It’s Halloween season and the beginning of the holiday season overall. Plenty of holiday content this season is from franchises (e.g. Marvel’s Hawkeye and LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales). It is hard to believe nowadays, but a few years ago, this was rare.
In preparation for LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales out on Disney Plus today, and to continue the Halloween spirit throughout October, the C&C Recommend is IDW’s Tales from Vader’s Castle.
Tales from Vader’s Castle is a five-issue comic series written by Cavan Scott and art by various talents (including Derek Charm, Kelley Jones, Corin Howell, Robert Hack). The first issue was released on October 3, 2018, and introduces a group of Rebels. The leader, Lina Graf, has to make an emergency landing after her ship’s port thruster is damaged. Graf is a family name you will hear more from in the most recent YA High Republic novel, Out of the Shadows.
The rest of the crew includes Skritt (a bug and technician), Lieutenant Hudd (a former thief), and XM-G3 (a former bodyguard droid). The team lands on Mustafar and tries to find a way off-world while avoiding the infamous Dark Sith Lord. The team each tells a spooky tale that highlights basic horror rules and helps to overcome their fears. The tales involve popular heroes like Hera, Kanan, Obi-Wan, Han Solo, and Ewoks. And some of these stories are truly disturbing, pulling from classic horror monsters like ghosts and vampires before facing the ultimate monster, Vader.
The stories are loosely inspired by real horror stories, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Bram Stocker’s Dracula. Here are the fun titles and summaries:
The Haunting of the Ghost: Hera, Kanan, and Chopper get more than they bargained for when they rescue a Rebel informant from an asteroid field. They soon learn that an evil spirit exists in the area and has set its sights on the Ghost.
Count Dooku: Prince of Darkness! When the Jedi Council sends General Obi-Wan Kenobi and General Adi Gallia on a mission to Bray, the Planet of Eternal Night, they must assist its citizens while taking on the sinister Count Dooku.
The Briar Witch: Han Solo and Chewbacca take a job delivering a figure to the moon, Rendel. No one would take the job, believing stories that Rendel is cursed. Han and Chewie find out that that the curse might be real after all.
Night of the Gorax: Ewoks Chirpa and Logray lead a hunting expedition to track down the mysterious predator called the Gorax. They learn the hard way that splitting up is never a good idea…
Because each story involves a different artist, you get visuals tailored specifically to the tone of the tale. They are all engaging, but the standout is “Night of the Gorax.” The stakes seem higher as the story revolves around Ewoks trying to find their tribes missing woklings and the villain reveal is truly terrifying.
Even though the comic series is supposed to be YA, it is fine for Middle Grade and not terribly scary. So, for younger Star Wars fans who want to test out the horror space with a familiar franchise, Tales from Vader’s Castle is a perfect addition to a collection.