Last October 25, the second Free Comic Book Day was held across comic book specialty shops all over the world. Only this was called Halloween ComicFest, an event designed to bring in new readers to the world of comic books.
The major and independent publishers used this occasion to give away free and short comics that are either made-for-the-occasion stories or samplers of previous stories mostly with a horror/supernatural bent.
This is what I picked up (among titles I do not collect):
Max Brooks’ Extinction Parade #1 (Avatar Press Inc.): From the creator of "World War Z" comes a new imagining of the zombie apocalypse. As the undead gorge on whatever is left of the human race, that other race of the undead, the vampires, are upset that their food chain is dying off. So the vampires try to eradicate the zombie horde with the humans caught in between this hellish and nightmarish battle. The first five issues have been collected in trade paperback format. The free comic book features the entire first issue of this new best-selling series! Not for kids with all the blood and gore.
Hero Cats (Action Lab): These aren’t your ordinary house pets! Hero Cats of Stellar City are a super-powered team of cats who battle threats to humanity! In this free 10-page freebie (it is back-to-back with another Action Lab comic titles, “Princeless”), the cats’ imaginations run wild after a scary movie marathon at a local drive-in.
Rachel Rising (Abstract Studios): From Terry Moore, the creator of the indie comic book hit "Strangers In Paradise" comes something completely different. Rachel wakes up believing it’s a Wednesday only it’s a Friday. She’s been murdered and she aims to find out her killer. Moore provides a new cover to the reprint of the first issue that hopes to bring aboard new readers.
Scooby-Doo Team-up (DC Comics): Re-prints the first issue of the Scooby Gang’s team-ups with the various heroes of the DC Universe. In this special Halloween issue, Scooby and the gang team up with Batman and Robin to catch Man-Bat!
And a few more mini-comics:
Betty and Veronica (Archie Publications): Betty and Veronica plan to spend Halloween watching a screamfest of horror films. When Archie, Jughead, and Reggie plan to scare the girls, little do they know that he girls along with Veronica’s Aunt Gladys plan to flip the script on their mischievous pals.
Boom Studios Halloween Fright Fest (Boom Studios): Features stores from Adventure Time, Peanuts, and Fraggle Rock! Definitely for kids.
While the free stuff might be tame and not enough for those looking for some thing to scare the daylights out of them, then you might want to look for these titles.
30 Days of Nights (IDW Publishing): No, this did not begin in the movies. This was a three-issue series published from August to October in 2002 by writer Steve Niles and artist Ben Templesmith. Not only did this mini-series give the creators much-needed popularity but it also gave the whole vampire milieu new life (pun intended).
For those who have been living inside the bat cave, 30 Days of Night is about a clan of vampires who descend to the small town of Barrow, Alaska where they have to endure 30 days of night at a certain time of the year. The vampires use the occasion to sow carnage among the townsfolk. Sherriff Eben Olemaun saves the town by injecting himself with vampire blood to fight off the blood suckers. This features one of the best and most original endings ever.
Afterlife with Archie (Archie Publishing): After Jughead’s pet, Hot Dog, is killed in a hit and run (by Reggie of all people), Sabrina brings the dog back to life. But the spell goes awry and Hot Dog begins turning Riverdale’s folks into zombies beginning with… Jughead. It’s mayhem but not in the traditional Archie day-glo atmosphere way. This is not your mommy’s Archie Comics.
Wytches (Image Comics): From Batman writer Scott Snyder comes one of the most terrifying comics in a long time (and that is saying a lot considering only one issue has been put out). They don’t fly on broomsticks. Nor do they go to Hogwarts. They live in the woods and will freak you out. The Blair Witch Project of comics!