Halloween is here and with the onslaught of horror films on the horizon, it seemed a good time to re-read some of the best graphic novels that exemplify the season. Comics cover many different genres and many readers don’t oft explore the realm outside of the superhero category. Since the days of Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley, tales of terror have grasped audiences worldwide with their shocking characters, twisted tales, and allusions to real-world problems. Many talented authors in the world of comics continue to amaze and surprise readers with twisting narratives that can only be told in the medium of graphic novels. With the world in a state of social unrest, now may just be the best time to buckle up and get lost in the season meant for scares and escapism. Check out our list of must-read books for your next scary night alone.
Criminal Macabre: A Cal McDonald Mystery
Writer: Steve Niles Artists: Ben Templesmith (Dark Horse Comics)
Most fans are familiar with the work of Steve Niles through his immensely popular series 30 Days of Night but it’s not often I hear people talking about Cal McDonald and his ghoulish mysteries. Follow the former worldly (now other-worldly) detective Cal McDonald as he drinks Scotch and investigates the many paranormal secrecies that plague Los Angeles including zombies, werewolves, and ghosts. Niles and Templesmith continue their exemplary horror streak with Criminal Macabre by combining their knowledge of the macabre with the love of hard-boiled pulp fiction to give viewers the ultimate horror-noir experience.
Writers: Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson Artist: Mike Genderson (Image Comics)
This tense tale of serial killings and small-town intrigue is one of the best long-form reads that I’ve seen in a while. Over the course of thirty gripping issues, Nailbiter weaves a tight narrative that follows a detective searching for answers on why her town is a hotbed for the country’s worst serial killers. Her aide in this mystery is none other than a recently released serial killer (and former lover) known for biting the nails of his victims. Not without its gory and tense panels, Nailbiter holds its own by riding an intense narrative that will keep readers hooked until the very last issue.
Writer: Cullen Bunn Artist: Tyler Crook (Dark Horse Comics)
Writer Cullen Bunn and Artist Tyler Crook have crafted a dark tale that will satisfy classic and new horror fans alike. Set in the titular Harrow County, Bunn’s story follows a young girl on the edge of adulthood… only being an adult is not the same as she thought. Goblins, flaming zombies, and walking skin; Harrow County has it all. Not for the squeamish, this graphic novel uses classic horror tropes with modern style to form a gruesome story that continues to delight readers with its intense brand of shock and awe.
House of Penance
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi Artist: Ian Bertram (Dark Horse Comics)
Enter the bizarre world of the Winchester Mystery House with the creepy historical-fiction of House of Penance. Artist Ian Bertram builds of a script by Peter Tomasi to create a great sense of unease and dread that is displayed in every page and panel. Focusing on the real-life Winchester House located in Northern California, House of Penance takes place during the much talked about construction of the massive home. With stairs to nowhere and blocked off rooms, Sarah Winchester spent endless amounts of money building this monstrous and inhabitable home. Why did she do this? Read House of Penance to find out!
Writer: Donny Cates Artist: Gary Brown (Aftershock Comics)
What’s left to say about Donny Cates right now? The writer behind the acclaimed God Country and Buzzkill continues his successful year with the must-read Babyteeth. Trust me when I say this: if you fear pregnancy then this is not the book for you. Young Sadie Ritter is having a hard enough time being pregnant at sixteen, but things get a whole lot harder when she finds out her baby is the antichrist. A strong mix of action, horror, and humorous moments help this terrifying yarn come to life. It’s still early in its run so get on board with Babyteeth before things get out of control.
What are your favorite scary comics? Any recommendations you think we should read? Comment below and stay tuned to the GWW for more comic news and reviews.