Comic books have been entertaining millions since 1933, and as the art has gotten better, illustrators have been able to create amazing panels with visceral and intense visuals. Combined with increasingly sharp storytelling, horror comics have only gotten better and better at giving readers those incredible, bone-chilling moments. These are the moments we live for as horror enthusiasts, and these are the best horror comics that really bring the screams.
#1. Babyteeth by Donny Cates
It’s been a troubling time, but there’s one thing we can all still agree on: Teen Pregnancy is the devil, hands down. But what’s extra devilish? I’ll cast a vote for giving birth to the Antichrist, which is exactly what happens to sixteen year old Sadie Ritter. It’s a sweet story, and that’s what makes the dark twists and turns that much sweeter. A lot of people would rather avert the apocalypse. Sadie just wants to raise a kid.
#2 The Beauty by Jeremy Haun and Jason A. Hurley
Beauty standards are, often times, unattainable. Anything that could help people reach that would be in high demand. But what if it’s an STI that makes you sexy overnight? Even more intriguing is what if everyone wants it? Of course, tradeoffs are never simple, and a disease that makes you sexier by the day is just begging for consequences. The Beauty plays with this premise and takes a turn to the noir, as Detective Foster and Detective Vaughn inadvertently come closer and closer to the ugly truth.
#3 The Black Monday Murders by Johnathan Hickman
Great Depressions, Recessions, market crashes–these are the dynamic breaks and burst bubbles that come to define capitalism. But who defines capitalism? In Hickman’s black and white masterpiece, Lucifer is the one pulling the strings of the free market, and this comic feels like a strange hybrid between The Big Short and the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. With incredible aesthetic, detailed runes and epic corporate memos, this comic will really make you question: is the really fiction?
#4 Gideon Falls by Jeff Lemire
This story is split between an urban conspiracy and small town secrets that are lynchpinned by the Black Barn. This urban legend appears throughout human history as a harbinger of doom mind-bending doom. Our urban protagonist, Norton Sinclair, is searching for the truth in city dumpsters, and Father Wilfred, the country mouse, is arriving at yet another new parish in the mysterious town of Gideon Falls following the death of the previous pastor. Together, they’ll learn the truth about the Black Barn. Whether they learn it in time to escape it is another question.
#5 Bones of the Coast by Cloudscape Comics
I love anthologies. Let’s start there. Their strength, when done correctly, is their ability to weave strong themes between shorter stories that can be terrifying vignettes when compared to sometimes bloated full length stories. Bones accomplishes that in spades, with standouts like ‘Drag You Down’ and The ‘Cove,’ full of magic, doppelgangers, and a host of otherworldly influences. This anthology, set in the Pacific Northwest, uses its hauntingly beautiful environment to deliver an anthology that is equally so.
#6 BPRD by Mike Mignola
BPRD: The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. Sound familiar? Any fans of Hellboy will be nodding their heads. Hellboy makes consistent appearances in BPRD and also has an a comic series “Hellboy and the BPRD.” The BPRD is tasked with defending humanity from the occult, supernatural, and the paranormal, working in conjunction with many national and international government organizations. Noir and action allows BPRD to set a dark tone perfect for fiendish creatures like frog monsters and real fiends like the CIA.
#7 The Drifting Classroom by Kazuo Umezo
Kazuo’s epic Drifting Classroom transports an elementary school into a lost dimension full of ghouls and gruesome monsters. Plagues threaten the students and teachers as well and societal structures topple like playing cards. I love when kids go full Lord of the Flies, but Kazuo drives them a little further into isolation-driven madness. His illustrations also amp up the horror with his trademark twisted visuals.
#8 Cat Eyed Boy by Kazuo Umezo
Another anthology series here and Kazuo’s second appearance here, Cat Eyed Boy tells stories that are all linked by the half demon with cat eyes. The rambunctious demon boy runs around with a vague moral system that leans very closely to chaotic neutral. The wicked are punished, but the innocent are hilariously ridiculed. Maybe that isn’t so strange.
#9 Delphine by Richard Sala
Richard Sala’s feverish take on “Snow White” is not Snow White, and that’s why I love it and why it’s on this list. Our primary protagonist is Sala’s Prince Charming, chasing after the beautiful Delphine. The sephia illustrations are perfect for creating those dark shadows, making the forest, the town, and the people that much creepier. This dark fairy tale slides into horror effortlessly, and is so inevitable, it’ll leave you screaming at the page.
#10 Chilling Adventures of Sabrina by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
We end this list with a classic: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina goes straight to the ghoulish and doesn’t rely entirely on the campiness of typical Archie comics. These witches are for real, with animal sacrifices and demon worship in tow. All that wrapped up in a coming-of-age story, and this classic swings from happy to hellish in a heartbeat.
That’s a wrap on our best-of list of horror comics. We love giving you all these recommendations and spotlighting a great genre, so give us a shout! Tell us what deserves to be on this list and what doesn’t, and until next time, keep the world spooky.