Do you remember your favorite scary stories as a kid? Maybe they had you sleeping in your parents’ bed for a few nights or keeping your distance from that spooky-looking house on your street. Chances are, you remember those times fondly now. (Or you still avoid that creepy house. That’s cool, too.) Kids thrive on spooky stories not just because it can be fun to be frightened, but also because it helps them learn how to cope when something scary happens in real life.
Deadman Tells the Spooky Tales is a new collection of scary stories for young readers told with gusto by Deadman, the unconventional hero once known as Boston Brand. A different artist teams up with the writer Franco Aureliani to tackle each tale, giving each story its own ghostly personality. These are the kinds of stories kids will want to read over and over again, and each time they do, the real world might feel just a little less scary.
Of course, parents can get in on the fun, too. But if you’re like me, it might be scarier than you think to imagine your kids being chased by monsters. Eek!
Thirteen tales of mysteries, haunted houses, ghosts, monsters and more lurk inside these pages. In the spirit of classic horror comics like House of Mystery and Tales from the Crypt, Deadman introduces each tale, offering a little context and setting the stage for what you’re about to experience. Boston Brand is just as likely to make you laugh here as he is to make you scream in surprise. And he loves a good story.
Standout tales include an eye-opening visit to the optometrist drawn by Derek Charm, purr-fectly eerie stories illustrated by Mike Hartigan and Christopher Uminga and so many more.
“Fall” will make kids think twice before jumping into a pile of leaves ever again. The creepy tale illustrated by Morgan Beem turns fall frolicking into fall frightening! If you’ve never looked at a pile of leaves and wondered what lurks inside, you will after reading this marvelous monster story.
The two tales that have really stuck with me both work by leaving you wondering what will happen next. “Mannequins,” with art from Boatwright Artwork, turns everyday objects into monsters. It’ll certainly liven things up the next time you take the kids along for your next department store trip. (That one creeped me out the most. Thanks, Deadman!) “The Cemetery,” with gorgeous illustrations by Abigail Larson, is beautifully spine-chilling. You won’t want the atmospheric tale to end.
Safely scaring kids is one of the best benefits of spooky stories like the ones you’ll find in Deadman’s collection. Not only are kids remarkably resilient, but graphic novels like this also put them in charge of how scared they want to be. They can choose to simply skip to the next story or put down the book whenever they want. It’s okay to be scared and scary stories show them that—and that they can handle fear when they feel it in the real world. Maybe best of all, they see kids just like themselves overcome the monsters in some of these tales, so they feel like they can, too.
See, Deadman is one of the good guys.
Deadman Tells the Spooky Tales is naturally a great fit for Halloween and spooky season, and to revisit year-round for Boston’s brand of gallows humor. Just don’t be surprised if your kids ask to leave the lights on all night…
Deadman Tells the Spooky Tales by Franco and a team of artists is now available in bookstores, comic shops, libraries and as a digital graphic novel.
Kelly Knox writes about all-ages comics and animation for DC.com and her writing can also be seen on IGN, Nerdist and more. Follow her on Twitter at @kelly_knox to talk superheroes, comics and pop culture.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Kelly Knox and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.