No One Does ‘Terrifying’ Like the Joker

From Goodreads.com

“Death of the Family” spans multiple titles: Batman, Batman and Robin, Teen Titans, Red Hood and the Outlaws, Nightwing, and Batgirl. A MASSIVE story in which the Joker attacks every member of the Bat-Family in an attempt to prove to Batman that they are weakening him–that he is better off without support or love, that the only person who truly understand him is the Joker himself. Deeply psychological–not just because of the villain–but because the story also takes the time to dive into the darkest corners of each Bat’s psyche. Oh… and did I mention that Joker’s face has been cut off and he’d sewn it back on? Yeah… no one does “terrifying” like the Joker.

From Batman, Vol. 3: Death of the Family

Creepy Quote

“No, no, no, it’s darkness–it’s like that eclipse the other day, don’t you see? The Bat is the sun–the fiery star–you and the others are the moon–blocking his light–he can’t shine on me and me on him if you’re all in the way of his ray!”*

Similar Books

Dark Nights Metal (If you think the Joker is scary… imagine a Jokerized Batman!) The Killing Joke and Batman: Death in the Family (More tragic takes on the Joker’s influence. Have some tissues ready, especially for Death in the Family. But if you’re wanting landmark Joker stories, both of these fit the bill.)


Sources:

Snyder, Scott. Batman, Vol. 3: Death of the Family. Burbank, CA, DC Comics, 2014.

*Tomasi, Peter J. Batman and Robin: Vol. 3: Death of the Family. New York, DC Comics, 2013.

Lost in D.C. and a Random Act of Kindness

For most of this month, I’m concentrating on all things spooky. But during “A Look Back, a Look Ahead,” I wanted to concentrate on another part of autumn: Togetherness. We come together for Trick or Treat and parties; we come together for apple-picking and pumpkin carving; we come together to sip warm apple cider while huddled around an even warmer fire. I wrote a while ago about about the impact kindness can have, and between everyone being tired of the pandemic and the current political environment (gotta love election years, right?), I thought it would be nice to set aside one day a week to focus on acts of kindness.

A Kindness Memory

With the election coming up, I thought it would be nice to share something that happened in Washington, D.C. but HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH POLITICS. (Crazy, right?) This act of kindness was very simple: Four college students trying to find the White House got lost in downtown D.C. at night. After being stared down by a rather frightening bouncer outside a club and then finding our way to a rather desolate section of the city, we eventually made our way back among crowds. We looked clearly lost and out of place–Three fourths of us had flannel shirts, and the other one was me: At 4’11”, I’m not exactly intimidating and I tend to wear my emotions on my face. Most people walked on by, ready to get home for the evening. But one couple came to us. “Are you lost?” she asked. “We’re trying to find the White House,” we replied. She smiled and pointed us toward the right street and then gave us detailed directions on how to get there. We found our way, got a few good pictures of the President’s humble abode, and then made our way back to where we were staying. A night that could have been dangerous–or in the very least disappointing–was turned around by the helpful hand of a friendly stranger.

Kindness Challenge of the Day

Help someone who is lost: Whether that means literally providing directions, or just being a listening ear to someone who is feeling uncertain.

The Fragility of Time

2) The Thief of Always by Clive Barker

From Goodreads.com

Why this book?

Similar to Coraline, this book’s premise is very much “Be careful what you wish for.” However, it goes further by not only examining the divergence between what we think we want and what we actually, but also by reminding all of us of the fragility of time. In short: Do you want something truly scary? How about a reminder of how brief our lives truly are?

Scary Quote

“Perhaps the House had heard Harvey wishing for a full moon, because when he and Wendell traipsed upstairs and looked out the landing window, there–hanging between the bare branches of the trees–was a moon as wide and as white as a dead man’s smile.”


Sources:

Book cover and quote from Goodreads.com. The Thief of Always written by Clive Barker.

The Darkest Reflections

2) Batman: The Black Mirror

From Goodreads.com

A chapter from Dick Grayson’s time as Batman. This is a mystery to the extreme: A perfect example of Batman being a detective first, and a superhero second. So I don’t want to say too much. But I will say that imagery and plot work hand-in-hand to deliver a story full of chills culminating in the reader being held captive by the musing of a psychopath.

From “The Black Mirror”

Creepy Quote

“You see, this place is special, Dick. It is a city of nightmares. And I’m yours. I’m the face you see in the glass. A man with no conscience. No empathy.”

Similar Books

Hush(Another great Batman mystery–probably my favorite Batman story. Not exactly scary, but it will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat.) Batman: The Long Halloween (I mean… it has Halloween in the name. It didn’t make my list of scariest graphic novels, just because I thought other stories either had scarier imagery or implications. But it’s still a great read.)


Source:

Snyder, Scott. Batman: The Black Mirror. Burbank, California. DC Comics. 2018

Dogs, Chickens, and a Random Act of Kindness

For most of this month, I’m concentrating on all things spooky. But during “A Look Back, a Look Ahead,” I wanted to concentrate on another part of autumn: Togetherness. We come together for Trick or Treat and parties; we come together for apple-picking and pumpkin carving; we come together to sip warm apple cider while huddled around an even warmer fire. I wrote a while ago about about the impact kindness can have, and between everyone being tired of the pandemic and the current political environment (gotta love election years, right?), I thought it would be nice to set aside one day a week to focus on acts of kindness.

A Kindness Memory

I’m going to preface this by saying that my family has the sweetest dog in the world. (Okay, so everyone thinks their dog is the best, but… ours is really super sweet.) When Lilly was a puppy and we’d all be giving her attention, she would crawl from one of us to the next–making sure all of us pet her–in what we used to call a “love circle.” She’s always been very loving and gentle, and today’s kindness memory is all about her. First, a bit of background: My dad raises chickens as a hobby. You’d think that would be a problem with a dog. (And usually, yes it is: We’ve lost many chickens to neighbors’ dogs who have run loose.) But not with Lilly. When chicks were newly hatched, she’d just wander over and look in on them–more like a curious toddler than a canine. But one day, Lilly went even beyond her usual sweetness: It was summertime, so we had her outside, getting some fresh air. An unexpected summer rain came, and we all rushed inside and Lilly, of course, ducked into her doghouse. A few of my dad’s chickens were outside pecking away, and most of them darted back into the henhouse. But one decided that Lilly’s dog house looked more comfortable. Most dogs would have either barked away the intruder (in the least) or had themselves a nice chicken lunch. Not Lilly… she scooted over and let the chicken keep her company during the quick rain.

Here’s a picture of Lilly all cuddle-snuggled in bed. (We couldn’t find her… turns out, she decided that my brother’s bed was more comfortable than hers.)

Kindness Challenge of the Day

Do something nice for someone who is your opposite. Maybe they don’t agree with your political views? Or they come from a different background? Doesn’t matter. We are all people, so do something today that connects rather than separates. If a dog and a chicken can share a dog house, then we can share a few friendly words with one another.

Careful What You Wish For

3) Coraline by Neil Gaiman

From Goodreads.com

Why this book?

Did you ever wonder what Alice in Wonderland would have been like if it was written by Edgar Allan Poe? No? Well, in case you’re curious… that’s basically Coraline. The theme is a classic one: Be careful what you wish for. After all, unlike most fairy tales, this story’s door to another world comes with a harrowing price. (And a pretty high creep factor!)

Scary Quote

“How do I know you’ll keep your word?” asked Coraline.
“I swear it,” said the other mother. “I swear it on my own mother’s grave.”
“Does she have a grave?” asked Coraline.
“Oh yes,” said the other mother. “I put her in there myself. And when I found her trying to crawl out, I put her back.”


Sources:

Book cover and quote from Goodreads.com. Coraline written by Neil Gaiman.

Aliens, and Heroes, and Zombies… Oh My!

3) DC’s Blackest Night

From Goodreads.com

The Black Lanterns are death incarnate–and they’re coming for everything. Can Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps stand in their way? And what about Earth’s other heroes–many of whom have been touched by death themselves. What happens when the Black Lantern takes over those heroes? Does Hal Jordan have enough willpower (and Barry Allen Flash enough hope) to fight–and save–these friends-turned-zombies?

From “Blackest Night”

Creepy Quote

“Death takes us all. And the universe will finally be at peace.”

Similar Books

Night of the Living Deadpool (If you want zombies, but with Deadpool.) Final Crisis (A confusing book, and not one of my favorite comics–but the end of it has a direct correlation with this story arc. I won’t say specifics because… spoilers.) Green Arrow, Vol. 1: Quiver (Ties into themes of life, death, and resurrection, but with a more supernatural element.)


Source:

Johns, Geoff. Blackest Night. New York. DC Comics. 2010

Mini Golf and a Random Act of Kindness

For most of this month, I’m concentrating on all things spooky. But during “A Look Back, a Look Ahead,” I wanted to concentrate on another part of autumn: Togetherness. We come together for Trick or Treat and parties; we come together for apple-picking and pumpkin carving; we come together to sip warm apple cider while huddled around an even warmer fire. I wrote a while ago about about the impact kindness can have, and between everyone being tired of the pandemic and the current political environment (gotta love election years, right?), I thought it would be nice to set aside one day a week to focus on acts of kindness.

A Kindness Memory

I’m dreaming of vacations again, so today’s Random Act of Kindness is from a trip to Gatlinburg. I was probably about middle school age, which would have put my brother in early elementary school. Now, one thing we always do in Gatlinburg is play as much mini golf as humanly possible. On this day, we’d decided to try out a new course–it was a part of a “fun complex” and themed with safari animals. (So, you know… pretty much as touristy and fun as you can get.) We had just finished a game (with my father, winning, of course), and were dropping off our putters when a man came up to us. “Are you going to be staying here for a while?” he asked. An odd question, but my dad was like, “Yeah, this is our first day of vacation.” “Great!” he said, and handed us tickets–LOTS OF TICKETS–for all the other attractions at the park. “This is our last day and we haven’t used these up. Have fun!” My dad offered to pay him for the tickets, but the man wouldn’t accept. He simply wanted to see another family have some fun. And boy, did we! Bumper boats, arcades, go-carts, and yes… even more mini golf!

Kindness Challenge of the Day

Give someone a happy surprise. It doesn’t have to be tickets to fun and adventure. It can be something as simple as an unexpected compliment.

You Can’t Outrun Misery….

What makes a comic scary? As I start this countdown, I looked over the many (and I mean MANY) graphic novels I’ve read. Some of them were exciting, and there were even a few that were disturbing… but which comics really best fit with Halloween themes? In the end, I decided that a scary comic had either one, or both, of two criteria: (1) Unsettling imagery, and (2) A story that leaves you with chills.

So, here we go: The Top 4 Scariest Comics I’ve Read, starting with….

4) Doctor Strange, Vol. 4: Mr. Misery

From Goodreads.com

“Mr. Misery” is the result of Dr. Stephen Strange’s attempt to circumvent the “price” that comes with using magic. A monster literally made out of suffering, he is nothing short of a nightmare on paper. The creepy levels of this comic are off the chart!

Creepy Quote:

“Misery loves you too, Doctor.”

Similar Books:

Doctor Strange Vols. 1-3 (These stories lead up to the above volume and also have some creepy imagery.) Marvel 1602 (Also includes Doctor Strange as a major character. Though “creep factor” isn’t a driving force in this story, it’s still there and when it is, the imagery is more intense.)


Source:

Aaron, Jason. Doctor Strange: Mr. Misery. New York. Marvel Comics, 2017.

British Punk and a Random Act of Kindness

For most of this month, I’m concentrating on all things spooky. But during “A Look Back, a Look Ahead,” I wanted to concentrate on another part of autumn: Togetherness. We come together for Trick or Treat and parties; we come together for apple-picking and pumpkin carving; we come together to sip warm apple cider while huddled around an even warmer fire. I wrote a while ago about about the impact kindness can have, and between everyone being tired of the pandemic and the current political environment (gotta love election years, right?), I thought it would be nice to set aside one day a week to focus on acts of kindness.

A Kindness Memory

Back when I was in high school, I was SUPER into classic rock. (I’ve been to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame three times.) I was probably a sophomore when I discovered the British punk band The Clash–and what teenager doesn’t love a bit of rebellion? I still rock out every time I hear “London Calling.” This particular day, I was at the mall and decided to purchase The Clash’s Greatest Hits CD. (Yes… this is back when people still bought physical copies of music, rather than downloading everything.) I was old enough to know how sales tax worked, but for whatever reason, I just didn’t account for it. I can’t remember if I was in a hurry or if I just epically failed at math that day (the latter could very well be true). When I went to check out, I ended up being about a dollar short. There was a huge line behind me, and to not have enough money for this shy, introverted girl was devastating. I stumbled over my words and started to explain that I’d head outside and get the extra dollar from my dad. The clerk just shook her head, said, “It’s fine. Don’t worry,” and then proceeded to pay the balance herself. I was surprised and, yes, a little flustered. It wasn’t until years later that I finally let myself not feel embarrassed. The lady didn’t have to pay for the CD; she didn’t have to make sure that this clearly awkward teenage girl wasn’t thrust into the center of attention. But she did. And now, whenever I play that Clash CD I’m reminded of how we can all help others to feel better in situations that are out of our control. After all, 2020 has given us very, very little control over so much of our lives. But at least there is this: We can control how we treat each other. We can control those little moments of awkwardness and maybe make them a little easier for someone else.

Kindness Challenge of the Day

Give someone a hand in an awkward situation. It doesn’t even have to take a cent–sometimes, just a smile and saying, “I’ve been there, too” can go a long way.