There’s nothing better on a cool evening than curling up with a good book. As the leaves turn and the wind begins to whistle, we’re all looking for some good spooky reads. Comics have long been a great way to escape no matter what the genre. But luckily for all us girls, ghouls, ghosts, and goblins, this Fall has a whole bunch of spooky sequential stories headed our way.
Here’s a curated list of some truly atmospheric and scary comics that span magical middle-grade to legitimately terrifying tales for you to enjoy as we head into the best season of the year.
Séance Tea Party
Reimena Yee’s gorgeous graphic novel might be aimed at young readers but will speak to anyone who’s ever felt afraid of growing up. Séance Tea Party tells the moving story of Lora who is most concerned about growing up. But when she makes friends with the ghost that haunts her house, she’s set on a journey of self-discovery that will help her come to terms with pushing forward and learning to let go. It’s a lesson we all need.
Something’s Killing the Children
Monsters and monster-killers are common in comics, but Something’s Killing the Children from James Tynion IV, Werther Dell’Edera, and Miquel Muerto has reinvigorated the trope in a terrifying way. Archer’s Peak was just your average town until the children started disappearing. Some never come back, but worse are the ones who do: They each hold horrifying secrets and nightmarish stories about things that go bump in the night. Enter Erica Slaughter, Archer’s Peak’s only hope. Legitimately scary and with a badass hero you can root for, this is a perfect Halloween read.
Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander teamed up for this unconventional noir-hued vampire tale. If you’re enjoying the thoughtful deconstruction of Lovecraft Country, you’ll likely love Killadelphia. When Jimmy’s dad is murdered, he has to go back home to Philly, but it’s not the place he remembers. When he reaches his hometown he uncovers a shocking secret that shines a light on the dark heart of the city that he loves and the man he called father.
Witch Hat Atelier
Seeing as the sixth volume comes out this month, there’s no better time to pick up Witch Hat Atelier. One of the best comics of the past decade—or maybe ever—Kamome Shirahama’s stunning manga is a magical addition to the young witch canon. Coco is a tailor but dreams of becoming a witch. However, the secrets of magic are just that—secrets. Coco has a plan, though. She watches a witch cast a spell and is flung into a world of witches, wizards, and sorcery. The story is magical enough but Shirahama’s art will enchant you with a wonder all of its own.
Random House Graphic
If you’re looking for something a little softer and sweeter that still makes an impact then Witchlight is a must. This lovely fantasy comic by Jessi Zabarsky’s follows a young woman who gets swept up in a grand quest to help an enigmatic witch. Fans of anime and especially Shoujo stories will love this delightful fantasy comic that’s just as concerned with the hearts and burgeoning love between its two female leads as it is with the magical world around them.
Frankenstein, illustrated by Bernie Wrightson
Simon and Schuster.
This illustrated version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein might not technically be a comic but it is a must-read this spooky season. Shelley was only 19 when she wrote her masterpiece and Wrightson does the gothic tale of hubris and horror justice with his stunning artwork that is as beautiful as it is blood-curdling.
And now for a few upcoming titles we’re excited about…
Alex de Campi and Erica Henderson are two of the best creators in comics. Dracula, Motherf**ker is their upcoming psych-horror collaboration—what more do you need? The new Image Comic reimagines the classic legend of Dracula, centering his brides and moving the action to LA in 1974. If that hasn’t already sold you then just check out Henderson’s stunning art and revisit your fave de Campi story to cement why this should be at the top of your read list this Fall. This one will be available October 7.
Swamp Thing: Twin Branches
DC Comics has been doing a wonderful job reimagining their heroes for a YA and middle grade audience, and their upcoming title Swamp Thing: Twin Branches looks just as good. From creators Maggie Stiefvater and Morgan Beem, this new YA title looks at the origin of Alec Holland through a new lens. Here he’s a quiet teen with a popular twin brother and, of course, a love for botany. That love will put him and everything he cares about at risk as he loses himself in a new experiment which, as fans of Swamp Thing, we can assume might end badly. Available on October 13.
The Tea Dragon Tapestry
All good things must come to an end. Sadly, one of our favorite series is finishing up this fall. The final entry in the trilogy that began with The Tea Dragon Society hits shelves in October and is one of our most anticipated comics of the year. Katie O’Neill’s new book traverses love, life, loss, and looking after those all important tea dragons. Available on October 27.
Featured Image: Boom!, DC, Random House Graphic, Image, Kodansha, Oni Press.