October is finally here which means I’ve allowed myself to cannonball right into the deep end of the Halloween pool. Not to oversell it but I’ll be going on a socially distant haunted hayride next week. I think the most frightening part will be having to be around other people for the first time in seven months.
Luckily for this column there are a whole lot of Halloween themed comics hitting the stands this month, so let’s look at some!
LEGEND OF THE SWAMP THING HALLOWEEN SPECTACULAR #1
Right off the bat can we just take a moment to appreciate that Swamp Thing had a cartoon in 1990 with a completely ridiculous theme song?
At the risk of bleeding over into Figure Friday territory, the action figures that the cartoon was trying to sell you were pretty faithful representations of Swampy’s comic book appearance. I had a glow-in-the-dark one, it was awesome, AND it came with a VHS of the pilot episode of the cartoon. I was also just a couple years out from having been given a random Alan Moore issue by an unsuspecting relative that had stuffed one in my Easter basket.
When you also factor in the USA Network’s Swamp Thing TV series to the mix, it’s safe to say my history with the character is widely uneven.
Thankfully, the intervening years brought context and I’ve come to see Swamp Thing as one of DC’s flagship horror titles. On stands TODAY is the Legend of The Swamp Thing Halloween Spectacular. Here’s the blurb:
It’s Halloween, and DC invites you to welcome Swamp Thing to your witching-hour festivities. In this 48-page collection of all-new stories, the Guardian of the Green reveals past lives and the unforgettable horrors that befall those who cross his path. From ancient Rome to present day, Swamp Thing stalks these ghostly and ghastly tales-all of which are best read by the light of a jack-o’-lantern!
By and large, DC does horror books right. I’m always glad to see the publisher putting out a new one-shot horror anthology because they really nail the tone necessary for a horror book. Swamp Thing himself grew out of (plant pun!) House of Secrets one of DC’s horror anthology titles of yore, so a book like this one feels like the perfect fit for the character.
I had to jump in the Way Back Machine because I mistakenly thought it was LAST year that I wrote about the DC/Walmart joint venture 100-Page Giant Swamp Thing book. It actually ended up being two years ago and the Walmart exclusive books are now just a distant memory. Who would have thought cramming comics in a place with little to no foot traffic in a store would lure in new readers?
This book is a great start for your October horror reading list, so check it out.
ARCHIE HALLOWEEN SPECTACULAR #1
In what could be described as a complete 180 from the previous title, the Archie Halloween Spectacular is a solid all-ages book that celebrates the spooky season in a way that’s very…Archie.
Just last week I wrote about how titles like The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Afterlife With Archie were some of the most surprising horror titles in recent memory. To be clear, this book isn’t that…it’s CLASSIC Archie fare. The kind of stuff that you would find on the spinner rack at the corner drug store or at the supermarket checkout.
Typically, I don’t shy away from all-ages stuff in this column and I think a lot of people interpret “all ages” as meaning “for kids.” That said, if you’ve got a kid around that’s just starting off with comics this is probably an ideal book to send their way. The book focuses mostly on the “Trick” aspect of “Trick or Treat” and leaves the really spooky stuff squarely in the domain of the publisher’s more mature books. Plus, there’s a great Twilight Zone takeoff that caps the book which I absolutely adored.