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

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

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. 

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.

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!

Puzzle Box’s Best of Horror Comics

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

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 Horror Hub 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 Horror Hub 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 Horror Hub 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 Horror Hub 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 Horror Hub 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. 

Rogue Planet Sci-Fi Horror Comic Review

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

In his seminal novel Dune, author Frank Herbert writes, “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer”. This idea, that fear steals and kills who we are, is taken to a terrifying new level in the space horror comic Rogue Planet (2020) where the fears of our main characters literally come to life and hunt them down in a strange alien landscape. Though the story shackles itself within its sci-fi horror conventions, if you’re a fan of the Alien franchise or H.P. Lovecraft then you will probably still have a good time with this one. 

Rogue planet horror comic cover
Rogue Planet Horror Comic Book Cover

In a faraway galaxy there is a “rogue” planet (i.e. one not bound to any planetary system or star) where aliens worship a grotesque and horrifying elder god. The comic wastes no time introducing us to some of its main elements, namely the towering fleshy monument of the god and the lengths the inhabitants will go through to appease its bloodlust. We see an alien father sacrifice his own son in front of the multi-eyed obelisk, which really helps set the dark and dangerous tone that runs throughout the story.

After this jarring opening we cut to the salvage ship Cortes, where the crew is just beginning to wake from hyper-sleep. They’ve found a distress signal and followed it to the unknown world, hoping to loot whatever treasures they may find. However, upon discovering a massive ship graveyard they begin to feel something is amiss. This uneasy feeling quickly turns to outright terror as they are attacked by a massive tentacled monster, and they spend the rest of the comic fighting for their lives against numerous bizarre and deadly enemies.

alien art from Rogue Planet horror comic
The god of Rogue Planet demands sacrifice

No spoilers here, but the Rogue Planet comic makes it clear pretty early on that none of the crew are safe from the planetary nightmares they face. While this ramps up the stakes and tension, it would have been even more effective if we cared more for our main characters. We do get scenes of expository banter that lend layers to their personas, but for the most part they remain static archetypes typical of the sci-fi horror genre. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, but it adds to the feeling of “been there, done that” that permeates the story. 

For a story about a ship following a distress signal to a hostile world, it plays out about like one would expect. The humans are placed in increasingly dangerous scenarios as the mysteries of the planet are slowly revealed. The aliens are all fairly nondescript, resembling a primitive tribe that has been intruded upon by foreigners. Following its cosmic horror roots the plot also dips into a baffling spirituality and mythos in its final act. True to the genre I was left wondering what I’d just read, but unfortunately it didn’t have the unnerving impact that the best in cosmic horror carries.

Where Rogue Planet really shines is in its unsettling imagery, abundant violence, and eye-catching artwork. The chaotic evil force is presented in various ways: there’s a gargantuan, veiny, many-mouthed worm (reminiscent of Junji Ito’s manga Remina), a host of hollowed out astronauts with streaming tentacles where their heads should be, and even a larger, bonier version of the facehugger from Alien. All iterations are unnerving, and all represent new levels of dread and mayhem for our misfortuned crew. These creatures are particularly creepy thanks to the bold illustrations from Andy Macdonald and the shimmering colors from Nick Filardi.

alien spacemen art from Rogue Planet horror comic
The horrors of Rogue Planet

In terms of sci-fi horror, Rogue Planet doesn’t break any new ground. But the comic also manages to elevate above being a completely awful rip-off. There’s enough here – between the intriguing concepts and provocative artwork – to keep readers engaged in the story, even when they’re confused or find themselves feeling déjà vu. Though previous entries in the genre have tackled the same concepts with better results, the creepy images and stellar coloring make this one still worth a read. Just lower your expectations and you’ll have fun with it.

Rogue Planet is available now from Oni Press.

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