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

Best of Avant Garde Horror Comics

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. 

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

Best of Supernatural Horror Comics

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.