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Puzzle Box Winter Horror Guide

Winter is a wonderful time with falling snow, crackling fireplaces, and precious family moments. However, like all beautiful things, this season also has a dark side – and Puzzle Box Horror is bringing you the ultimate guide to winter horror seasonal scares. From real-world terrors like almost dying from frostbite to holiday folklore creatures that pull you into the depths of Hell, here are the top winter horror stories you need this season.

Movies

30 Days of Night 

Released: 2007

30 days of night winter horror movie poster

Before there was Twilight, there was 30 Days of Night… a truly brilliant horror film that tells the story of bloodsuckers, captivity, and bone-chilling terror in Alaska. The town of Barrow is preparing for the annual “30 Days of Night,” a period during the winter when there is a polar night for an entire month. Or in simpler terms, 24-hour a day darkness. As the community is snowed in and confined to their homes, a band of bloodthirsty vampires arrives and begins to pick off the townspeople one-by-one. With monstrous killers on the loose, and no communication to the outside world, the main characters must find a way to stay alive and overcome the darkness. Both literally and figuratively. If you’re a real vampire enthusiast with a side of winter horror obsession, this is the perfect film for you! Stream on Amazon here.

Krampus 

Released: 2015

Who doesn’t love a good holiday horror movie? Especially when it’s about a demonic creature from European folklore that guarantees you’ll sleep with one eye open on Christmas Eve. Krampus has everything you could typically expect from a Christmas film – a dysfunctional family, a blizzard snowing people in, a child doubting his holiday spirit – but instead of Santa, you have Krampus. This horned, demonic creature originates from German folklore, and descends each winter to punish those who have lost their Christmas spirit and drag them straight to Hell. Which seems a little harsh, if you ask us… but you’ll get a kick out of this winter comedy horror film that’s scarily good. Stream on Amazon here.

Frozen 

Released: 2010

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Sometimes your winter vacation can turn into a nightmare, and it definitely did for the three college students in Frozen. It’s a simple premise, but truly terrifying. One second, you’re in a chairlift getting ready to ski and snowboard at a high-end resort – and the next, you’re trapped in freezing cold temperatures 100 feet above the ground. When the three friends get stranded in the chairlift with no help in sight, they go to extreme measures to stay alive and avoid freezing to death. There’s no ghosts or demons, just three people fighting against nature to protect themselves from the woes of winter… and it’s incredibly frightening. Stream on Amazon here.

The Thing

Released: 1982

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When a group of researchers in Antarctica encounter “The Thing,” it’s not just the bitter cold that they need to protect themselves from. This alien orgasm is a parasite that can imitate people to perfection, giving them all paranoia that they can’t trust each other. And to be honest, they probably can’t. Like many winter horror films, this is a story of survival amongst both evil forces and the steep snow… and it’s simply chilling to watch. After you’ve finished watching the 1982 version of The Thing, you can also watch the 2011 remake that many horror fans believe is as brilliant as the original! Purchase the DVD here.

The Invisible Man

Released: 1933

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If you’re in the mood for a black-and-white holiday movie that’s a bit less cheery than It’s A Wonderful Life, this eerie winter horror film will definitely do the trick. As the name suggests, it tells the story of a man who checks into a hotel on a snowy night with this face fully wrapped in bandages and topped off with goggles. After a series of events, it’s uncovered that this man has discovered the science of invisibility, and he’s even more dangerous than you think. An invisible man who can sneak up on his victims before their brutal murders, in the middle of the snowy winter? What could possibly go wrong? Stream on Amazon here.

Books

The Shining

Author: Steven King

Published: 1977

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The Shining isn’t just one of the best haunted books of all time, it’s also a winter horror masterpiece. While it’s the supernatural forces that cause Jack Torrance to lose himself and become a danger to himself and his family – it’s safe to say that any of us would go crazy after being trapped in a haunted hotel during a winter snowstorm. Jack begins working there as a caretaker as he recovers from alcoholism, and his inner demons combined with actual evil spirits begin to take over his body. As the snow falls around this Colorado hotel, he goes on a quest to kill his son Danny (who posseses psychic powers called “the shining”), wife Wendy, and anybody else who stands in his way. Even if you’ve seen the cult favorite 1980 film starring Jack Nicholson, this Steven King novel is a classic that you should definitely read from your creepy hotel room. Available on Amazon here.

The Winter People 

Author: Jennifer McMahon

Published: 2014

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Living “off the grid” in a Vermont farmhouse to survive the winter cold may seem like a dream at first. Netflix, blankets, and hot cocoa… oh my! But things take a turn when 19-year-old Ruthie moves into the home with her mother and sister, only for her mother to mysteriously vanish one day. Trapped in the middle of nowhere with no answers, she uncovers an old diary that pulls her into a town mystery that may or may not decide her mother’s fate. Along with provide answers for the other townspeople who have disappeared throughout the decades. Available on Amazon here.

Ghost Story

Author: Peter Straub

Published: 1971

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You know you’ve written a killer book when even Stephen King compliments it. The famed horror author has nothing but great things to say about Ghost Story, as does Puzzle Box Horror. It tells the tale of four old men who gather around one winter night to tell the many stories of their past. Some are simple, others are frightening, but there’s one that’s purely horrifying. A terrible mistake that shows that your past can always come back to haunt you, and no sin is truly forgiven. Available on Amazon here.

Snowblind

Author: Christopher Golden

Published: 2014

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The snow is the true villain in this novel by Christopher Golden, as the town of Coventry still struggles to recover from a devastating blizzard that happened over a decade ago. And it wasn’t just your typical natural disaster. Many people died, others mysteriously vanished, and strange things began to happen as icy figures danced in the snow and gazed inside children’s windows. With another blizzard set to hit the town, the people of Coventry must put away their painful memories and prepare to save themselves from the supernatural forces of the snow. Available on Amazon here.

Misery

Author: Stephen King

Published: 1987

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Snow and Stephan King novels are always a scarily good combination, and Misery is no exception. When acclaimed author Paul Sheldon gets caught in a snowstorm and crashes his car, he awakens to find that he has been captured by Annie Wilkes, a superfan of his work who will go to great lengths to get her definition of a happy ending. This includes holding him hostage, manipulating him by withholding food and painkillers, and even cutting off his foot. It becomes clear that Annie is unstable and Paul’s life is in danger, and he must escape her before his own life story comes to an end. This novel was also made into a highly successful movie starring James Caan and Kathy Bates! Available on Amazon here.

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Best Of Featured Horror Books

Puzzle Box’s Best of Cosmic Horror Comics

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 horror comic cover

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. Available on Amazon here.

Southern Cross by Becky Cloonan and Andy Belager

Souther cross horror comic cover

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. Available on Amazon here.

Sentient by Jeff Lemire and Gabriel Walta

Sentient horror comic cover

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. Available on Amazon here.

Void by Herik Hanna and Sean Phillips

Void horror comic cover

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. Available on Amazon here.

Caliban by Garth Ennis and Facundo Percio

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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. Available on Amazon here.

Aliens by Dark Horse Comics

Aliens horror comic cover

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.

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

Puzzle Box’s Best of Gothic Horror Comics and Graphic Novels

We’ve covered a lot of different genres here at Puzzle Box, and it’s been a blast giving you guys recommendations and sharing our favorite comic book and graphic novel stories. 

This Best Of is a classic subgenre, and perhaps one of the most defining subgenres of horror: Gothic Horror. This dark extension of Romanticism produced classics like Dracula and Frankenstein, as well as Edgar Allen Poe’s signature masterpieces. These dark, haunting tales are deeply personal and, at times, disturbing. The comics and graphic novels in our Best of Gothic Horror bring the darkness of our minds onto the page, with terrifying effect. 

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Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Anya, a Russian immigrant, is struggling to fit in at her private school in New England. One day, she falls into a dry well and finds a human skeleton at the bottom. The skeleton’s ghost Emily appears and starts to help Anya at school. But as their relationship grows, Emily’s amiable nature belies a darker past and a sinister truth. This may not be the Ring, but still, dead girls in wells don’t turn out to be friendly.

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Gotham by Gaslight by Brian Augustyn and Mike Mignola

Part of D.C.’s Elseworlds series, this graphic novel finds Bruce Wayne transposed into 1889. Following a long missive with Dr. Sigmeund Freud, Bruce Wayne dons the cowl as a series of murders grips Gotham. What follows is a long trail of conspiracy involving the Wayne family and Jack the Ripper, with the terror closer to the Batman than he would have imagined. 

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From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell

The story of Jack the Ripper is as terrifying as it is gruesome, and From Hell is the second story based on the serial killer to make the list. The darkness surrounding the terrible murders allows writers and artists to weave so many narratives into the legendary figure. Alan Moore is another one of those brilliant minds to use the mystery of Jack the Ripper to reveal a darker reality, while portraying Jack in very twisted, yet human, terms.

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Hellblazer by D.C. Comics

John Constantine, the hellblazer, is a D.C. anti-hero who embodies the idea of the occult bad boy. A world-class cynic and working-class warlock, Constantine’s dark societal themes mix perfectly with the demons he tracks down and cults he takes down. Constantine’s stories, both mythical and earthly, are a strong representative of modern American gothic storytelling. 

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Gloomcookie by Serena Valentino

Gothic horror can certainly lend itself to campiness, and Gloomcookie is no exception. Gloomcookie is about a goth girl named Lex, a more than willing participant in goth culture, and the mundane and supernatural encounters in her life. Featuring star-crossed lovers, Reality Warpers, and demon worship, Gloomcookie will take you back to the best part of your weird years.  

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The Crow by James O’Barr

This dark superhero comic is tragic and disturbing, and takes the emotional weight of gothic horror to a pretty dark place. Our protagonist, Eric, is dead, and so is his fiancee. A crow revives him and acts as a guide to help him take his revenge. Eric and the Crow’s relationship is complex, especially as Eric wallows in his own pain and suffering. Edgar Allen Poe’s poem, The Raven, is infused throughout the story, making this a great comic for gothic horror fans. 

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Dracula by Jason Cobley and Bram Stoker

The classic vampire is incredibly adapted by Jason Cobley and illustrated by Staz Johnson and James Offredi. A foundational piece of gothic horror as well as horror at large, the blood-sucking creature of the night, inspired by Vlad the Impaler, attempts to move from Transylvania to England, with Van Helsing standing in his way. Dracula is one of the most well-known stories in horror and this graphic novel does it justice.

That’s a wrap on our Best of Gothic Horror comics! This is probably my favorite horror subgenre, with its emotional weight making the twists and turns all the darker. A lot of our favorite tropes and classic works come from gothic horror too, so this subgenre plays a role in more kinds of horror than you may realize. Make sure you represent your favorite gothic horror in the comments below. Your favorite comics could make the list. Thanks for reading!

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

Puzzle Box’s Best of Horror Comics

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, comics have only gotten better and better at giving readers those incredible, bone-chilling moments.Those are the moments we live for as horror enthusiasts, and these are the best comics that really bring the screams.

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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. Available on Amazon here.

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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. Available on Amazon here.

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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. Available on Amazon here.

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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? Available on Amazon here.

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Hillbilly by Eric Powell

Pastoral literature has a history of using the imagery of the countryside to create a stunning and magical world, almost entirely separate from the city to busy and absorbed in its own mass. We can use that same magic to draft isolation and brew eye-twitching terror, no? That’s what Eric Powell does in Hillbilly, transforming Appalachia into a dark, unsleeping wilderness, with nightmarish whimsy and a mythology that grows with every installment. Available on Amazon here.

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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. Available on Amazon here.

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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. Available on Amazon here.

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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. Available on Amazon here.

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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. Available on Amazon here.

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The Hound and Other Stories by H.P. Lovecraft and Gou Tanabe

We end this list with a classic: H.P. Lovecraft’s The Hound and Other Stories are faithfully rendered by Gou Tanabe, who provides stunning visuals to the stories that pioneered the horror genre. This comic is closer to reiteration than homage, which highlights Lovecraft’s use and appreciation of a slow, building fear and paranoia, as opposed to the sheer terror of his mythical Elder Gods. Available on Amazon here.

Thanks for reading our best horror comics list! We love giving you guys these recommendations and spotlighting a great genre. Don’t hesitate to give us a shout either! Tell us what deserves to be on this list and what doesn’t, and until next time, keep it spooky. 

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

Puzzle Box’s Best of Horror Graphic Novels

Welcome to Puzzle Box Horror’s Best of Horror Graphic Novels. We love all forms of horror here at Puzzle Box, and graphic novels have seen some incredible stories and artwork emerge and come to define horror in the same ways that iconic movies and shows have in the past. In honor of that level of terror, we’ve compiled this list of our best horror graphic novels, where terrifying is an understatement. 

Sandman by Neil Gaiman

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Supernatural and suspenseful, Sandman is the story of Morpheus, the god of Dreams. He escapes an occult ritual and goes on a journey for vengeance. Readers are introduced to Morpheus’s kingdom, the Dreaming, that fell into despair during his imprisonment, and his brethren, the Endless. Sandman’s initial cruelty makes for thrilling moments and as his character grows, so does the darkness around him. With an electric plot, Sandman keeps the pages turning and gives you a good excuse to leave the lights on. Available on Amazon here.

Adamtine by Hannah Berry

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A master take on a classic figure, Berry’s story starts with a simple premise: an accused serial killer delivers notes from “a bogeyman. A monster.” He disappears, and the plot expands and entrances in complexity, only to unfold with astounding, and terrifying clarity. Four strangers on the late train home, whose pasts hold the key to the mystery, are forced to confront the very same terror.  Full of hidden images, cover to cover, it not only terrifies, but it demands a reread. Available on Amazon here.

Locke & Key by Joe Hill

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Keyhouse, the haunted house on the hill, is the New England home of the Lockes. Nina Locke, the widow of Rendell Locke, moves her family to the Locke ancestral seat following his death. The family, overcome by grief, fails to see the forest for the trees, but the secrets of Keyhouse–and the creature lurking inside–are slowly revealed. What ensues is a combination of real terror and psychological terror for the Lockes, who must learn to survive in the darkness surrounding them. Available on Amazon here.

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Gyo by Junji Ito

Junji Ito is a prolific author, and his work probably deserves an article on it’s own. It only makes sense another one of his works should be on this list. Ito always blends comedy into his horror, and Gyo is definitely one of the prime examples of that. What starts with mechanical-legged fish with an extreme stench coming from the ocean, leads to a population infected by the same mechanical virus and a world on fire. With the subtitle ‘The Death Stench Creeps,” Ito’s manga is true to the course, subverting expectations and using them to take us to a terrifying end. Available on Amazon here.

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Wytches by Scott Snyder

These aren’t the wytches you’re used to. The citizens of Litchfield, New Hampshire, sacrifice people to these ancient forest-dwellers for favors and boons. That’s bad news for the Rooks, the new family in town, who are running from their own family trauma. Rumors in their old home drove them away, and followed them to Litchfield. This ostracizes their daughter, Sailor, the first to learn about the town’s dark secret. This interesting and ravenous take on witches transports readers to the haunting chill of the New England night, the birthplace of American horror. Available on Amazon here.

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Infidel by Pornsak Pichetshote, Aaron Campbell, and Jose Villarrubia

With a topic that feels very current, Aisha, a Muslim-American woman, struggles to deal with xenophobia from her new neighbors, and even from her mother-in-law. What this graphic novel does is take that xenophobia and personifies it in truly horrifying forms that Aisha is prey to as she learns more about her housing complex’s past. Available on Amazon here.

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Clean Room by Gail Simone, Jon Davis-Hunt, and Quinton Winter

Reporter Chloe Pierce’s fiance commits suicide after devoting himself to the teachings of a self-help book. The self-help book’s author has created a cult that has incredible influence. Chloe’s reporting instincts and her quest for answers drive her to learn the truth, even if she has to infiltrate the Clean Room, the cult’s headquarters. What she finds is worse than she, or you, could have ever imagined. Available on Amazon here.

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Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Behind You is an anthology of five short horror stories, full of ghosts, awful morality, haunted houses, and beautiful art. Each story is grounded in the dark fairy tale motif, as creatures of the night, humans included, emerge with thrilling and terrifying consequences. The two standout stories are “His Face All Red” and “The Nestling Place,” but all of the stories deserve to be read, in dark sleepless nights or midday–with a light on. Available on Amazon here.

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The Dregs by Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler

Art with a cause is my kind of art, and The Dregs does that by flipping the slogan “Eat the Rich” into a stunning graphic novel, both visually and fictionally. Set in a gentrified Vancouver neighborhood, Arnold, our homeless protagonist, is struggling to survive with his friend Manny, until Manny goes missing. In his search, Arnold uncovers truths both disturbing and dreadful, with resounding parallels to the plight of homelessness today. Available on Amazon here.

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Aliens: Salvation by Mike Mignola

Mike Mignola adds another incredible chapter to the Aliens franchise, with the Xenomorphs terrorizing another set of space explorers. As if the Xenomorphs aren’t terrifying enough, Mignola uses religious symbols to amp up the creeping paranoia the Nova Maru crew experience as they realize their cargo is hunting them, with chilling effect. Available on Amazon here.

And that’s a wrap! Our favorite horror graphic novels take us to the razor’s edge, and everyone’s edge is different. Let us know what stories keep the lights on in your bedroom in the comments below, and you could see it featured in our next updated list. Until next time, thanks for reading!