With Halloween right around the corner, there’s a good chance you’re going to be eating your body weight in candy, which means you’ll be trapped in your pants. Soon, they’ll no longer by jeans, but rather denim leg prisons subjecting you to the tyranny of fabric. So what are you supposed to do? Celebrate Nerdoween with these amazing horror comics that will literally scare your pants off. And yes, I’m using literally properly. If it doesn’t happen for you, then you probably bought defective pants or maybe you don’t want it bad enough. Either way, you should definitely be reading these spooktacular comic books.
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The Tomb of Dracula
Image: Marvel Comics
Back before the scariest thing about Marvel was their refusal to let their heroes stay dead, they told terrifying tales of the undead in The Tomb of Dracula. The 70-issue series followed a group of vampire hunters who battled Count Dracula and other assorted supernatural creatures. While it isn’t the most terrifying entry on this list, it is one of the most compelling, wrapping the superhero genre in a cloak of gothic horror. The result is something so endlessly readable and fiendishly enjoyable that you won’t be able to put it down. And honestly, seeing the Silver Surfer fight Dracula is the one thing that was missing from Bram Stoker’s original novel.
Image: Dark Horse Comics
When most people turn 18, they get the freedom to vote and buy cigarettes and tasers. But for Emmy, the girl at the center of Harrow County, she learns that she’s actually the reincarnation of a powerful witch. Suddenly, the weird monsters in the woods around her house–e.g. ghosts, ghouls, and a particularly creepy skinless boy–seem to regard her like an old friend. To make matters worse, everyone in town seems to want her dead, forcing Emmy to either embrace her horrifying new existence or let the pitchfork-wielding mob rend her asunder. And you thought your teen years were bad.
Beasts of Burden
Image: Dark Horse Comics
Don’t let the cuddly cast of adorable animals fool you—Beast of Burden has more in common with Watership Down than Homeward Bound. Our protagonists are the Wise Dog Society, a group of intelligent animals comprising five dogs and a cat named Orphan who set out to solve all manner of supernatural mysteries that beset their small town of Burden Hill. They encounter everything from demonic cannibal frogs to the undead rising from their graves along the way. With equal parts heart, humor, and horror, this Eisner-winning series is so good it’s scary.
Tales from the Crypt
Image: EC Comics
Back before the Comics Code Authority decided our dumb baby minds were too fragile to handle intense imagery and themes, EC Comics put out the horror anthology Tales from the Crypt, as well as sister titles like The Haunt of Fear and The Vault of Horror. They were sexy, violent, pulpy horror stories that were the fictional equivalent of spooky Pringles—once you pop open a copy of Tales from the Crypt, you can’t stop opening copies from Tales from the Crypt.
Image: Image Comics
Do you have a bad habit of chewing your nails? Well, one surefire way to fix that is to read Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson’s Nailbiter, the story about a serial killer who bit off his victims’ nails and fingers, and the FBI agent that caught him… and went missing shortly thereafter. What follows is a twisting, turning investigation that leads to the town of Buckaroo, Oregon, which has produced 16 of the United States’ deadliest serial killers. If you thought Silent Hill was a terrible place to live, then you’ve never seen Buckaroo. Real estate prices must be insanely good there because otherwise…why live there? It’s like Gotham but more murdery.
Afterlife with Archie
Image: Archie Comics
If you’re watching Riverdale, then you’re probably fiending for some more pulpy weirdness with Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, and the gang. Well, look no further than the comic that launched a whole line of horror titles and gave Riverdale its jumping-off point. Afterlife with Archie brings some The Walking Dead realness to Riverdale as a zombie outbreak slowly erupts across the town and leaves a bloody trail in its wake as our high school heroes must do whatever it takes to survive.
The Enigma of Amigara Fault
Image: Viz Media
No list of horror comics would be complete without something by Junji Ito. This short story spins a chilling yarn about how hundreds and hundreds of human-shaped holes suddenly appeared on a mountainside in the wake of an earthquake. As we soon learn, the holes are shaped exactly like specific people and those who find their perfect fit soon become transfixed on crawling in and becoming one with the mountain. Not in a hippie way, but rather in a terrifying, creepy way. It only gets more unsettling and crazier from there, and it’ll make you rethink your plans to go hiking this weekend.Welcome to Nerdoween! Throughout the month of October, we’ll be celebrating everything spooky, macabre, and just plain weird. Nerdoween 2017 is presented by Alpha, our interactive membership service, which offers you exclusive content from Nerdist and Geek & Sundry, as well as a 10% discount on all of our merch.
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Dan Casey is the senior editor of Nerdist and the author of books about Star Wars and the Avengers. Follow him on Twitter ( @DanCasey).
Editor’s note: Today’s episode of The Dan Cave is sponsored by MVMT. To get 15% off your order, head to http://www.mvmt.com/cave.