From the House of Ideas: Chilling Stories for the Month of October

In what could only be considered a mad corruption of the space/time continuum, it’s “almost” the middle of October. I don’t know how that happened, but I surmise Kang is somehow speeding up the our days so that our lives are moving quicker and hours have become minutes and minutes have become second and oh, the humanity.

Or maybe not.

Either way, the spookiest month of the year rolling on and Halloween just a few weeks away, not seems like a good time to highlight some thematically relevant Marvel books that are worth reading. Some are newer series, others are from the vaults – all of them are perfect October reading.

Last week, I talked about the new Darkhold comic that’s out, alongside the collected Avengers/Doctor Strange: Rise of the Darkhold book. Those titles are as good a place as any to enjoy this October, so if you missed the column, take a look at all the goodness emanating from Marvel’s version of the Necronomicon.

This year saw Marvel take the reigns on an ongoing Alien series, written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and illustrated by Salvador Larroca. The first arc recently wrapped up and was an excellent horror in space tale that focused on facehuggers and family dynamics. If anybody was worried that the Alien franchise might be toned down under the Marvel auspices, Johnson and Larroca quickly alleviated those concerns. The second Alien arc recently began with issue seven, this time featuring a religious colony that has recently completed terraforming a new moon. Their celebration is short-lived when a spaceship crash lands on their planet. I think you can guess what’s onboard.

While we’re all waiting for a new Alien film (and the tv series that’s apparently coming to FX), the current comic series is well worth reading, and a new arc is an easy place to start.

If you grew up an Uncanny X-Men fan, you probably remember the great, horror-inspired Inferno crossover, which centered around Madelyne Pryor, Scott Summers’ ex-wife who hooks up with a demon from Limbo named N’astirh, transforms into the Goblin Queen, and turns New York City into hell on earth (more so than it was back at the end of the 1980s).

The Inferno branding is back in 2021, this time as the final contribution from Jonathan Hickman’s time as the head of the X-Men. Hickman’s work has been nothing short of astounding, as he and the excellent creators he’s been working with have created a new status quos for Marvel’s mutants. From the return of Moira MacTaggert to what may be the culmination of Mystique’s behind the scenes dealings, Inferno #1 strikes a match and sets the stage for a huge Hickman finale.

Finally, for fans of What If…? type tales, I recently looked at Dark Days #1, written by Tom Taylor and illustrated by Iban Colleo, the second issue of which was released this past week and looked at a world that had surprisingly moved on quite nicely after losing all of its electrical energy. In typical Taylor fashion, the good times don’t last, and there’s some excellent misdirection that leads to a solid revelation of who’s on the side of the angels and who’s making deals with the proverbial devil. One of the great aspects of a book like Dark Days is that, being outside continuity, bad things can happen to any character, making it unpredictable.

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