The Cosmic horror genre is dark and expansive, incorporating many genres and shading their darkest parts in a way that completely transforms the story. That transformation is typically as electrifying as it is effective. Do you enjoy existential dread, space and time being twisted, and exploring the darkest potential the universe has to offer? What started as classic Lovecraftian imagination has become a thriving genre across multiple formats. Here at Puzzle Box, we love all things horror, and as fall turns to winter, we’re looking to take a deep dive into all supernatural horror and it’s subgenres.
Today’s list is a Best of Cosmic Horror comics and graphic novels. We’re looking at stories that exist between the extraterrestrial and the horrors of a silent void. Cosmic horror has worked in a lot of media, to the Dead Space games, the Alien movie franchise, and one incredibly twisted episode of Black Mirror. The comics below make interstellar travel sound like asking for trouble, and for good reason.
Nameless by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham
Nameless, an occult hustler, is hired by billionaire “futurists” to stop the end of the world. Nameless and his crew are sent to an asteroid hurtling towards Earth. What they find on the asteroid, Xibalba, is much more threatening to human life and is all that remains from a cosmic war involving a lost planet and interdimensional gods. It suffices to say, Nameless and his squad are out of their league.
Southern Cross by Becky Cloonan and Andy Belager
Alex Braith, a petty thief, is tracing the steps of her sister who has gone missing on Jupiter’s moon, Titan. Her search takes her aboard the Southern Cross, where she finds more questions than answers. Mysterious things start to happen onboard, and Alex uncovers a link to the ship’s Gravity Drive. Unfortunately for her, that link isn’t very friendy.
Sentient by Jeff Lemire and Gabriel Walta
From the author of Gideon Falls comes a cosmic horror with a familiar but entrancing premise: all the adults are dead. After the U.S.S. Montgomery is attacked, all the adults onboard are killed. Only their children are alive after the attack, but they aren’t alone. The ship’s A.I., Valerie, is intact and she takes the children’s safety in her… “hands?” But as the ship enters the Black Zone, a space where Valerie is unable to radio their old home or their new one, keeping this improvised family together proves to be a tall task.
Void by Herik Hanna and Sean Phillips
Sci-Fi can be used to highlight societal issues and injustices, and Void’s issue of choice is a parable for mass incarceration. Goliath 01, a prison ship stewarded by a mad warden, floats through space full of dead inmates and one solitary survivor. John, our lone protagonist, struggles to stay alive long enough to find an escape from this drifting death trap, but the shadow of warden Colonel Mercer threatens to send another inmate to their grave.
Caliban by Garth Ennis and Facundo Percio
Paranoia and claustrophobia combine in an unending feedback cycle on board the mining ship, Caliban. A crew expecting a run-of-the-mill mining mission is in for a rude awakening from the beings lurking in deep space. The crew is picked off slowly and suddenly, as the crew of the Caliban confronts an enemy they can hardly understand.
Aliens by Dark Horse Comics
The Aliens franchise isn’t limited to just movies. The comics have been published since 1988, and what began as stories that continued from the first two Aliens movies, has become a fully-fledged anthology of the Aliens universe, full of the dreaded Xenomorphs, with prequels and side stories as well. With several omnibuses full of work from a variety of authors and artists, the Aliens franchise has plenty of moods for all horror fans.
That’s a wrap on our Best of Cosmic Horror list. Isolation and dread are pretty common threads throughout these series, but interdimensional and extraterrestrial beings still represent. Did we miss any space monsters? Any wormholes or black holes to oblivion that need mentioning? Let us know in the comments below and stay tuned for more Best Of’s from Puzzle Box!
What more cosmic horror? The best cosmic horror movies are here and we have also explored the best cosmic horror books as well. Want to dig in deeper well we have the history and original stories below.