I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m finding that 2020 is the year in which I find myself returning to things. Reknitting patterns, cooking childhood favourites, and in the case of books, rereading a lot too. As it’s Halloween season, I thought I’d share my favourite magical and mysterious comics, with a few autumnal faves thrown in for good measure!
Black Magick Vol. 1 Awakening – Greg Rucka & Nicola Scott
This is a wonderful combination of writer and artist (Greg Rucka has written some amazing Wonder Woman stories, and Nicola Scott is famous for, among other things, that image of Nightwing’s behind), not to mention genres, blending crime fiction, a bit of noir, as well as aspects of horror and the gothic. Our protagonist, Rowan Black, is a witch and a detective, and the two major aspects of her life she’s fought to keep separate suddenly collide. This one had me gripped and I read it in one sitting. Definitely perfect Halloween reading material.
LumberJanes Vol. 1 Beware the Kitten Holy – Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters
Though technically set at a summer camp, LumberJanes totally counts as a Halloween read, not in the least because the colour palette throughout has an autumnal feel to it. Adventure, mystery, monsters… Oh and friendship to the max! I think it’s safe to say there’s few people who haven’t read this series, but it’s a fun, heartwarming and laugh-out-loud comic that’s perfect to return to at Halloween (and during a pandemic no less).
Zodiac Starforce Vol. 1 By the Power of Astra – Kevin Panetta & Paulina Ganucheau
This one’s for fans of Sailor Moon, She-Ra, and Buffy. What happens when the magical school girls finish their mission and defeat the big bad monsters? This comic has the answers and it’s one of my all time favourites. It’s not spooky, but it’s got monsters, high stakes, drama, a cheeky bit of romance, and some of the best dressed protagonists I’ve ever seen. The writing is fab, but Ganucheau’s artwork is what makes this comic for me.
Pumpkin Heads – Rainbow Rowell & Faith Erin Hicks
I love both Rowell and Hicks’ work, so I was very excited when this was announced a few years ago – and the wait was worth it. If you’re looking for a story about friendship, change and moving on set to a beautiful autumnal backround at an annual fall fair, Pumpkin Heads will fit the bill. It’s a comforting blend of comedy, mystery and adventure with a slice of young adult angst, cute artwork, and two very likeable protagonists. Oh and food! If you’re into autumnal food, this will well and truly get you in the mood for curling up under a blanket with warm drinks and treats.
Nancy Drew: The Palace of Wisdom – Kelly Thompson & Jenn St.Onge
I grew up on Nancy Drew and honestly, is there anything better than curling up – right before bedtime- with a case and getting utterly absorbed by the mysteries – and numerous deadly scrapes Nancy inevitably finds herself in? No is the answer you’re after here.
Thompson is one of the best comics writers out there, and this is the makings of a classic Nancy Drew mystery, seeing Nancy return home after receving a mysterious note (of course!) Throw in St. Onge’s take on Nancy and her friends (perfect as far as I’m concerned) and you’ve got a damned fine comic in your hands. Again, it may not be spooky, but I can’t think of a better, more suspensful story to read late at night!
These are just things I have on my shelves right now, but I’ve got my eye on a few other titles too. I’ve heard great things about the Sabrina comics for one thing, and Gail Simone’s Clean Room has been on my To Read List for longer than I’d care to admit! Then there’s fiction too. I’ve plenty of gothic and horror anthologies to turn to as the clock gets closer to midnight – and I’m always open to recommendations!