10 Horror Comics That Will Keep You Up At Night

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Best Of Best of Comics Comics and Graphic Novels Featured Horror Books

You’ve watched everything on Shudder. You’ve read every book Stephen King ever wrote. You’ve even seen every episode of Hulu’s Into the Dark. So now where can a horror lover get their next scare? Maybe horror comics are the answer you’ve been looking for?

Fortunately, comic book creators have been flocking to horror over the past few years. Like their superhero brethren, horror comics can offer mind-twisting visuals that other media can’t quite provide. By mixing words and images, comics involve readers’ imaginations while using pictures to push their minds into places they would never go on their own. 

With the expansion of third-party publishers like Aftershock Comics and with indie mainstays like Image moving away from cape books, writers and artists have many places to let their creativity run to the dark side. So if you’d like to get some four-color fear, here are ten recent horror comics that will keep you up at night. 

Infidel comic book scary horror comic art
Infidel Vol. 1. Art by Aaron Campbell, colors by José Villarrubia, Letters by Jeff Powell

Horror has always been an ideal genre for addressing social ills such as racism. But writer Pornsak Pichetshote takes it to the next level in his comic Infidel, drawn by artist Aaron Campbell. The tale of Aisha and Medina, two Muslim women of color and longtime friends living in an apartment building that recently housed a suspected terrorist, Infidel is a ghost story about the ghosts that still haunt America. Pichetshote grounds his characters with believable dialogue (even as they discuss heavy issues), and Campbell’s frantic linework creates figures who are both recognizably human and relatably flawed. But when covered with José Villarrubia’s unsettling colors and designer Jeff Powell’s inventive lettering, the human and the supernatural collide to make a terrifying, but ultimately compassionate, piece of fiction. 

Gideon Falls, Vol. 1 comic art
Gideon Falls, Vol. 1. Art by Andrea Sorrentino, colors by Dave Stewart, letters and design by Steve Wands

Too often, “Cosmic Horror” brings to mind only images of Cthulhu rising from the deep or unknowable aliens arriving from space. But in their series Gideon Falls, writer Jeff Lemire, artist Andrea Sorrentino, and colorist Dave Stewart add a new menacing figure to the sub-genre: the Black Barn. Over 21 issues, Gideon Falls unravels the mystery of the Black Barn, a haunted building that appears to those going mad, including the series’ protagonists, a struggling priest and a life-long mental patient. Sorrentino and Stewart create some of the most unique and disturbing visuals in horror of any medium, including a fantastic cubic double-helix that brings together two characters in different times and places. It’s the kind of thing one can only see in a comic book, a rare example of ineffable horror. 

Maniac of New York #1 comic art
Maniac of New York #1. Art by Andrea Mutti and letters by Taylor Esposito.

As a head writer for The Daily Show and Mystery Science Theater 3000, Elliott Kalan has made the very serious look very ridiculous. But Kalan does the opposite with Maniac of New York, offering a grimly realistic take on silly slashers like Friday the 13th Part VII: Jason Takes Manhattan. In Maniac of New York, Kalan and artist Andrea Mutti follow the municipal response to a seemingly unstoppable masked killer. By focusing on the mundane parts of a fantastical story, Kalan and Mutti heighten the horror in the established slasher genre, showing how people “just doing their jobs” can be the only thing between a normal life in New York and a grisly death. 

Something is Killing the Children vol. 1 comic horror art
Something is Killing the Children vol. 1. Illustrations by Werther Dell’edera, colors by Miquel Muerto, and letters by Andworld Design.

When it comes to dead children in horror, it’s hard to top Stephen King or Guillermo Del Toro. But James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera come close with their Eisner-nominated series Something is Killing the Children. When the children of Archer’s Peak begin to go missing, a mysterious drifter named Erica Slaughter arrives to help. Dell’Edera is never precious about depicting young children being ripped apart by an insect-like monster, and colorist Miquel Muerto heightens the drama by washing the creatures in sickly greens and blues. But Tynion finds plenty of spaces for believable emotions and actual humor to enrich the characters, never falling back on “Man with No Name” stereotypes when writing monster hunter Slaughter. 

The Low, Low Woods #1 comic horror art
The Low, Low Woods #1. Art by Dani, colors by Tamra Bonvillain, letters by Steve Wands

For years, DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint was the premier home for horror comics, producing landmark Sandman and Hellblazer runs. But even though DC shuttered Vertigo in 2020, its spirit remains alive in the Hill House imprint, curated by author Joe Hill. For his first run, Hill scored a coup by recruiting Nebula Award-winning writer Carmen Maria Machado for The Low, Low Woods, drawn by Dani and colored by Tamra Bonvillain, with letters by Steve Wands. Set in the richly realized mining town of Shudder-to-Think, Pennsylvania, The Low, Low Woods tells a horrifying story of systemic misogyny and the cruelties of capitalism from the perspective of teen girls El and Octavia. Dani’s scratchy artwork recalls the linework of Vertigo in its prime, powerfully rendering women with sinkholes in their bodies and skinless men. But it’s the believable motivations of the city’s men that make The Low, Low Woodstruly terrifying. 

The Immortal Hulk #36 comic horror art
The Immortal Hulk #36. Pencils by Joe Bennett, Inks by Roy José, letters by Cory Petit.

While Vertigo may have established DC as horror’s home with the Big Two publishers, it’s important to remember that Marvel was in the monster business before it did superheroes. In fact, many of the first Marvel heroes, including Spider-Man and the Thing, were originally designed to be monsters. That’s particularly true of the Hulk, who was a Jekyll and Hyde riff who became a monster at night. Writer Al Ewing brought that element back for The Immortal Hulk, an environmental allegory that ties the gamma energy that transformed Bruce Banner into the Hulk to Satan and Hell. Artist Joe Bennett and inker Ruy José draw from Rob Bottin’s effects on John Carpenter’s The Thing to make Banner’s transformations feel painful and visceral. Combined with Paul Mounts’s other-worldly colors, The Immortal Hulk successfully mixes body horror with supernatural terror to create one of the scariest comics currently running. 

Billions Alone horror comic art
“Billions Alone.” Art by Junji Ito

Unsurprisingly, master horror mangaka Junji Ito goes to some pretty weird places in his collection Venus in the Blind Spot, including stories about a man hiding in an easy chair and body-shaped holes in caves. But the collection’s most chilling story is its first one, “Billions Alone.” Just as young agoraphobe Michio finally decides to enter the world again, he must deal with a killer who’s sewing people together. What begins with a lone joined couple quickly spreads to larger and larger groups, giving Ito a reason to draw disturbing tableaux of bodies joined together. But this grisly conceit serves to explore themes of loneliness and a fear of groups, a concept that hits that much harder during a pandemic. 

Stillwater vol. 1 comic horror art
Stillwater vol. 1. Art by Ramón K. Perez, colors by Mike Spicer, and letters by Rus Wooton.

First, I need to make this clear. The most terrifying thing Chip Zdarsky ever wrote was this one-panel Frog-Man bit in Original Sins #5. But Stillwater comes pretty close. Co-created and drawn by Ramón K. Perez, with colors by Mike Spicer and letters from Rus Wooton, Stillwater takes place in a town where no one can die. While that sounds good, the town’s strange ability means that no one can age, including children, which drives a desperate mother to sneak her toddler son Thomas out of Stillwater. But when circumstances bring a now-grown Thomas back to the town he no longer remembers, tensions and Stillwater grow between those who long for outside contact and the fascist Judge who wants to keep them hidden from the world. While that synopsis makes for good thriller material, Zdarsky and Perez take the story to some genuinely disturbing places, including characters being buried in the ground for weeks on end or living through a bomb explosion. 

Daphne Byrne #2 horror comic art
Daphne Byrne #2. Art by Kelly Jones, colors by Michelle Madsen, letters by Rob Leigh.

The other standout in Hill House Comics’ inaugural batch is the Victorian ghost story Daphne Byrne, written by Laura Marks and drawn by horror legend Kelly Jones. Daphne Byrne follows the adolescent title character after her father’s death in Victorian England. While her mother’s loneliness drives her to a disreputable medium, who has darker plans for the Byrne family, Daphne is visited by a dark young man who promises the girl companionship and power. In the classic Victorian style, Daphne Byrne blurs the lines between fantasy and reality. But instead of only asking us to question Daphne, Marks and Jones make everyone into an unreliable narrator of their own stories, from the man suddenly wooing Daphne’s mother to the elderly rationalist who offers his help. 

Razorblades: The Horror Magazine #3 horror art
Razorblades: The Horror Magazine #3, Cover by David Romero

In addition to writing some of the best recent horror comics (including Something is Killing the Children!), James Tynion IV has teamed with writer Steve Foxe to bring back the anthology comic with Razorblades: The Horror Magazine. In its first three issues, Razorblades has already featured some truly memorable stories, but my favorite so far is “Strands,” by Jess Unkel and Jenn St-Onge. St-Onge’s vibrant linework and innocent figures belie a chilling story about a widower who notices bits of her late husband’s hair still lingering in her home. Both a sweet story about missing a loved one and a genuinely haunting tale, “Strands” builds to a satisfyingly shocking ending. 

Best of Avant Garde Horror Comics

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Best Of Best of Comics Comics and Graphic Novels Featured Horror Books

Let’s get weird! Horror is one of the most exciting genres out there. The sheer terror of the unknown and experiencing the fear of death in it’s many shapes with our favorite characters is something unique to horror. However, the moments when something is so far from our expectations or completely mind-bending, it can make a deeper imprint than the jump scares we’ve come to know and love. For those moments, we look to the avant garde horror genre.

Avant Garde, with a history rooted in challenging social norms, is art that pushes the boundary and stands at the forefront of what art can be capable of. Today, it’s much less associated with social change but is still known for its existence as an experimental and bold expression of art. This radical art form, combined with horror, can build adrenaline spikes in ways other subgenres can’t. In honor of that mind-bending style, here is our list of graphic novels and comics that bring the Best of Avant Garde Horror to life.

zumak comic book cover

Uzumaki by Junji Ito

I love everything about this avant garde horror comic. It’s black and white. It’s has that signature japanese style. It also is focused around the Uzumaki, or spiral, symbol that has cursed this coastal Japanese town. But it isn’t like the Ring, where you’re haunted by this undead girl. I would tell you what it is really like, but that would be a spoiler. This is a must-read, and you don’t know where or how far this is going to go. 

Ghost and Ruins comic cover

Ghosts and Ruins

Some artists fit very neatly into what we expect from our comics, and they work very well. Sometimes, they go for something a bit different, and today is all about different. Ben Catmull ditches the panels and text bubbles, laying out his stories in full page illustrations. With bits of background and flavor text to accompany each of the 13 stills, its amazing what our imaginations can do with such a minimalist and maximalist approach to horror. 

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Sleep of Reason

This anthology from Iron Circus Comics features some pretty warped illustrations, and some of it reminds me of Midnight Gospel’s creative use of color and form. This collection of avant garde horror also avoids a lot of the typical tropes of horror and instead creates that creeping sense of unease that we are always unable to ignore.

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Understanding Monster by Theo Ellsworth

This graphic novel may not exist exclusively in the avant garde horror genre, but I’m not sure it exists in any genre. The protagonist of the story finds his spirit trapped in a mouse, while his skeleton wanders around aimlessly. He’s aided by misfit toys and another spirit, this one trapped in a fly. The antagonists are equally diverse and include the Devil, a mummified pharaoh, and “The Mean Kids in the Wall.” They all exist in “negative time.” It’s weird. We like it. 

Bodyworld Avant Garde horror comic cover

Bodyworld by Dash Shaw

This web avant garde horror comic by Dash Shaw was compiled and revised into a graphic novel, and they both will blow you away. Our protagonist, Paulie Panther, is a deranged botanist who’s the kind of creep that imagines himself a romantic. His current obsession is a psychedelic drug that grows at the outskirts of the Boney Borough High School. It lets you feel what other people feel, and when smoked together, you can feel the other person feeling their feelings felt by your feelings. Get it? It’s a mind-warping story set in 2060, a post-apocalyptic civil war future, that dives further and further into a dark fantasy. 

I feel Sick avant garde comic book cover

I Feel Sick by Jhonen Vasquez

This Jhonen Vasquez comic is a spin-off of his previous work, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. The unhinged approach is still very much alive in I Feel Sick, whose protagonist, Devi D., learns about the destructive psychological and supernatural influences that drove Johnny insane. The acid trip starts on page one, with Devi ripping up a painting, only to find intact a few panels later, and doesn’t end until everyone is entirely unhinged.

It’s hard to number these or rank them in any particular order. The stories are so engaging and the art so wildly entrancing, I think there’s something for everyone’s kind of strange in this list. We update these lists every now and again, so if you think your kind of strange is missing from this list, let us know in the comments below. Keep Puzzle Box weird, guys! Thanks for reading. 

Best of Supernatural Horror Comics

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Best Of Best of Comics Comics and Graphic Novels Featured Horror Books

The supernatural holds a strong place in the societal psyche. There aren’t many subjects that are as alluring in terms of the unknown and the extraordinary and also as terrifying. Searching for and approaching the supernatural is exhilarating, but finding it and seeing it is risky business. It’s enticing, spine-tingling, hair-raising, and if you’re reading this, it’s impossible to look away. What better to enjoy the best supernatural horror than in a comic book format?

Witches – check, demons – got em, ghosts – of course. This list of incredible supernatural horror comics demand to be read, and are the greatest reward to those that burn the midnight oil. 

Gideon Falls by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorentino

Gideon Falls Supernatural Horror Comic Cover

Norton Sinclair, a recluse with interesting dumpster theories, and Father Fred, a pastor in Gideon Falls, have otherworldly visions of “the Black Barn.” Each of our leading men has their own riddles to crack, from clues hidden in city litter to sinister small town mysteries, but they both lead them to Gideon Fall’s central omen: the Black Barn, and the trip-fest inside breathe new meaning to ideas of “otherworldly doom.” Definitely one of the best supernatural horror comics out there.

Girl From the Other Side by Nagabe

Girl From the Other Side supernatural horror comic

“The God of Light took everything away from the God of Darkness, changing him into the shape of a hideous monster.” Well, I was hooked. Turns out, victors are not always fair, and the God of Light is no exception. This story follows Shiva, the only human in the Outside, the land of the God of Darkness. She is accompanied by her Teacher and lives among the Outsiders, commanded never to touch Shiva by the Teacher, lest they corrupt her. The mysteries of the Outside and it’s cursed denizens are numerous and devilish, and I loved every bit of it. 

Exorsisters by Ian Boothby and Gisèle Lagacé

Exorsisters Supernatural Horror Comic Cover

These sacred sisters are great for exorcisms on a budget. Coming-of-age stories are great pretenses for horror, and the Harrow sisters grow up averting the end of the world, defeating demon-obsessed boyfriends, and dealing with their mom. The Veronica Mars vibes are pretty high, with a bit of Charmed mixed in. Need I say more?

Redlands by Jordie Bellaire & Vanesa R. Del Rey

Redlands Supernatural Horror Comic Cover

Southern gothic and Southern horror are powerful. I’ve lived in the South for years now, and it has always struck me how it feels like the physical terrain holds the scars of the past, today. Redlands is another incarnation of this great American tradition, starring a coven of witches in a foggy Florida town and the citizens they subjugate. And when those citizens want to make a change, the supernatural exploits in Redlands, Florida, only get worse. 

BPRD by Mike Mignola

BPRD Supernatural Horror Comic Cover

Demon frogs, demon detectives, and the CIA paint the pages of BPRD, the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. Mike Mignola’s expanded universe takes place after Hellboy leaves the BPRD, who still have to stop the End of the World as We Know It. Success becomes a very relative term as the story progresses, and the frogs become the least of their problems. Mike Mignola’s universe barely gives our heroes any breaks, and when it does–wait, does it ever?

Harrow County by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook

Harrow County Supernatural Horror Comic Cover

What started as Countless Haints on Cullen Bunn’s website became Harrow County, a supernatural fairy tale told in a southern gothic style to hainting success. Emmy, a peaceful country girl, starts to hear things in the woods; monsters, ghosts, and shadows, speaking to her like old friends. An old oak tree at the edge of the farm calls out in her dreams, and a witch’s curse may come true, or so it seems. 

Fatale by Deon Taylor

Fatale Supernatural Horror Comic Cover

Femme fatale’s are classic, badass, and electric protagonists. Fatale’s femme du jour is Josephine, an enchantress from the 1930s, alive in the present day, enchanting as ever. Interestingly, this attraction doesn’t always go in her favor, and the men around her typically pay the price. Struggling with her “gift” and battling a cult obsessed with her seeming-immortality are all in a days work for Jo, and her escapades keep her world, and our heads, spinning. 

Rachel Rising by Terry Moore

Rachel Rising Supernatural Horror Comic Cover

The trick to a good murder is making sure the dead stay dead. Rachel Beck has other plans. After waking in a shallow grave, apparently strangled, and with no memory of her death, she begins trying to solve her attempted murder. What she finds is witchcraft and demons, hellbent on destroying her town. Demons and the undead typically mean one thing: the end is near. 

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina by Robert Aguirre-Sacasa

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Horror Comic Cover

This teenage witch may seem familiar, and so too do the names and faces, but the stakes are more than a bit higher, and the spells much darker. Sabrina Spellman’s coming-of-age story collides with catty witches, dead parents, and satanic rituals. Such is the life of any half-witch high schooler. 

Nocturnals by Dan Brereton

Nocturnals Supernatural horror comic cover

The Nocturnals is a great of example of an ensemble supernatural comic, written and illustrated by Dan Brereton and published by Dark Horse Comics. We start with Doc Horror, the patriarch of the patchwork Horror family, a gang of supernatural outcasts, with extraordinary abilities. Our protagonists fight against supernatural enemies as well as corrupt corporations in a fictional California city, Pacific City. Here, we love horror, we love the supernatural, and we love ensembles. Nocturnals does it all.

These are my personal Tales of the Crypt, ladies and gentleman. These are the best supernatural horror comics I have read yet. They’ve kept me up at night–reading and otherwise. I love to hear from you all, so please comment and tell us where we screwed up or uncover that hidden gem only you have discovered. Discourse is the foundation of democracy, and the difference between seventh and eighth is a big deal, okay?! If you like supernatural horror comics you will also love cosmic horror comics.

Blue in Green – Music, Secrets and Ghosts

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It is well documented that music can have an almost otherworldly hold over us; lowering stress hormones, raising dopamine levels, evoking specific memories, or transporting us to various times and places. But if music has this sort of cosmic power, could it possibly turn into a type of cosmic horror? For example, could a malevolent force created from art stalk us with intent to harm, as in the film Velvet Buzzsaw? Or could the bewitching and obsessive pursuit of art make monsters out of regular people, like what happens in the film Whiplash? Or maybe, as we see in the graphic novel Blue in Green, the terrifying reality lies somewhere in between. 

The story begins with a man named Erik getting a call that his mother has passed, prompting him to return to his childhood home, where he finds a photograph of an unknown man in his mother’s most prized possessions. The ensuing questions launch Erik on a quest that will lead him down some unexpected paths. Who was that man? What was his mother’s connection to him? And who exactly is the pale figure lurking in the periphery of the pages? More clues are uncovered and the mystery deepens as the story twists and turns, winding its way to an ultimately shocking conclusion.

Erik is a character struggling with his current situation in life. A talented saxophone player, he now squanders his skill teaching college classes and avoiding any close relationships. He ponders the fragility of life and wonders how many of us will leave this world without making an impact. His own desires, his failings, the expectations of family and society – all of these topics are the swirling subconscious maelstrom that push the story forward and pull back the curtain to its darker underpinnings. 

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Image from Blue and Green Graphic novel featuring a scared face and a tentacle

And this story certainly has a sinister underbelly. I love stories like this, full of dread, ambiguity, and uncertainty. From the very first image of the pale man you know something is off, but the terror stays in the background for much of the story, adding to the mystery and unraveling the deeper Erik digs. It’s still horror, but more of the understated, slithering-beneath-the-skin kind, which makes those moments when it bursts into daylight even more terrifying. I’ll be honest, I don’t want to say too much about the plot. Not just because I don’t want to give away spoilers, but because this is truly a tale that needs to be experienced.

While the story from writer Ram V is good, the art from Anand RK is really what makes this graphic novel shine. I don’t think I’ve seen a style quite like this, and I was continuously blown away with every page. It’s a mesmerizing blend of architectural precision, vaguely brushed forms, and a particularly gorgeous and enchanting array of colors thanks to John Pearson. The unconventional design of the pages is also really neat, shifting from full page spreads to pages with panels strewn about it like panes of glass. It reminds me of Dave McKean’s work, specifically on the Grant Morrison tale Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth (and now that I think of it the pale man shares a resemblance to the Joker). Regardless, the art is captivating and it works well to elevate the story. 

The Blue in Green graphic novel is a story first and foremost about music and the creative pursuit. But it also weaves in ideas about the burdens of the past and the ghosts that haunt our present. It’s about family secrets, loss, rapture, unexplainable feelings, and cosmic dread. We are confined to the mind of Erik, and as the story progresses we have to question how reliable of a narrator he really is. I may not have understood everything that happened, but I know it was well worth the experience. This is a story that is ripe for further read throughs and I’m already itching to dive back in.

Blue in Green is available now from Image Comics.

Book Recommendation – Black Stars Above

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Best Of Best of Comics Comics and Graphic Novels Featured Horror Books Reviews

Puzzle Box Horror’s book recommendation of the week is Black Stars Above from Nightfall, an imprint of Vault Comics.

Black Stars Above is written by Lonnie Nadler, illustrated by Jenna Cha, colored by Brad Simpson, and lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou.

Panel from Black Stars Above comic with alien creature

Synopsis

LET THE BLACK STARS GUIDE YOUR WAY.

The year is 1887 and a storm brews. Eulalie Dubois has spent her entire life tending to her family’s trapline, isolated from the world. A chance at freedom comes in the form of a parcel that needs delivering to a nameless town north of the wilderness. Little does Eulalie know, something sinister hides in those woods and it yearns for what she carries. A chilling historical cosmic horror tale of survival from the deranged minds of Lonnie Nadler (The Dregs, Marvelous X-Men) and debut artist Jenna Cha.

Collects the complete five issue series. 152 pages.

Review

“A sterling example of elevated horror in comics.”

Newsarama

“An exemplary creative work that shows the heights a work can reach when creators pay respect to the work that inspired them.”

AiPT

“Sublime literary horror that channels the best of weird fiction. If you’re looking for something that expands on the work of Lovecraft – look no further. Fans of Alan Moore will eat this up. Beautiful, stunning, and haunting work by Cha throughout. Easily the best horror comic of the year.”

Zac Thompson, author of Come Into Me and I Breathed a Body

“I love the way the story is told and the strong cosmic horror elements. The format of narration-through-journal-entries gives it the feel of an old school text-based horror game. There are so many bizarre and unsettling scenes, plus a constant layer of dread blanketing the tale like snow. It’s a massive metaphor about coming of age, going out on one’s own, and identity – and yet it’s also so much more. Highly recommend!”

Ben Long, reviewer at @reading.vicariously

To read the full review, click here!

Black Stars Above is available now at Horror Hub Marketplace