouls' Night Out. Last week I was fortunate to catch TCM's special theater engagement of Stanley Kubrick's rendition of The Shining. Considering I was only 10 years old when it came out originally in 1980, to see it on the big screen was sublime wish fulfillment.
With our trip for this year's Halloween ComicFest notched, I've reserved a special block of time (namely when the family's in Snoresville) for a selection of 17 all-I-can-eat horror comics gorging event that'll likely start between commercial breaks during the World Series and go until I pass out. Check in with me to see if I actually make it all the way through my handpicked Halloween comics stash:
1. The House of Secrets # 126: DC (Charlton being their indie rival) was king of horror comics during the 1970s and early '80s. This is but one their numerous offerings featuring a tale of the classic triple-dog-dare you moment among arrogant youth and haunted houses.
2. Ghosts # 31: Another one of DC's supernatural horror lines. Toward the end of its run, Ghosts got predictable as did many of the books following the EC brand of horror comic storytelling, but hell if this one isn't creepy merely at face value. Only Piers Anthony's Death in the Incarnations of Immortality books is more intimidating than this one.
3. Vampirella (Warren) # 102: Ah, the titillating Warren years and Vampi's black-and-white, erotic pulp anthology magazine. Here, the alien nosferatu squares off against the hung-out Blood-Red Queen. The ongoing Pantha story "A Night Full of Zombies" is an equal highlight.
4. Alan Robert's Killogy featuring Doyle: The former Misfits guitarist had himself quite a brutal comics romp in this gnarly one-shot that delivers the gruesome answer to his old band's tune, "Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?"
And Misfits fans will recognize this off-the-bat, the accompanying artwork to the "Die Die My Darling" single. I had a poster of that in my teenage bedroom years ago, nostalgic sigh. Along with EC Comics, another batch of pre-Code gems, YoeBooks' wrangling of comics your mother warned you about such as Weird Mysteries, Voodoo, Worlds of Fear, Beware, Web of Evil, Weird Chills and Adventures Into Darkness...the Haunted Horror anthologies. If there's time after knocking out the master list, this one's definitely in order.
5. Afterlife With Archie # 7: Would that I had time to jet through the whole set again to this point. Kudos to Archie Comics for giving out the first parts of each of the major story arcs in this brilliant zombie apocalypse series today at Halloween ComicFest. Though this riotous variant cover here doesn't indicate the story, this is the Thanksgiving issue where the remaining cast members troll through what they're most relieved about, versus thankful for, considering all they've lost.
6. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina # 1: I kinda had the hots for Sabrina when I was much younger. K, so I still do. What poor Sabrina's gone through in this stellar drop down the hellhole into the maw of Satan is one of the most remarkable bits of horror fiction on the market. I adore the horror flick variant covers toasting Creepshow, Carrie, Satan's Cheerleaders and this one for Flowers in the Attic.
7. Nailbiter # 14: This is the Silence of the Lambs of comic-dom. Scary good.
8. Faust: Act 2: Love of the Damned # 1: I still haven't been right since I got turned onto this explicit sex and splatter series long-ago. Faust proves nothing is taboo, crikey...
9. Ferals # 7: What's the goriest werewolf film you've ever seen? Pussy compared the Ferals comic, I promise. Nearly as uninhibited as Faust.
10. Batman & Dracula: Red Rain: Along with Gotham by Gaslight, the pinnacle of DC's daring Elseworlds run in the 1990s. Scarier than The Long Halloween by miles.
11. Spectacular Spider-Man # 38: Morbius, you either liked him or you didn't. Remember when Marvel dished out promotional plastic vampire teeth when they gave the super-powered vampire his own short-lived series? Yeah, I could be reading Vampire Diaries or Preacher for far nastier vampire business, but I think a little break from the intensity seems in order at this point in the queue.
12. Screwed # 4: Xenescope makes their bread and butter spreading the cheese, as you can infer by this risque variant cover for number 4 of the six-issue miniseries I was well dialed-into, and not necessarily for the skin trade--though I wouldn't fault you one bit for accusing me otherwise, given other selections on this list. Screwed did have actual substance, as a patchwork femme-Frankenstein returns from the dead and wrecks havoc over those who took her to pieces and unwittingly reassembled a limb-tearing monstrosity who's not so hard the eyes, undead she may be. Just watch out for your own eyes around this chick.
13. Hellblazer # 62: One of the greatest antiheroes in comics, John Constantine is a post-punk, smart-assed, pint-pounding, demon squasher who was my sheer addiction on the Vertigo run. He made me finally understand what a wanker means after laughing curiously a hundred times to the word gnashed by English hardcore legends, The Exploited. John works best in a mature audiences format, am I right, people?
14. Tales From the Crypt # 25: The greatest horror comic of all-time, along with Vault of Horror and The Haunt of Fear. The holy grail of this genre, banned and literally burned in the Fabulous Fifties age of McCarthyism. Pushed all the nasty buttons long before anyone else. I can't really tell you my favorite yarn out of the whole lot, but this one speaks for itself.
15. Creepshow: Berni Wrightson and Stephen King in an EC Comics tribute worthy of the real deal. This is my most-read comic in my entire collection, 37 times, destined for 38. A masterwork of horror comics.
16. Elvira's House of Mystery # 1: And we're back at DC horror. House of Mystery was another of the imprint's legacies and probably its most popular. It was re-branded briefly in the 1980s with horror maven Elvira hosting the comic when she was the biggest terror celebrity outside of Freddy Krueger.
17. Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight: Flesh Feast of the Devil Doll: Assuming my eyes aren't bleeding as much as the pages I'll have consumed to this point, I'll be wrapping with Alex de Campi's Flesh Feast of the Devil Doll from her rad and often gonzo Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight. If you thought Karen Black duking against that rat bastard voodoo doll in Trilogy of Terror was nutty enough, hang on to your wigs here. Alex was kind enough to print a few of my letters in both of the Grindhouse miniseries and she was a treat to talk to in-person at a signing event for her hilarious Archie vs. Predator. Her doodles to go with the autographs on my books are treasures. Alex may be sicker than all of us crammed into a locked room with no key to get out.