Graphic Novels, Rachel and Rebecca

Halloween Horrors

29.10.13 | Comment?

The spooky season is fast upon us. And to get you in the mood, here are Nicola’s favourite horror and supernatural themed graphic novels. Be warned: some are not for the faint of heart.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDead High Yearbook

High school can be hell; the old axiom is explored during this often gruesome exploration of the pressures of being a teenager. All these stories are drawn by a different artist, and connected by a single conceit: the dead students of a particular high school tell the stories of how they died. The humour’s black as pitch, so it manages to avoid being too depressing. Although if you’re squeamish, you might want to avoid it, as it gets very graphic in some places.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDracula, adapted by Nicky Raven

The original vampire story, condensed and beautifully illustrated. The original novel is an epistolary book, told in a series of documents. It’s a read that rewards the persistent, but this version simplifies the story while keeping the essence of thriller that’s at the heart of the story. I can’t stress enough how gorgeous the art in this book is; the individual pictures appear beside the text, but never overwhelm it. I love this adaptation; of all the graphic novel versions of classics, this one is my favourite.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSalem Brownstone : all along the watchtowers, by John Harris Dunning & Nikhil Singh

A young man is called back to his ancestral pile after the death of his father, only to find that his father wasn’t the man his son thought he was. A nearby circus filled with eccentric characters help him negotiate a strange magical world. The stylised black and white illustrations lend this graphic novel an eerie feel. I’ve never seen a graphic novel quite like it. Absolutely worth a read if you’re looking for horror fantasy that’s utterly unique.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCourtney Crumrin, Volume 1, The Night Things, written & illustrated by Ted Naifeh

A unique take on the “magical girl” trope, this graphic novel has a bit more darkness than many of the others. Courtney is an anti-social teenager who has moved with her parents into her rich uncle’s house. Unfortunately the Crumrins don’t have the best reputation in the wealthy neighbourhood, and Courtney’s attitude doesn’t make it any easier to fit in. There is some foundation to the dark rumours, however: Uncle Aloysius is a magician, and Courtney borrows some of his magic books. However Courtney misuses them, and gets herself into a world of trouble.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWoolvs in the Sitee, by Margaret Wild

Something strange has happened. It is never explained what, but the narrator, Ben believes it to be “the woolvs”. Ben explains, in slightly mangled English, that these “woolvs” have chased off everyone and now “nuthing is rite.” Clearly, something has gone terribly wrong, but Ben isn’t the most reliable of narrators…this book is an eerie read, the text adding to the rough depictions of Ben’s world. While the rest of these graphic novels deal with explicit supernatural threats, the nature of this one is never really clear. It’s both fascinating and chilling.

And with that, Happy Halloween!

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