Last year, I did one of these spooky comics lists to help y'all Halloween it up right. You can find that list HERE. But what about ten more? If you've already read all of the books I recommended, here are ten more to keep you spooked through the rest of the season. Plus, last time, I put my list up on Halloween, so this year I wanted to give you a bit more time.
Josephine is immortal.
She's also pursued by a Lovecraftian cult that wants her deader than Lovecraft himself. Fatale is her story, a series that can only be defined as Lovecraftian Noir. I know someone out there just squealed like a schoolgirl, and I did the same thing when I heard about Fatale. So I get it.
The series plays out over five volumes and 24 issues that are expertly crafted to the utmost degree. This is an Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips comic. With Dave Stewart coloring, no less. There are no bad ones. Hell, I'd say this is my least favorite of their collaborations, and it's still an amazing comic that you need to read. The weird gangster horror idea is just so cool and interesting that I can't help but fall deeply in love with it. It's so flipping good.
Pick up Volume One. You will not regret it.
9. Supernatural Law
(Exhibit A Press)
Not all of these are designed to frighten and terrify. Some are here to give you a charming read about ghouls, ghosts, and goblins!
This is Batton Lash’s humor book about Alanna Wolff and Jeff Byrd, two lawyers who specialize in helping out monsters and other supernatural creatures with their legal troubles. The book's tagline Beware the creatures of the night"¦they have lawyers! really says it all. The book is a lot more legal-literate than you're probably expecting after my explanation of the premise. Lash knows his stuff, and incorporates it well.
If you want to, you can actually read the retitled Supernatural Law on their website, as it’s been turned into a webcomic. Although I'd recommend just checking out the collections; you can easily get them from any discount bin or used book store.
What has Lash been up to recently, though?
(…Sees that Lash was recently working on an anti-Obama comic for Breitbart as recently as 2011…)
Oh s**t. Well. Oops. Misjudged this one, folks. Really wish I'd looked into him more BEFORE starting this entry.
Well, I mean, he did make a comic about people who willingly defend and protect monsters, so I really should've seen that coming.
8. Clean Room
Gail Simone is so flipping good.
And Clean Room is no exception. In the series, which is drawn by Jon Davis-Hunt, Astrid Mueller is a disposable horror writer who turns her mediocre genre fiction into a cult-like religion. Which is so outlandish, because there totally haven't been any especially lawsuit-happy pseudo religions spawned from crappy genre fiction authors in real life. *Cough cough*.
Anyhoozles, after losing her husband to the cult's machinations, reporter Chloe Pierce decides to investigate Astrid and dismantle her cult. But what if the weird demons and interdimensional beings Astrid preaches about to her followers AREN'T made up? What if they're real? And really dangerous? Really, really dangerous. Oh, but just because Astrid is right, it doesn't mean that she isn't a monster.
Simone's writing is both funny and scary, and Davis-Hunt's artwork communicates gore and grit incredibly well. His "acting" is also really good, and each character's emotions – even the subtle ones – can be read from his faces. And from his unholy Lovecraftian monsters.
7. The Haunt of Fear
Oh, come on, this wouldn't be a Halloween comics list without an EC title. And considering that this was the most recent one I’d read, I figured it'd make a great pick. Plus, we already did Tales From the Crypt.
Haunt of Fear is a similar magazine. It's an anthology series of short horror stories with no connectivity other than their format. Most EC tales run as follows: There’s some jerk you’re supposed to hate. He does something atrocious that makes you hate him more. Then his action comes back to bite him, and he dies horribly and ironically.
Although my favorite story is different. In this tale, we see Bill Gaines and Al Feldstein in their offices at EC comics, trying to figure out which comic genre to do next. Gaines suggests horror, but Feldstein nay-says. Later, a hooded figure stalks them on the street, and they flee into the sewer. There, they come face to face with the Vault Keeper and the Crypt Keeper, who"¦make them sign contracts so they can publish a comic book about them. And isn't that the spookiest thing of all?
CoooOOOOOOoooooOOontract negOOOooooOOOotiations! OOoooOOooOOOooooOOOO!
6. War Stories
Okay, okay, fine. This one isn't your traditional horror story. But I would argue that Garth Ennis' War Stories is haunting to a degree that few "horror" comics actually achieve.
The series is an anthology of different war tales, usually if not always related to World War II. Stories of the atrocities of war and the monstrousness of its fighters. And, like those great classic horror books, each has some sort of bitter ending.
The revenge-driven SAS commander gets his entire team killed on a mission, and drives off into the gunfire alone. The honorable bomber pilot makes the wrong call and ruins a life. The band of men united by necessity return to their sides and die for their causes. These ARE horror stories, because war is scary and horrific and vile.
Even World War II, which was fought against the all-time worst threat to civilization, Nazi fascism, wasn't all sunshine and roses. Certainly not for its participants.
5. Survivors’ Club
What happens when the horror movie's over?
If you survive watching your friends and family die one by one, barely defeated the ghoul or ghost or axe wielding madman, and emerged physiologically scarred forever, how do you move on? You probably don't, and that's how you get Survivors' Club.
The comic book, by Dale Halvorsen, Lauren Beukes, Inaki Miranda, and Ryan Kelly, is about six people who experience horrible, unexplainable phenomena in 1987. Now in the present, the group forms a little coalition to talk through their issues. And maybe whatever happened in 1987 is happening again. The Survivors are all victims of their own little horror movies, and seeing what their backstories are as the series progresses is incredibly fun and engrossing. There are stories about killer dolls, possession, haunted houses. They're all great, and entertaining as hell.
It’s a nine-issue series, and you can buy them all in one collection. A good time.
4. American Vampire
Shocked this one didn't make my list last time. It's a pretty solid pick.
Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque's American Vampire is fun and blood-soaked and scary as all get out. I talked about Severed and Wytches in the previous list, and this completes that trifecta. It’s less outright spooky than the other two, but that's mostly because the monster is the protagonist in most of the stories.
In the series, the Old West saw the vampires of Europe spread their curse to American soil, siring the first of the American Vampires, who had different powers and fewer weaknesses. The first, Skinner Sweet, becomes a recurring character in the series, usually as an antagonist. Another recurring main character is Pearl Jones, a woman Sweet turned, who eventually became his greatest foe.
The book skips through time, showing its cast as immortal warriors fighting against each other, with normal humans strung along as collateral damage.
3. Kill or Be Killed
Here's a little psychological thriller for you. Some blood and death and creeping insanity.
And, hey, it's our old friends Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips! This comic is still ongoing, but you can buy the first two volumes right now. And you also should do exactly that thing I just said, because this is one of the best comics on the stands, hands down.
Dylan is a 28-year-old grad student who's depressed and in love with his best friend Kira, who has a boyfriend. So Dylan decides to jump off the roof. He does just that, but immediately changes his mind about wanting to die.
By some miracle, Dylan survives his suicide attempt, but not without cost. The next night, he's visited by a demon, who tells Dylan that he’s going to die. The only way to prevent that is to start killing. One person a month, to be specific. So Dylan becomes a vigilante, murdering those he feels deserve to die, while the criminals he targets and the police are both gunning for him.
It's good and creepy and fascinating at every turn.
2. Black Monday Murders
Oh, holy hell, I love this comic book.
It’s everything I love about David Fincher movies, combined with Jonathan Hickman's deep love of graphs.
The comic follows the premise that several Eldritch banks run the world economy through an arcane series of rituals and prayers to notable old gods. So, you know, just the way I always assumed the stock market worked. The creepy tone lends itself very well to making you uncomfortable, and the occasionally shocking visuals are solidly integrated. Tomm Coker's artwork is brooding and haunting and ethereal in parts. It all coalesces into a beautiful (and beautifully scary) series that I cannot recommend highly enough. This is not a book for the faint of heart. It's gory and gruesome and just good as hell.
All hail God Mammon.
1. From Hell
This is some good Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell.
And it's also haunting and excellent. From Hell is a dramatization and fictionalization of the Jack the Ripper murders as only Alan Moore could do it. It's not a mystery, though. You know who the Ripper is from the beginning. Hell, he's pretty much the main character. The horrific violence and terrible murders might be a turn-off for some, but hey, it's horror, you've gotta expect some of that. But fair warning: If you're used to sanitized, family-friendly depictions of the Ripper murders, this is not that. This is VERY not that.
The story is a cat and mouse narrative about Sir William Gull, who commits the Ripper murders as a cover-up for some royal family misbehavior, and inspectors Abberline and Lees, who frantically try to stop the murders. It's a wonderful comic that will chill your spine and haunt your nightmares. Speaking of nightmares, Gull's hallucinations make for some of the best scenes in the entire book. Truly spellbinding horror.
And there you have it, an early list of spooky comic books that you should read because you, like me, presumably like getting spooked. Reader beware, because you're in for a scare. Or several. Probably more.