If you love reading something scary around Halloween, Winnipeg Public Library has a great variety of horror-themed graphic novels to check out.
This isn’t Sabrina the Teenage Witch you remember from the comics (except for taking place in the ‘60s, which was when the original Sabrina comics started) or the fun ‘90s TV show. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is the creator of the hit TV show Riverdale as well as the Sabrina show based on the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina which will be coming out this month. While Sabrina lives with her aunts Hilda and Zelda (who are very cavalier about their taste for human flesh) she doesn’t know a lot about her tragic family history. The plot thickens as a mysterious figure known as Madam Satan, disguised as the drama teacher, comes to town and starts to stir up trouble for everyone. Definitely not for the squeamish!
Harrow County is a limited series which just wrapped up this year. which just wrapped up this year. A farm girl named Emmy learns on her 18th birthday the life she thought she was living is a lie. Her father is not really her father and she has strange and mysterious powers. Finding out her identity is only the beginning of the story. One of the most fascinating characters is the “haint” she befriends. He’s the skin of a boy who she often brings in her bag with her, though his skinless body often goes and gathers information for her. The art is entirely done in watercolour and is often beautiful and horrifying. The American TV network Syfy has picked it up to be developed into a show.
The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror: Dead Man’s Jest (multiple authors)
Even after The Simpsons went past its prime long ago, the Treehouse of Horror Halloween episodes were often still the best part of a season. I always end up watching a few of those classic episodes every October. The writers add all sorts of supernatural and weird elements to the stories since they weren’t part of the ongoing canon. Dead Man’s Jest has many spooky stories, some written by celebrities like Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie. Some particular standout stories are “Two Tickets to Heck!” and “The Legend of Batterface”.
Penny Dreadful (based on the TV series created by John Logan)
Penny Dreadful was a was a very dark TV show that starred multiple figures from classic literature such as Frankenstein and Dorian Grey. The figure at the heart of the show, however, was the complicated and flawed woman Vanessa Ives. This graphic novel is a prequel of the show, which goes into the history of Vanessa’s failed mission of trying to save her doomed friend Mina Harker from the clutches of Dracula. A scary story but I would recommend watching the television show first (all DVDs are available through the library) before reading the graphic novel as there is a lot that the reader is assumed to know already.
This was originally published as a short story by Neil Gaiman, then turned into a graphic novel with the help of Michael Zulli and Todd Klein. The story seems almost semi-autobiographical—the main character sounds very similar to Neil Gaiman himself and the artistic depiction looks like him as well. However the story itself has some mysterious supernatural elements that leave you wanting more. The Gaiman character and his friends take a rather grumpy and tiresome acquaintance named Miss Finch for a night on the town to a strange circus which seems to appear rather cheesy and laughable. Things take an unexpected and exciting sharp turn when a performer asks them which one of them “will gain all that you desire, in the cabinet of wishes fulfilled”. Great for fans of Gaiman as well as first time readers.