Comic books are a medium that once relished in the horror genre. You could find all sorts of weird fiction, dark crime, and sinister evils lurking in the paneled page decades ago. That is, of course, until superheroes took over. For most folks, comic books and superheroes are synonymous, but they are so much more than that. Comic books are a medium, not a genre, and they have always offered a wealth of stories, worlds, and visions. In fact, if you are looking for something creepy and dark to read this Halloween season, comic books have lots to offer you.
So, in the interest of public service, we offer you a list of some of our favorite horror comics. Mind you, this merely scratches the surface, so if you dig it make sure you hit up your local comic shop and check out some other titles.
Harrow County by Tyler Crook and Cullen Bunn
Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook have done the very difficult task of creating a unique and startling story that feels classic, as if it’s a tale that’s been around for ages. Harrow County is a nightmare, a horror story about family, lies, and the things that hide in your own backyard. It’s awesome stuff that is propelled into must-read territory thanks to Crook’s stunning artwork. Pick up this Dark Horse Comic now. Seriously, go right now. We’ll wait.
Afterlife with Archie by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla
Afterlife with Archie
Yes, it’s that Archie. Chances are you have heard of this series, it has been a title everyone is talking about. In a nutshell, it’s about a zombie outbreak hitting the wholesome town of Riverdale. You’d expect that this would be played for laughs, but the creative team of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla play it straight and that’s why it works. Afterlife with Archie is a dark, scary book that is on par with the best works of horror being produced today. Archie fan or not, you need to check out this comic.
American Vampire by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque
If you are looking for a long-running horror story with a deep mythology then look no further than American Vampire. Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque have built some vampire lore like no other, full of blood, darkness, and love. The lives of Pearl and Skinner Sweet are doomed to violence, tragedy, and death, but you can’t look away. The world of American Vampire draws you in and won’t let go. It gets its teeth into you. There are few comics as engaging, beautiful, and rich as the ones created by Snyder and Albuquerque. You might not think vampires are your thing, but American Vampire will prove you wrong.
Locke and Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
Locke & Key
I don’t want to oversell this, but Locke & Key is the greatest comic series of the modern era. Writer Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez crafted a brilliant and stunning series about family, ghosts, demons, and survival. It’ll make you cry, it’ll make you laugh, and it will haunt your dreams (and nightmares). The story of Locke & Key is one of a family trying to repair itself and how difficult it can be to survive after everything falls apart, but it grows into so much more. It’s a ghost story, a Lovecraft-fueled epic that’s always bigger – and somehow more intimate – than it seems. If you read just one comic from this list, read Locke & Key. It really is the freaking best.
Wytches by Scott Snyder and Jock
Wytches is not what you think. Like American Vampire, it takes something you think you know and twists it. Writer Scott Snyder deserves credit for writing a tight, scary story, but it’s artist Jock that really makes Wytches horrifying. His frantic, sketchy style leaves you constantly on edge. You can’t even look at this comic without becoming supremely shaken. Trust me when I say that after reading this series you’ll never look at trees the same way. Pledged is pledged, after all.
Colder by Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreyra
When it comes to horror and evil, few comics compare to Colder. The series villain, Nimble Jack, is scary, memorable, and charming. The book itself is about insanity, sort of, and it never really stops toying with you. Writer Paul Tobin and artist Juan Ferreyra craft a story so hypnotic and horrifying that you can’t put it down, even when it’s creeping you out. The cover alone makes me uncomfortable and the comic is filled with imagery like that. Ever since reading Colder I’m constantly afraid that I’ll turn a corner and see Nimble Jack, smiling at me and waiting to suck my soul. This comic sticks with you, whether you want it to or not.