It Came From The Archive! A selection of Horror Comic Anthologies for Halloween

Tales from the Crypt. The Vault of Horror. The Haunt of Fear.

In the 40s and 50s, these EC Comics horror anthologies  were the most popular comics titles available, famed for their subversive and bizarre stories and going on to inspire the likes of Stephen King and George Romero. Unfortunately, due to the mid-50s censorship bulwark of the Comics Code Authority, which wouldn’t even allow comic books to have the word horror in their title, let alone depictions of ghouls and vampires, EC and its peers went under. And so, titles like Crypt and Vault were, poetically, buried with them. While superheroes and sci-fi books have dominated the market since then, current comic companies will occasionally dip their toes into bringing back the horror anthology format, or have a one-off annual for the spooky season in the vein of the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror.

Thankfully, the classic EC stories have been saved and recollected in special archive editions, which are now available from our off-site at Te Pataka and our branches. You can also check out other horror anthologies that EC Comics inspired, such as DC’s Flinch and DC Halloween, Marvel’s classic Legion of Monsters stories from the 70s, and Dark Horse’s revival of the Eerie Comics title. Just goes to show that you can’t keep a good idea buried for long!


The EC archives : Shock SuspenStories. Volume 1, issues 1-6
“Featuring the titanic artistic talents of Al Feldstein, Jack Kamen, Jack Davis, Joe Orlando, Graham Ingles and Wally Wood – with a foreword by Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg! This beautifully bound hardcover reprints the first six complete issues of the pulp-comic classic Shock SuspenStories. Featuring the titanic artistic talents of Al Feldstein, Jack Kamen, Jack Davis, Joe Orlando, Graham Ingles, and Wally Wood, with a foreword by Steven Spielberg. Includes all the original ads, text pieces, and letters” (Catalogue)

The vault of horror. Volume 1, issues 1-6 / Feldstein, Albert B
“Legendary publisher Bill Gaines provided the forum and creators like Al Feldstein, Johnny Craig, Wally Wood, Harry Harrison, Jack Kamen, Harvey Kurtzman, Graham Ingels, and Jack Davis provided the mayhem.” (Catalogue)

‘Tain’t the meat… it’s the humanity! : and other stories / Davis, Jack
“Presenting the classic EC material in reader-friendly, artist-and-genre-centric packages for the first time, ‘Taint the Meat collects every one of Davis’s 24 Crypt stories in one convenient, gore-drenched package. Mostly written by EC editor Al Feldstein, these stories run the gamut from pure supernatural horror (the werewolf story “Upon Reflection” and the vampire story “Fare Tonight, Followed by Increasing Clottyness…”) to science gone horribly wrong (“Bats in My Belfry “), as well as the classic “disbeliever gets his comeuppance” story (“Grounds… For Horror “) to EC’s bread and butter, the ridiculously grisly revenge-of-the-abused tale (“The Trophy ” and “Well-Cooked Hams “)…”.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The living mummy and other stories / Feldstein, Albert B
“This book collects more than 30 EC horror stories from Mad magazine cartoonist Jack Davis. When Jack Davis took up his pen for EC Comics, he made his innocent victims more eye-poppingly terrified, his ax-murderers more gleefully gruesome, and his vampires and werewolves more bloodthirsty and feral than any other artist. ” (Adapted from catalogue)

Tales from the crypt. Volume 5, issues 41-46
“Dark Horse Comics is proud to bring you more creepily classic Tales from the Crypt Digitally re-colored using Marie Severin’s original colors as a guide, this twisted tome features stories drawn by the unforgettable artistic talents of Jack Davis, George Evans, Jack Kamen, Graham Ingels, Reed Crandall, Bernie Krigstein, Bill Elder, and Joe Orlando” (Catalogue)

Eerie comics 2012-2015.
“Uncle Creepy’s been hogging all the glory in Dark Horse’s revival of Warren’s classic magazines, but here comes Cousin Eerie to nudge him out of the spotlight The terrifying treasury of sinister sci-fi and fearsome fantasy is finally collected in this handsome paperback volume, amassing the inimitable talents of David Lapham, Mike Allred, Jonathan Case, Kelley Jones, and many more. Collecting all new material from the Eerie Comics #1-#8″ (Catalogue)

Flinch. Book one / Azzarello, Brian
“The legendary Vertigo horror anthology that will get under your skin–one slice at a time. It’s the little things in life that matter most: the tiny leak in the fuel line; the faint smell of decay that won’t wash off; the way a knife blade catches the light. These are the things that stick with us, no matter how much we want to forget–the things that make us flinch. No one is more familiar with this unnerving territory than the twisted souls whose hallucinatory work is preserved between these covers–an unprecedented gathering of fever dreams and waking nightmares scraped directly from the darkest corners of the greatest minds in comics.” (Adapted from catalogue)

A very DC Halloween
“All of your favorite DC characters get spooky in this first-ever DC Halloween collection. HEROES MEET HORROR The DC Universe is home to some of the greatest crime-fighters in existence. Your favorite superheroes are usually busy keeping the universe safe, but when Halloween winds blow through the DCU, these heroes are transformed into nightmares. A Very DC Halloween collects 18 eerie tales from DC House of Horror #1 and Cursed Comics Cavalcade #1.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Decades : Marvel in the ’70s : Legion of Monsters
“Celebrate 80 years of Marvel Comics, decade by decade – together with the groovy ghoulies of the Supernatural Seventies. It was an era of black-and-white magazines filled with macabre monsters, and unsettling new titles starring horror-themed “heroes”. Now, thrill to Marvel’s greatest horror icons: The melancholy muck-monster known as the Man-Thing – whosoever knows fear burns at his touch. Morbius, the Living Vampire. Jack Russell, cursed to be a Werewolf-by-Night. And the flame-skulled spirit of vengeance, the Ghost Rider. But what happens when they are forced together to become…the Legion of Monsters? Plus stories starring Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, Manphibian, the vampire-hunter Blade…and never-before-reprinted tales of terror.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Our Haunting Selection of Halloween Reads

Here then at long last is my darkness. No cry of light, no glimmer, not even the faintest shard of hope to break free across the hold — Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves

Many of the core elements of Halloween are thought to have originated from ancient Celtic harvest festivals. On All Hallows’ Eve the boundary between the physical and spiritual world was thought to be at it’s thinnest.

The festival has also long been associated with the consumption of food, a few examples being potato pancakes, apples and soul cakes. It was traditional to abstain from eating meat, a tradition reflected in the eating of certain vegetarian foods to this day.  It was in America in the 20th century that it was turned into the candy-coloured, sugar rush holiday that it is today. Indeed Halloween is now one of the major North American holidays.

Much of the modern imagery for Halloween has its roots in fiction, especially Gothic and horror fiction, with iconic characters such as Frankenstein, the Mummy and Dracula. So to put you in a Halloween mood we have selected some strange and macabre tales to shiver the spine and chill the soul for Halloween. And a few have a distinctly Kiwi twist on the supernatural world–enjoy!


Frankenstein, or, The modern Prometheus / Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft
“No-one in the grip of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, with its mythic-minded hero and its highly sympathetic monster who reads Goethe and longs to be at peace with himself, can fail to notice how much more excellent the original is than all the adaptations and imitations which have followed. In her first novel, Mary Shelley produced English Romanticism’s finest prose fiction.” (Adapted from Catalogue). For availability of the 1931 classic film, click here.

Dracula / Stoker, Bram
“When newly qualified solicitor Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help a new client purchase a residence in London, he is unaware that he will be lucky to escape with his life. Harker’s fateful visit to Count Dracula’s castle begins a series of disturbing events, as the malevolence he discovers there reaches across continents and oceans to twist and abuse his loved ones at home in England.” (Adapted from Catalogue) For availability of Christopher Lee’s first Dracula Film click here.

The scarecrow / Morrieson, Ronald Hugh
“Ronald Hugh Morrieson combines Boys’ Own adventure, psychological thriller, small-town saga and family farce to produce a unique masterpiece. 14-year-old Neddy Poindexter and his mate Les proceed to take swift revenge on the chook-rustling Lynch Gang, but things turn sinister when the vulture-like Hubert Salter stalks into the small community of Klynham. There is a  killer on the loose – and Neddy is in terrible fear for the safety of his sister.” (Catalogue) For availability of the 1981 film click here.

Into the mist / Murray, Lee
“When NZDF Sergeant Taine McKenna and his squad are tasked with escorting a bunch of civilian contractors into Te Urewera National Park, it seems a strange job for the army. Militant Tahoe separatists are active in the area, and with its cloying mist and steep ravines, the forest is a treacherous place. Yet nothing has prepared Taine for the true danger that awaits them.  Taine draws on ancient tribal wisdom as he becomes desperate to bring his charges out alive. Will it be enough to stop the nightmare?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Wake / Knox, Elizabeth
“One sunny spring morning the Tasman Bay settlement of Kahukura is overwhelmed by a mysterious mass insanity. A handful of survivors find themselves cut off from the world, and surrounded by the dead. As they try to take care of one another, and survive in ever more difficult circumstances, it becomes apparent that this isn’t the first time that this has happened. And, it seems, they are trapped with something. Something unseen is picking at the loose threads of their characters, corrupting, provoking, and haunting them.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of leaves / Danielewski, Mark Z
“A blind old man, a young apprentice working in a tattoo shop, and a mad woman haunting an Ohio institute narrate this story of a family that encounters an endlessly shifting series of hallways in their new home, eventually coming face to face with the awful darkness lying at its heart. Focusing on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The shining / King, Stephen
“Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.” (Adapted from Catalogue) For availability of the legendary Stanley Kubrick film click here.

Teatro grottesco / Ligotti, Thomas
“This collection features tormented individuals who play out their doom in various odd little towns, as well as in dark sectors frequented by sinister and often blackly comical eccentrics. The cycle of narratives that includes the title work of this collection, for instance, introduces readers to a freakish community of artists who encounter demonic perils that ultimately engulf their lives. These are selected examples of the forbidding array of persons and places that compose the mesmerizing fiction of Thomas Ligotti.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The hunger / Katsu, Alma
“After having travelled west for weeks, the party of pioneers comes to a crossroads. It is time for their leader, George Donner, to make a choice. They face two diverging paths which lead to the same destination. One is well-documented – the other untested, but rumoured to be shorter. Then the children begin to disappear. As the survivors turn against each other, a few begin to realise that the threat they face reaches beyond the fury of the natural elements.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an Audiobook.

A Halloween graphic novel for every type of horror fan

“I am a horror maniac who prefers to stay at home.”
― Junji Ito, writer of Uzumaki

If you’re a discerning horror fanatic, you know it can be difficult to find a story that scratches your particular genre itch; after all, those that scare easily don’t always scare equally. That’s why we’ve put together this list of recent horror graphic novels to help you feed your particular horror obsession (or maybe help you start a new one).

Are you into monsters? Then check out the new Swamp Thing collection Roots of Horror featuring the best of DC’s writers and artists, or The Immortal Hulk, featuring a new undead twist on Marvel’s Green Goliath.

Do your interests lean more toward folk horror? Try webcomic artist Emily Carroll’s collection of Brothers Grimm-style horror tales Through the Woods, or Hellboy: The Wild Hunt, which inspired the 2019 Hellboy film.

Like your horror incomprehensible and weird? Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham’s ultimate haunted-house-in-space comic Nameless, or Uzumaki from horror manga artist Junji Ito — where singular obsessions lead a small town to ruin — might have what you’re after.

Swamp Thing : roots of terror : the deluxe edition / King, Tom
“On Halloween, the barrier between world’s grows thin–and only the Swamp Thing is strong enough to face the monsters that come from the other side. In addition, this book also features the final Swamp Thing story from the monster’s co-creator, Len Wein. Originally intended as the start of a new series, presented here with art by Kelley Jones. Collects Swamp Thing: Winter Special #1 and stories from Swamp Thing: Halloween Giant, Cursed Comics Cavalcade #1, and Young Monsters in Love #1″ (Catalogue)

Uzumaki : spiral into horror / Itō, Junji
“Kurôzu-cho, a small fogbound town on the coast of Japan, is cursed. According to Shuichi Saito, the withdrawn boyfriend of teenager Kirie Goshima, their town is haunted not by a person or being but by a pattern: uzumaki, the spiral, the hypnotic secret shape of the world. It manifests itself in everything from seashells and whirlpools in water to the spiral marks on people’s bodies. As the madness spreads, the inhabitants of Kurôzu-cho are pulled ever deeper into a whirlpool from which there is no return!” (Catalogue)

The immortal Hulk. Vol. 1, Or is he both? / Ewing, Al
“You know Bruce Banner. He’s quiet, calm, never complains. He’s a man who believes he can use the darkest elements of his personality to do good in the world. If someone were to shoot him in the head… All he’d do is die. But the horror lives deeper. A horror that refuses to die. When night falls something other than the man gets up again. The horror is the Immortal Hulk.” (Catalogue)

Hellboy : the wild hunt / Mignola, Michael
“The inspiration for the new film from director Neil Marshall and starring Strangers Things’s David Harbour. Hellboy is called to England to take part in an ancient ritual of hunting giants, but quickly faces a much more dangerous enemy: Nimue, the Queen of Blood, who has risen with plans to create a monstrous army.”  (Adapted from catalogue

Through the woods / Carroll, Emily
“A collection of five spine-tingling short stories”– Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there. A fantastically dark and timeless graphic debut, for fans of ‘Grimm Tales’, ‘The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy’ and the works of Neil Gaiman.” (Catalogue)

Nameless / Morrison, Grant
“With the asteroid Xibalba on a collision course with Earth, a group of billionaire futurists recruits the occult hustler Nameless for a mission to save the world.” (Catalogue)

The Best and Bitey-ist Vampire Novels Ever!

Anno Dracula book cover

Over 120 years after the release of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the author’s great-grandnephew has written a prequel to the Victorian vampire classic! Dacre Stoker’s novel, Dracul, is based on the original typescript of Dracula as well as associated notes and journals, and “speculates on what Bram Stoker’s early life might have been like had the creatures he later created been real.”

But Dacre Stoker isn’t the first to build upon Dracula’s story: below you’ll find a list of nine unnerving titles that have been influenced by the Transylvanian Count, from Nordic noir to alternative history to a sci-fi classic (as well as one work that pre-dates Dracula by 26 years!).

The historian: a novel / Kostova, Elizabeth
“Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to “My dear and unfortunate successor,” and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of – a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.” (Catalogue)

Let the right one in / Ajvide Lindqvist, John
“John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel, a huge bestseller in his native Sweden, is a unique and brilliant fusion of social novel and vampire legend, as well as a deeply moving fable about rejection, friendship and loyalty.” (Catalogue)

Interview with the vampire / Rice, Anne
“Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force–a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses. It is a novel only Anne Rice could write.” (Catalogue)

The passage / Cronin, Justin
“A security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment that only six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte can stop.” (Catalogue)

Anno Dracula / Newman, Kim
“It is 1888 and Dracula has married Queen Victoria and turned a large percentage of the English population into the undead. Peppered with familiar characters from Victorian history and fiction (Dr Jekyll, Oscar Wilde, Swinburne, John Jago), the novel tells the story of vampire Genevieve Dieudonne and Charles Beauregard of the Diogenes Club as they strive to solve the mystery of the Ripper murders.” (Catalogue)

Dracula: the un-dead / Stoker, Dacre
“The official sequel to Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula, written by his direct descendant and endorsed by the Stoker family, Bram Stoker’s great-grandnephew joins with Dracula documentarian Holt to create a sequel based on notes the author left behind. A quarter-century has passed, and Bram Stoker is directing a play about Dracula–who seems to be making a comeback…” (Catalogue)

Dracula’s guest [electronic resource] / Stoker, Bram
“Published in 1914, several years after Bram Stoker’s death by his widow, Dracula”s Guest is one of several stories that Stoker had wished to publish as a supplement to his most famous novel. Join him as he drags the reader out into the hills beyond Munich on one of the most terrifying nights of the year–Walpurgisnacht, or The Witches Night.” (Catalogue)

I am legend / Matheson, Richard
“Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth… but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on Earth has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville’s blood. By day, he is the hunter, stalking the sleeping undead through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for dawn. How long can one man survive?” (Catalogue)

Carmilla / Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridan
“Predating Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Carmilla is the ultimate Gothic vampire tale. When a mysterious carriage crashes outside their castle home in Styria, Laura and her father agree to take in its injured passenger, a young woman named Carmilla. It’s not until Laura’s father, increasingly concerned for his daughter’s well-being, sets out on a trip to discover more about the mysterious Carmilla that the terrifying truth reveals itself.” (Catalogue)

Wooooh… Scary stories for Halloween

Ten bone-chilling movies, television shows and books to get you in the Halloween mood. Take a walk on the scary side and then go soundly to sleep knowing that none of these stories could ever come true… Right?

DVDs

28 days later28 days later.
“A powerful blood-transmitted virus is unleashed – those infected are locked into a permanent state of murderous rage. After 28 days the country is overwhelmed and survivors must attempt to salvage a future; however, the virus is not the only thing that threatens them.” (Container)

Evil deadThe Evil dead.
“Five college students holidaying in a remote cabin are possessed by an ancient ‘Book of the Dead’, or Necronomicon. One by one they become evil zombies.” (Container)

ZombielandZombieland.
“In a world that has become overrun with zombies, two men must figure out how to survive. Wimpy Columbus is afraid of his own shadow, while Tallahassee is the biggest, baddest, gun-toting zombie-slayer who ever lived. When they meet two sisters, Wichita and Little Rock, the four strike out for an amusement park that is said to be zombie-free. This mismatched group will have to rely on each other to survive, which could be worse than surrendering to the zombies.” (Container)

Cabin in the woodsThe cabin in the woods.
“A rambunctious group of five college friends steal away for a weekend of debauchery in an isolated country cabin, only to be attacked by horrific supernatural creatures in a night of endless terror and bloodshed. Sound familiar? Just wait. With their efforts continually thwarted by an all-powerful ‘eye in the sky,’ do they have any chance of escape?” (Adapted from Container)

American horror storyAmerican horror story. The complete first season.
“The Harmons’ fresh start in a new home deviously twists to reveal discoveries of love, sex and murderous revenge.” (Container)

MatakuMataku.
“Take a journey into the unique and mysterious world of the supernatural with 13 short dramas. Mataku is the internationally award-winning collection of contemporary tales of the unexpected in which ordinary characters encounter mysterious phenomena from Māori mythology.” (Container)

Books

Syndetics book coverThe strain / Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan.
“A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe best horror of the year. Volume seven / edited by Ellen Datlow.
“A sin-eater plies the tools of her dangerous trade; a jealous husband takes his rival on a hunting trip; a student torments one of his teachers; a cheap grafter is selling artifacts form hell; something is haunting the departure lounge of an airport . . . The Best Horror of the Year showcases the previous year’s best offerings in short fiction horror. This edition includes award-winning and critically acclaimed authors Laird Barron, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Nathan Ballingrud, Genevieve Valentine, and more.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWorld War Z : an oral history of the Zombie War / Max Brooks.
“The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMark Z. Danielewski’s House of leaves / by Zampano ; with introduction and notes by Johnny Truant.
“A young family moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story — of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Five frightening films from female filmmakers!

Want your Hallowe’en to be hair-raising? Here are five freaky films with female directors!

Cover imageNear Dark
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow – a mid-western farm boy reluctantly becomes a member of the undead when a girl he meets turns out to be part of a band of southern vampires who roam the highways in stolen cars. (Adapted from Syndetics)

Cover imageAmerican Psycho
Directed by Mary Harron – a young, handsome man with a Harvard education and success on Wall Street has terrible urges that take him in pursuit of women, greed, and murder. (Adapted from Syndetics)

Cover imageRavenous
Directed by Antonia Bird – Captain John Boyd is promoted during the Mexican-American War, but is sent to an isolated military outpost in the Sierra Nevada wilderness due to his cowardice. When the lone survivor of an ill-fated expedition that ended in murder and cannibalism arrives, the men must fight for survival against cannibals, the wilderness and their own murderous instincts. (Adapted from Syndetics)

Cover imageAmerican Mary
Directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska – after she is betrayed and brutalized by one of her professors, medical student Mary Mason’s life takes a downward turn as she becomes a sawbones for the local mob after she stumbles into a seedy burlesque bar looking for work. Simultaneously ‘Bloody Mary’ becomes a hit in the body-modification underground after she helps a woman become the ultimate living doll. Before long Mary finds herself becoming increasingly unhinged and the constant surgeries begin to leave more marks on her than her so-called freakish clientele. (Adapted from Syndetics)

Cover imageIn My Skin
Directed by Marina de Van – Esther suffers deep gashes on her legs from an accidental fall. She begins to become preoccupied with her body and skin, especially her wounds. At first she merely traces the cuts on her legs, but it isn’t long before she is carving wounds directly and aggressively into her own body. Her boyfriend becomes concerned and angry, but his inability to understand forces Esther into reclusion to explore her new found passion. (Adapted from Syndetics)

Happy Halloween

Jack O Lanterns

Have some Halloween fun, and celebrate Wednesday 31st October, with help from Wellington City Libraries!

Halloween Ideas:

Halloween Costumes:

Halloween Decorations:

Halloween Food:

Halloween Music:

DVDs for the kids:

DVDs for the big kids: