Comics Lowdown: Halloween edition

Tricks and treats from Marvel, Todd Klein, Kerry Callen and more!

It’s the scariest day of the year, and to help celebrate we’re doing something a little different with Comics Lowdown today.

Let’s start with something better than candy — better than candy? — comics! Every year Diamond Comics Distributors celebrates Halloween ComicFest, an event for comic shops similar in spirit to Free Comic Book Day. You can check out the official website to see pictures from this year’s celebrations. Also of note: many comic shops are selling packs of comics that you can give out to Trick or Treaters. So check with your local retailer to see what they have on hand.

And if you’re looking for some scary comics to read today, publishers have unleashed a horde of Halloween-themed stories today. Polygon spotlights the return of Wytches, as Scott Snyder and Jock return to hex you with a one-shot today. Speaking of hexing, Hex Wives, the new title by Ben Blacker and Mirka Andolfo from Vertigo, debuts today, along with the last issue of Wayward, a new issue of Stranger Things and some more Ice Cream Man, if you’re looking for something both sweet and creepy. In addition, new publisher Ahoy Comics has Edgar Allen Poe’s Snifter of Terror, featuring the work of Tom Peyer, Mark Russell, Shannon Wheeler and more, while Marvel has an Avengers Halloween Special and DC kicks off The Witching Hour crossover.

If you’re looking for a longer read, Doctor of Horror and Other Stories from Fantagraphics collects old EC horror stories, while Dark Horse has released H. P. Lovecraft’s The Hound and Other Stories by manga creator Gou Tanabe.

Finally, if you’re looking for some deals, check out Dynamite’s Fall horror bundle on Groupees and ComixTribe’s Halloween flash sale.

Marvel celebrates Halloween by releasing an infographic detailing some of the “creepiest” Marvel monsters, like Beta Beast, Googam and of course Fin Fang Foom.

Letterer Todd Klein shares some early artwork he created for a small press horror publisher back in 1977. “I completed all the art, including a wraparound cover and sent it to the publisher, but it vanished mysteriously when the publisher went out of business shortly after, and was probably destroyed. I was able to get photocopies of some of the art before it was mailed, and the best of them are here,” he says.

Meanwhile, artist Kerry Callen is back with another animated cover — this one just in time for Halloween.

art by Scott Morse

With Bongo Comics shutting its doors, Michael Dooley looks back at the publisher’s always quirky, fun and loaded-with-talented-creators Treehouse of Horrors specials.

This comic is an offshoot of The Simpsons’ top-rated “Treehouse of Horror” Halloween television specials, which were originally inspired by the legendary EC Comics of the mid-1950s. So it’s only fitting to come full circle. The four-color version is a bubbling cauldron of Al Feldstein’s horror, sci-fi, and fantasy titles mixed with dollops of Harvey Kurtzman’s Mad in its original 10¢ comic book incarnation. It’s been around since 1995, chockablock with demented, delirious, non-canonical premises and pop culture parodies even more warped than the TV show. In addition to respected comics pros like Marv Wolfman and Len Wein, writers have included such celebrities as Star Wars’ Mark Hamill, comedian Patton Oswalt, and the Go-Gos’ Jane Wiedlin.

Over at The Beat, John Seevn sinks his teeth into Lip Hook. At Vox, Alex Abad-Santos looks at Redlands, the witch vs. Florida racists comic. And for Inverse, Chad Dundas writes about the BOOM!/WWE graphic novel focused on the Undertaker.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

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