Graphic Reads for Halloween to Please your Favorite Ghoul, Ghost, Goblin

While clearly Halloween is no longer a holiday for the “Other Worldly”, it does seem to be a favorite time to bone up and read and bout them – whether they’re wonderfully funny and entertaining or grossly ghoulish – and entertaining. So for the young horror/ghost/ghoul fans among you, here are some wonderfully fun graphic novels I think they’ll enjoy reading.

Angel Catbird (by Margaret Atwood, Johnnie Christmas, and Tamra Bonvillain. Milwaukie, OR. Dark Horse Books, 2016). A genetic engineer, Strig Feleedus accidentally spills a serum on himself, mutates into a man-owl-cat,. He finds himself fighting an evil rat-man who wants to gain the secret to the formula to turn the city's rats into rat-men and rat-women minions. (Grades 8+)

Anya's Ghost (by Vera Brosgol. New York, NY: First Second, 2011). A coming of age story, Anya's embarrassed by her family, is self-conscious about her body, and feels she doesn't fit in. Then she meets a ghost at the bottom of a well. Things change. NOTE: Some mature content for cigarette smoking. Awards include: School Library Best Books of the Year, Eisner Award Winner, Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year, CYBIL Award. (Grades 7+)

Courtney Crumrin (series by Ted Naifeh Portland, OR: ONI Press, 2012). Courtney and her parents have to move to Hillsborough to live with their creepy old uncle Aloysius. Courtney finds herself an outcast among her snobby classmates while living in a creepy mansion occupied by creatures stranger than her parents and uncle. (Grades 4-8)

Evil Emperor Penguin (Series by Laura Ellen Anderson. New York, NY: David Fickling Books 2017). From underground headquarters (with spy room, parking space, minion room, invention room, and more) Evil Emperor Penguin, sidekick octopus named Number 8, and Top Minion snowman clone Eugene (who loves hugs) live and plot to take over the world when not distracted by evil cats, rogue farts, killer plants, and more. (Grades 2-5)

Ghost (by Raina Telgemeier. New York, NY: Scholastic Graphix, 2016). A family moves to a strange town on the coast of Northern California because of Cantrina’s little sister Maya’s illness. This is about facing fears (of change, death, ghosts) and coming together of family, friends, and town. Awards include: starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal; 2017 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Kids (9-12). (Grades 4-8)

Ghostopolis (by Doug TenNapel. New York, NY: Scholastic Graphix, 2010). When accidentally zapped into the spirit world, Garth must find a way to avoid the evil ruler of Ghostopolis and find a way back home. (Grades 4-8)

Goosebumps: Slappy's Tales of Horror (First of a series by R.L. Stine, Dave Roman, Gabriel Hernandez, Ted Naifeh, and Jamie Tolagson. New York, NY: Scholastic Graphix, 2015). Tolagson, Hernandez, and Naifeh, adapt R.L. Stine's original prose stories for the graphic novel format, with an original story by Roman. From evil ventriloquist dummies to chilling sibling and pet tales, and more this is fun and scary. (Grades 3-6)

Graveyard Shakes (by Laura Terry. New York, NY: Scholastic Graphix, 2017). Katia and Victoria are sisters who couldn't be more different. On scholarship at a private boarding school, each wrestles with not fitting in - until they stumble into the underworld of a nearby graveyard and realize they need each other. (Grades 3-6)

Gunnerkrigg Court: Orientation (First of the series by Thomas Siddell. Los Angeles, CA: Archaia, 2015). With magic, mythology, and a goth-like boarding school, the series is about Young Antimony Carver who, stumbles into a mystery involving a second shadow, spooky woods, and a possessed robot. Antimony and her friends must explore the school's secrets. Awards include: starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist; CYILS Award nomination; and Harvey Award. (Grades 3-7)

Maddy Kettle: The Adventure of the Thimblewitch (by Eric Orchard. Marietta, GA: Top Shelf, 2014). One day the mysterious Thimblewitch turns Maddy’s parents into rats and spider-goblins and then takes them and her pet floating-frog. In a wonderful world of strange creatures and unexpected friends, Maddy must find her pet frog and parents and somehow restore them back to their original selves. (Grades 4-8)

Oddly Normal (Series by Otis Frampton. Los Angeles, CA: Image Comics, 2015). This is the story of Oddly Normal, daughter of the Wicked Witch of the West and how on her tenth birthday as she blows out her cake’s candles she makes a disastrous whish that sends her to Fignation, land of her parents, where she leans to navigate a strange school with monster-bullies as she unravels the mystery of her parents’ past. (Grades 4-8)

Possessions (Series by Ray Fawkes. Portland, OR. ONI Press, 2010). This series is about Gurgazon The Unclean - an evil spirit that has taken the shape of a cute 5-year old girl. It lives in the Llewellyn-Vane House for Captured Spiriets and Ghostly Curiosities and through horror, humor, and mistrials is determined to escape. (Grades 4-7)

Rickety Stitch and the Gelatinous Goo (Series by Ben Costa and James Parks. New York, NY: Knopf, 2017). A walking, talking, singing skeleton minstrel and his gelatinous sidekick named “Goo” (who only Rickety stitch can understand) are cast from their dungeon job to wander in the woods. Only a haunting song Rickety hears in his sleep is a clue to his mysterious path that he and Goo are determined to uncover. (Grades 6+)

Scary Godmother Comic Book Stories (by Jill Thompson. Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse Books, 2011). Fun with words, spooks, a cool Scary Godmother and cute Hannah Marie. The fun comes in kooky corny characters (who for example, fight over traditional versus modern rules) and wonderful wordplay (ex., making room "for the skelevision to put on the entertombment center with the scareo amp and V.C.R.") (Grades 4+)

The Creeps: Night of the Frankenfrogs (First in the series by Chris Schweizer. (New York, NY: Amulet Books. 2015). Pumpkins County, home of more mad scientists and monsters than anywhere else. It is full of science lore, science fiction, and mysteries - which four friends: Carol (hacker extraordinaire), Mitchell (monster expert), Jarvis (gadget whiz), and Rosario (fashionista and strong-arm) - a.k.a. "The Creeps" solve. They are also unfortunately, the butt of nerd and creep jokes. (Grades 3-8)

The Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Spelling Trouble (First of the series by Frank Cammuso. New York, NY: Amulet Books, 2013). This is a fabulously fun series about a young witch (living in a non-witch community) and her exploits in and out of school. The first volume explores her spelling problems (as in bewitching spells). They bizarrely backfire because she somehow strings together the wrong sequence of words. The title gives us only a hint of the word play readers will explore and ends with one of the wildest Spelling Bees ever. While the illustrations, design, and story are all geared for young readers, the vocabulary is advanced. It has received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal 2013 Top 10 graphic novels. (Grades 1-4)

The Witch Boy (by Molly Ostertag. New York, NY: Scholastic Graphix, 2017). In Aster's world, girls become witches and boys become shifters. The problem is that in his heart, Aster knows he's a witch. Trying hard as he does, he just can't shift into an animal like the other boys. This is about Aster's search to find himself, find a missing friend, and learn how to somehow reach his parents and elders who don't understand him. (Grades 4-8)

Highly Illustrated Prose Of Special Interest:

Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods by Hal Johnson. Illustrated by Tom Mead (Workman Publishing, 2015) This has wonderfully delicious short stories which as noted by the author, document “fearsome creatures too terrifying for most zoologists to understand…I am a cryptozoologist…The focus of my study has been the lumberwoods of North America, a land still wild and untamed. “The creatures documented here (all of whom glow in the dark) include the Gumberoo, snoligoster, Funeral Mountain Terrashot, Whirling Whimpus, Tripodero and many more. This is a highly illustrated prose book but SO worth mentioning here as it will be enjoyed by readers of all ages. AND as a bonus for those living or visitng New York City, Mr. Johnson can be found hiding out at one of his three Midtown Comics stores in NYC.


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