The Best Halloween Book You’ve Never Heard Of: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of A Night in the Lonesome October


The days are getting shorter and the air is getting colder. Trees explode into reds, golds, and oranges. Pumpkins begin to show up in damn near everything. That means it’s time to celebrate a forgotten Halloween classic, a novel that manages to mix together classic Victorian horror icons with Lovecraftian dread into a…

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The First Look at the What We Do in the Shadows Series Suggests NYC Is Awful For Vampires


When the series based on Taika Waititi’s What We Do in the Shadows hits FX next year, the story’s going to be somewhat familiar, yet still distinct from the source material. There are vampires all over the world, and we’re about to meet a gaggle of them who’ve been living in New York City.

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All Treats, No Tricks: 6 Creepy New Horror Manga

The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

Horror manga sounds like a straightforward concept, but the stories vary widely: in Junji Ito’s Gyo, Uzumaki, and Shiver, bits of everyday life suddenly go haywire in horrific ways; things with teeth haunt the vampire saga Happiness; tension sustains the zombie-survival epic I Am a Hero; and a streak of humor runs through the assistants-to-the-dead series Kurosagi Delivery Service.

This year’s new horror manga range from classics to comedy, with a side of history. If you’re looking for something new, check out these recent releases.

Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection, by Junji Ito
Junji Ito turns his considerable talents to the most iconic monster story of all time, depicting the tale of Dr. Frankenstein in gory detail—literally. Ito’s style has an old-fashioned quality that works well with the subject matter, as he shifts back and forth from staid scenes of 19th-century life to dark, dramatic images of the monster and the horror of his creation. This volume also includes six short stories about a high school student who lives in an old house that’s also a portal to another world.

Manga Classics: The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe, adapted by Stacy King and various artists
This volume collects manga-style adaptations of four classic Poe stories—”The Telltale Heart,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” and “The Masque of the Red Death”—and the poem “The Raven.” Each is adapted by a different artist but all five stay close to the full text of the originals, so they retain the power of Poe’s words and add the emotional impact of the visuals. It’s a great way to revisit some of the scariest stories of all time.

Versailles of the Dead, by Kumiko Suekane
Zombies come to the court of Louis XVI in this crazy historical mashup. Marie Antoinette is on her way to Versailles when her entourage is attacked by zombies; her twin brother, Albert, is the sole survivor. He takes his sister’s clothes and her place at the court, all the better to battle the undead who are descending on them from all sides. History class was never like this!

Dementia 21, by Shintaro Kago
Kago is a master of both body horror and the sort of surrealistic stories in which something unremarkable suddenly goes haywire in a terrifying way. In each of the short stories in this collection, a bright-eyed health aide goes to the home of a patient with dementia only to watch the situation slide from normal to mildly unusual to downright bizarre: sentient false teeth try to take over the world, dead people ride in cars on a special highway, and a house fills to bursting with abandoned senior citizens dumped by uncaring relatives. Each of these stories is a small but very weird masterpiece.

Terrified Teacher at Ghoul School, by Mai Tanaka
The plot is right there in the title: Haruhaku Abe, who is timid to the point of being a quivering jellyfish of a man, unwittingly takes a job at a school for yokai. Ironically, it turns out that Abe is one of the few humans with the power to tame yokai, although he can’t really control it. Also, his obsession with sailor uniforms gets in his way from time to time. With a wide cast of miscellaneous yokai students and teachers, this manga is good seinen slapstick fun with a side of dark magic.

Zo Zo Zombie, by Yasunari Nagatoshi
Let’s wind up this roundup with one for the youngsters: Zombie Boy is a friendly zombie who can live on tomato juice instead of blood and eats people’s clothing rather than their brains. He also dies in weird ways (such as flying apart while doing exercises to the radio) and then comes back in equally weird ways (when dance music comes on, the body parts dance back into place). Fifth-grader Isamu’s adventures with Zombie Boy are like a stream-of-consciousness shaggy-dog story, with Isamu as the straight guy and Zombie Boy foiling him at every turn by detaching body parts or changing shape. This is an all-ages manga with the sort of humor that appeals to fans of Captain Underpants—zany with a side of fart jokes.

What horror manga do you recommend?

The post All Treats, No Tricks: 6 Creepy New Horror Manga appeared first on The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog.

The 35 greatest horror games of all time


What scares you? It’s a question you know the answer to innately and immediately, as individualized as your fingerprint. Accordingly, horror games have tried everything in the book in order to scare players: disempowerment, alienation, animatronic jump-scares, eroticism, flagrant shattering of the fourth wall, and so…

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The io9 Halloween Costume Show Gallery Is Here!


Happy Halloween, everybody! For the last month we’ve been asking you to share with us your devilishly delightful plans for costumed creeps this All Hallow’s Eve, and you’ve been spooking up a treat. Here’s just a few of our favorites from your wonderful entries.

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The Joker Looks Sicker Than Ever, Thanks to a Hollywood Legend


The Joker has gone through dozens of different looks over the last 70-odd years, with artists making him more horrific or cartoony as they re-imagine him. With a new bust depicting the Clown Prince of Crime, special effects make-up master Rick Baker joins the roster of creators who’ve tackled the DC Comics villain. Of…

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How Fear is the Path to Hope in Star Wars

Fear is the path to the dark side…fear leads to anger…anger leads to hate…hate leads to suffering.” Yoda, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

The underlying foundation of the Star Wars saga is defined by one single yet enormously important word: hope. Yet it’s often fear that propels the struggle to cling to hope, a hope running throughout almost every moment of Star Wars no matter how big or small.

Luke Skywalker stands alone on Ahch-To.

It’s fear that pushes Luke into self-imposed exile on Ahch-To, cutting himself off from the Force, after his failure to help Ben Solo, now Kylo Ren.

It’s the fear of losing his mother that nudges Anakin Skywalker down his path of self-destruction, fear that stokes his desire for Padmé and, in the end, fear of losing Padmé that costs him the love of his life, unleashing a plague of darkness on an unsuspecting galaxy.

It’s fear of discovery that drives Caleb Dume to abandon his identity and adopt a new life and name, Kanan Jarrus, in the aftermath of Order 66.

“I think fear is both an overt and underlying current in a lot of Star Wars storytelling,” says Charles Soule, author of several Marvel Star Wars comics, including the second volume of Darth Vader. “Even from the earliest days of the prequel trilogy, you hear Yoda talking about what fear leads to.”

Anakin comforts Padme. Darth Vader's mask is lowered for the first time.

Darth Vader, the living embodiment of fear for his enemies, is not so much guided by the emotion, but cursed by it. “Certainly his journey from Anakin to Darth Vader is about fear of losing control of himself, control of his life, losing Padmé– which obviously happens — and then after all that happens, it’s fear of facing up to what he’s done,” Soule says. “Vader … is strongly governed by fear and he’s supposed to be the cautionary tale of what fear will do to you if you give into it.”

No matter how you define fear — be it the modern definition of an unpleasant emotional response to a perceived danger or the ancient and archaic mix of dread and reverence — it’s a living, breathing part of Star Wars, paramount to all other emotions within the saga save, perhaps, for hope.

Fear, in the real world and the Star Wars universe, too, is immutable and immortal, a natural reaction in almost all living things to something they can’t understand, and an ever-present part of the Force, too. You can’t have Star Wars without fear. You can’t have tales of courage and valor or despair and dishonor, either.

Owen Lars feared for Luke Skywalker were he to discover his true history and lineage. Beru Lars feared for Luke’s hopes for the future. Old Ben Kenobi, he wasn’t to be trusted, always getting in the way, putting the Lars family at risk with his scattered involvement.

Obi-Wan Kenobi fights Maul for the last time.

For Obi-Wan Kenobi, his greatest fear was losing Luke, failing in his mandate to keep him safely ensconced away from prying eyes, loose lips and the omnipresent malevolence of not just Darth Vader but Darth Sidious. That fear drove Kenobi to endure years of a solitary life, punctuated by brief yet startling confrontations with Tusken Raiders and, of course, a final showdown with Darth Maul.

Fear is one of the strongest factors which propel the stories in Star Wars, no matter the era or the medium.

In A New Hope, Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin and the Empire embrace fear while wielding what is believed to be the ultimate threat and power. “Fear will keep the local systems in line,” he tells his officers. “Fear of this battle station.”

Captain Phasma leads First Order troops in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Delilah S. Dawson, author of Star Wars: Phasma, showed how the fierce warrior made her way into the embrace of the First Order. Was it fear of losing that prestige and power and position that kept her motivated?

“Whether we fear dying, suffering, losing someone we love, or becoming something we dread, every character’s motivation is rooted in fear,” Dawson says. “For Phasma, she wouldn’t personally consider her primary motivation to be fear, and yet her life is dedicated to survival, which is basically the flip side of the coin of death. Outside of not wanting to die, she doesn’t want to go without again, to be hungry again, to have to make the tough choices that come with life on Parnassos. Of course the First Order and their promises of order and plenty would appeal to her.”

In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Jyn Erso beats back her apathy and fear of involvement to join with Cassian Andor and his team to not just find her father, but to steal the Death Star plans.

For those watching the films and television shows, for readers devouring page after page of novels and comics, playing the video games, the fear that our avatars within Star Wars experience is amplified, reflected even, upon us.

Luke Skywalker in the cave on Dagobah.

Consider Luke’s brush with the dark side in the cave as shown in The Empire Strikes Back. Sitting in a darkened theater, surprised by the sudden appearance of Darth Vader only to see Luke’s face within the cracked-open helmet, the image jarred audiences in 1980 and continues to shock in 2018.

Cavan Scott, author of some of IDW Publishing’s Star Wars Adventures and the recent five-issue miniseries Tales from Vader’s Castle, is using fear to drive the story, jumping from era to era and focusing on how it can affect characters’ motives and determination. Yet fear cannot exist without hope, he says.

“They have to coexist in a story otherwise there is no conflict and therefore no momentum. It’s fear that drives the story forward, fear that if you stop the bad guys will win, that you will lose those who are important to you and, often in Star Wars, that you will lose yourself,” he says. “But, for me, one of the greatest truths in Star Wars is that, no matter how scary a situation or a foe, whether it’s a giant monster or facing down an entire Imperial fleet, you are not helpless if you have each other. We need our heroes to face seemingly insurmountable odds for us to show that they gain strength — and hope — from each other.”

The cover of Tales from Vader's Castle #5.

Writing an all-age Star Wars comic that’s focused on scary events has some boundaries, but as Scott notes, “kids love to be scared.”

Still, there is a balance to be maintained, too.

For Scott, it provides a fulcrum on which to use differing levels of fear to tell a story that adults will find creepy and unsettling, yet without sending kids screaming from the room.

“Obviously, you have to be responsible and not push things as far as you would in a tale for adults. Also, with kids you can use humor to counterpoint the scares and ease the tension if need be,” he said. “And, as we’ve seen time and time again, humor and horror go hand-in-hand. Just look around the theater next time you see a horror movie. I can guarantee the audience will jump at a scare and then laugh, some of them nervously, of course, but it’s a laugh all the same.”

Much like Star Wars, where humor and being scared are often present together.

Ultimately, fear can be both an ally and enemy, in our everyday lives and in a galaxy far far away.

“I think fear is one of our most primal and important emotions. I think it drives us to do a lot of things and make a lot of choices, make a lot off decisions,” says Soule. “It keeps us away from things and pushes us toward things.”

Matt Moore is a writer and editor and co-creator/co-host of Comics With Kenobi, a weekly podcast detailing and discussing contemporary Star Wars comics from Marvel and IDW Publishing and their role in advancing the Star Wars saga.

How Fear is the Path to Hope in Star Wars