Mixing the best parts of both film and written horror, graphic novels are able to bring new twists and stories to the genre. Since the renaissance in the 40s and 50s, horror comics and graphic novels continue to build on their predecessors. In this day and age, new life has been breathed into the horror comics genre and a large part of my subscription list at my local comic book store is horror titles.
If you have never read a horror comic or if you’ve never read a comic, but love horror and want to explore the genre in a new form instead of watching The Thing for the thousandth time, here's a list of some of the best ongoing horror series on your local comic book store’s shelves. Most of these have a manageable amount of issues out so you can catch up on the action quick. Let us know what your favorite horror comics are in the comments.
Writer: Scott Snyder | Artist: Jock | Publication Date: Oct. 2014
Wytches lets you know exactly what you are in for the minute you start this series. It begins with a woman stuck in a tree, mouth up against a knot, asking for help. Her nose has been cut off. You are not told why she is in this situation or what brought her to it. The woman’s son approaches the tree. She begs him to help her but all the boy says is, “pledged is pledged,” before bashing her head in with a rock. Not only does Wytches push you into the action in the first issue, writer Scott Snyder wastes no time delving into horrors that aren’t monster-related: from bullying, alcoholism, to moving to a new town. It focuses half of the story on the scary things we face every day and monsters we cannot see, with the other half dedicated to the real danger of the witches, which are brought to a terrifying reality with Jock’s amazing artwork and Matt Hollingsworth’s outstanding coloring.
2. Afterlife with Archie
Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa | Artist: Francesco Francavilla | Publication Date: Oct. 2013
No list would be complete without Afterlife with Archie. When everyone’s favorite teenage witch, Sabrina Spellman brings Jughead’s dog, Hot Dog, back from the dead, it causes an unprecedented change in Hot Dog’s demeanor. Now a zombie, Hot Dog infects Jughead with the curse and, if you’ve seen any kind of zombie media ever, it all snowballs from there. This comic took off, selling out every issue that’s been released. For good reason, too. Mixing the art style of horror comics from the 50s with a modern twist to some classic Archie characters, Afterlife brilliantly showcases what you can do with the horror genre and manages to remain fresh in a bloated zombie market.
3. Clean Room
Writer: Gail Simone | Artist: Jon Davis-Hunt | Publication Date: Oct. 2015
Clean Room is an interesting combination of things that might not work if done by a less experienced writer. But in the hands of Gail Simone, the book shines and delivers a truly creepy story about Chloe Pierce, a reporter for a small town newspaper, who is investigating a cult-like self-help organization and the part they played in her fiancé’s suicide. A tour-de-force writer, Simone weaves a tale that is one part creepy cult story and one part ghost story and is held up by memorable characters, as well as some truly disgusting panels (and I mean that in a good way) drawn by Jon Davis-Hunt.
4. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa | Artist: Robert Hack | Publication Date: Oct. 2014
The creepiest take yet on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina follows Sabrina Spellman as she faces the decision to either stay a witch or become a mortal forever. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa reinvigorated these characters we’ve known for decades, giving them a creepier spin than their original portrayals, while also being truthful to the fears of growing up, being a teenager, and struggling to find your way. His writing and dialogue flow effortlessly and the stunning and downright creepy art by Robert Hack harkens back to horror comics from the 40s and 50s.
5. The Vision
Writer: Tom King | Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta | Publication Date: Nov. 2015
The Vision is a detour from the first four series mentioned. Published by Marvel Comics, The Vision tells the story of the Avenger, Vision, and the almost Sims-esque family he created for himself as they go about their daily lives, trying to be human. It doesn’t sound very interesting from a broader view, but the execution is outstanding and very, very creepy. Most of the creep factor comes from the narrator, whose impartial view of what is happening on the pages is simply unnerving. It describes events in the most uninterested way, like when it mentioned how one of the Visions would burn down their neighbor’s house, killing the couple inside. With stellar writing by Tom King and a stark art style from Gabriel Hernandez Walta, The Vision delivers an interesting story about what it means to be human, while also giving the reader the shivers.
One of The Bloodlust's new contributors, Kat's introduction to horror began like most people's: trips to Blockbuster with friends, grabbing whatever has the scariest cover. Since then, it's Halloween every day in Kat's world! Scary books, comics, video games, and yes, horror movies are a regular feature. When not using pillows as a horror sheild, Kat is a freelance writer who lives with her fiance and two cats.