The best new comics to read in October: Spooky season is here
Can you feel the chill in the air? Of course, the literal weather depends on exactly what area of the world you experience autumn, but no matter what you surely feel some of the energy of Halloween sneaking up through October. It's the spooky season, a time for stories about monsters, myths, and magic. Luckily, several such stories are on offer from this month's comics.
Below, check out EW's selections for which comics to definitely check out this October.
Dracula, Motherf**ker! (Image)
Alex de Campi (writer), Erica Henderson (artist)
One beautiful thing about Dracula is that it’s infinitely adaptable. Since the epistolary format of Bram Stoker’s original novel cannot be mimicked exactly in other formats, every adaptation of Dracula gets to figure out its own take on the material. There’s a lot to choose from! Even though Bela Lugosi’s clean-shaven Count is culture’s go-to reference point, the shapeshifting monster takes on a lot of forms. One of the most stirring is in a nightmare by Mina Harker, where Stoker describes his appearance thus: “The mist grew thicker and thicker… till it seemed as if it became concentrated into a sort of pillar of cloud in the room… till, as I looked, the fire divided, and seemed to shine on me through the fog like two red eyes.” Sometimes Dracula is a suave gentleman, but sometimes he’s a swirling mass of red eyes and sharp teeth.
The latter interpretation forms the basis for artist Erica Henderson’s take in Dracula, Motherf**ker!, which depicts the titular vampire as a monstrous mass of eyes and teeth. The vampire’s usual handsomeness is not on display, which works perfectly for a story centered on his brides. Set in a colorful ‘70s Hollywood, Dracula is now looking for new young women to make into brides, but his old ones are still following him with a vengeance. This imaginative, female-centered take on Dracula is perfectly timed for this year’s Halloween season.
Dracula, Motherf**ker! is on sale Oct. 14.
Hellboy: The Return of Effie Kolb #2 (Dark Horse)
Mike Mignola (writer), Zach Howard & Dave Stewart (artists)
The ongoing “Mignolaverse” of Hellboy-adjacent comics was thrown off a bit by the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, and though creator Mike Mignola himself was able to keep busy in the meantime with tons of cool sketches for charity, it’s good to have the big red monster hunter back in time for the spooky season. This issue is the second half of a two-part story that began all the way back in February, and together they form a sequel to one of the most beloved Hellboy stories ever: The Crooked Man.
Hellboy has returned to Virginia nearly a decade after helping Tom Ferrel defeat the Crooked Man, only to find that one of that pale devil’s minions (the witch Effie Kolb) is still around, and apparently being aided by some new arrivals. Luckily, Hellboy has some help of his own in the form of a young girl whose precognitive abilities get her decried as a witch by local townspeople. So we’ve got witches, haunted houses, and mysterious monsters — what more could you want from an autumnal horror comic?
Hellboy: The Return of Effie Kolb #2 is out Oct. 28.
The Magic Fish (Penguin Random House)
Trung Le Nguyen (writer/artist)
Even though spooky season is upon us, it’s important to remember that not every monster or magician is malevolent. In Trung Le Nguyen’s incredible debut graphic novel, fairy tales are the only way for the young gay America-raised protagonist to communicate with his immigrant mother. She struggles with English and he never learned much Vietnamese, but they both understand the lessons of classic myths like Cinderella and The Little Mermaid (though you’ve never seen them like this, illustrated by Le Nguyen in a beautiful, unique style that blends multipole cultures).
The Magic Fish is one of the most astounding graphic novels of the year; stay tuned for more about it on EW.com ahead of its Oct. 13 release.
Monstress Volume 5: Warchild (Image)
Marjorie Liu (writer), Sana Takeda (artist)
Speaking of monsters made of teeth and eyes! That may be a new look for the vampire in Dracula, Motherf***er!, but it’s just another day in the life of Monstress, whose protagonist Maika Halfwolf is still connected to an ancient tentacled demon-god. H.P. Lovecraft has been in the air a lot this year thanks to Lovecraft Country and N.K. Jemisin’s The City We Became, which makes this a great time to check in on one of EW’s favorite ongoing comics for its unique, tragic, and even romantic take on Lovecraftian monsters.
Monstress Volume 5: Warchild is out now.
Rorschach #1 (DC Black Label)
Tom King (writer), Jorge Fornés & Dave Stewart (artist)
What’s left to say about Rorschach? The shadow of Watchmen has loomed large over DC superhero comics ever since the original 1986 release of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ industry-changing epic, but especially so over the past year with HBO’s Emmy-winning Watchmen TV show and DC’s own Doomsday Clock crossover. Those two stories provided almost opposite takes on Rorschach’s successors (in the former, his black-and-white mask is taken up by violent white supremacists, while in the latter, it belongs to a Black character), so it will be interesting to see what direction Tom King takes it. Especially since King has made his admiration for Moore apparent in previous work like Mister Miracle (which echoed Watchmen's iconic nine-panel grid), it should be worth checking out how he handles a character actually co-created by Moore. Plus, the early plot tease from DC suggested that the comic will be very focused on conspiracy, and preview pages saw artist Jorge Fornés homaging classic conspiracy movies like The Parallax View.
Rorschach #1 is out Oct. 13.