Spooky Comic Reads for Fall
by CL Vitek
Want to read horror comics but don’t know where to start? Lucky for you, we’ve already got a great starter list perfect for the Halloween season! With colder days right around the corner, what’s better than curling up under a blanket to read the perfect spine-tingling tale after the sun goes down? While the classic staples like The Walking Dead or Hellboy are well-loved by comic fans, there’s a lot more to explore in the horror genre and we’re here to help you discover them.
Perfect for new readers or anyone looking for a terrifying read, here’s recommendations for some fantastic (and horrifying) favorites to tide you over until Halloween comes around.
| ||LOCKE & KEY|
(w) Joe Hill, (a)Gabriel Rodriguez, (l)Robbie Robbins, (c) Jay FotosAfter a shocking murder, the Locke family moves into The Keyhouse, a lonely New England mansion on the island of Lovecraft. This old family home seems like the perfect place to grieve and rebuild their lives. All old houses have history as the three Locke children – Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode – soon discover. Unraveling the mystery of the house and the mysterious keys within, the Lockes learn there are much darker things searching for answers, too.This Eisner nominated series is the perfect place to dive into horror comics, especially with the news it’s been optioned for a series with Netflix in 2019.
(w) Gail Simone, (a) Jon Davis-Hunt, (c) Quinton WinterThree months after reading the newest book from self-help guru Astrid Mueller, Chloe Pierce’s fiancé kills himself. Chloe is left with more questions than answers; the only thing she does know is that something in that book drove him to do it. She’s made her mission to track down the truth about Mueller’s Honest World Foundation and the enigmatic founder. Half religion, half self-help but all mystery, Honest World, and Astrid Mueller, may come looking for her instead.Clean Room asks the reader a chilling question. What if a cult was right? What if there are things lurking beneath the surface that only the ‘enlightened’ might see? The even bigger question remains: what do those things want for humanity?You can read our review of the first volume here.
| ||CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA|
(w) Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, (a) Robert HackSet in a re-imagined version of the 1960s, Sabrina is a dark retelling of Archie Comics Sabrina Spellman, the teenage witch. Born half-witch, Sabrina lives with her aunts and feline familiar, Salem, in the town of Greendale. As her sixteenth birthday approaches, she must make a choice: to become a full witch or to remain mortal and pursue a normal life. The story becomes far more sinister as pieces of the Spellman family past come to light and her teenage existence is complicated by necromancy, vengeance-seeking undead, and the looming possibility of a much larger conflict.Ultimately, it has more in common with The Witch (2016) than the family-friendly show from the 90s. More than that, Netflix has picked it up and Season One of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will be streaming on October 26th, 2018. Just in time for Halloween!
| ||30 DAYS OF NIGHT|
(w) Steve Niles, (a) Ben TemplesmithIn the small northernmost town of Barrow, Alaska, the sun sets in the winter and does not rise for 30 days. Using the cover of this prolonged darkness, a group of vampires come to feed, wreaking havoc upon the town. Sheriff Eben Olemaun and his wife Stella find themselves fighting to protect themselves and their neighbors from the attack but their situation becomes more dire when elder vampires arrive on the scene with a vested interest in preserving the secrecy of their existence.While popular media portrayal of vampires have shifted to sexy and brooding over the last couple of decades, 30 Days of Night reverses the trend, returning these undead creatures to their Nosferatu roots. Templesmith’s art is perfect – bright splashes of color against snowy landscapes almost entirely in shadow. It’s visceral without being gratuitous and highlights the terror experienced by the initial survivors. While the series is short (only three issues), the ending is a punch in the gut that sticks with you long after you’ve finished.
(w) Joshua Williamson, (a) Mike Henderson, (c) Adam GuzowskiWhere do serial killers come from? For sixteen of the worst, the answer is Buckaroo, Oregon. No one knows why or how they come to be, only that for the Buckaroo Butchers, that’s where they call home. NSA interrogator Nicholas Finch only knows that his partner disappeared investigating this anomaly and now he’s drawn into the town’s secrets and lies. His only help? The town sheriff, Shannon Crane, and one of the most infamous of the Butchers, Edward Charles Warren aka The Nailbiter, recently acquitted of his crimes. The three find themselves in the center of a much larger web of death, murder, and small town histories.Nailbiter delivers a bloody good time. It’s spooky, gory, and has enough compelling mysteries to keep readers turning the pages just to see how it all turns out.
| ||SOUTHERN CROSS|
(w) Becky Cloonan, (a) Andy Belanger, (c) Lee LoughridgeAlex Braith’s sister is dead. Aboard the Southern Cross, an intergalactic tanker on route to Titan, she’s on her way to find answers for why and how it happened. In space, she begins to unravel the mystery of her sister’s death as strange things begin to happen: her bunkmate disappears, conspiracies abound, and she can’t shake the feeling someone is watching her. The ship has secrets too, and Alex must uncover them if she wants to make it to Titan.A heavy mix of Alien (1979) and Event Horizon(1996), the elaborate interiors of The Southern Cross are reminiscent of 70’s weird fiction and classic sci-fi. The color palette and industrial architecture of the world make the book distinctly grungy, setting the dark tone ahead of the action. The story is filled with creeping dread and galactic horror that blends well with the science fiction murder mystery.
(w) Scott Snyder, (a)Jock, (c) Matt HollingsworthWhen the Rook family moves to New Hampshire, it’s a chance to escape the past. Sailor Rook, the family’s young daughter, was the victim of horrific and traumatic bullying. After one of those bullies disappear, ugly rumors start about Sailor’s involvement. The family is looking for a fresh start in a small town and a place to heal. It soon becomes clear that things aren’t going well. There’s something in the trees. Something is watching the Rook family, waiting patiently for its moment.Wytches doesn’t take the conventional approach on the subject matter. There are no cauldrons or pointed hats. The creatures lurking in the shadows here are primal, ancient things glimpsed in the shadows. It also tackles the most basic of parental fears in the most terrifying – and supernatural – ways.Check out our review of the book here.
| ||AMERICAN VAMPIRE|
(w) Scott Snyder, (w) Stephen King (#1-5), (a) Rafael Albuquerque, (c) Dave McCraigAmerican Vampire creates mythos for a new breed of vampire. The series tells the stories of enigmatic Skinner Sweet who, unlike the older European bloodsuckers, walks in the daylight and Pearl Jones, an aspiring actress in 1925. Chasing her big break in LA, Pearl ends up left for dead in the California desert. Their stories become entwined when they are afflicted with the same strain of vampirism and must come to grips with the kind of monsters they’ve become.
Junji ItoJinji Ito is the master of suspenseful horror, often digging into the fears and cultural anxieties that reflect modern society. Uzumaki is a blend of Japanese ghost stories and cosmic horror wound into a package of dread and the weirdness of it will keep you on your toes. The story begins with a series of strange, unexplained occurrences in the small Japanese town of Kurōzu-cho. Eerie supernatural events occur within the borders of the town, all related to the shape of a spiral and a forgotten curse. As these events become more terrifying and deadly, teenage Kirie and her boyfriend Shuichi investigate the spiral phenomenon beyond their better judgement and find themselves trapped in spiral curse afflicting the town as they search for a way out.Ito’s artwork is intricate and disturbing, often with a panel structure that slowly reveals the ultimate horror to the audience beautifully. Uzumaki is heavy on suspense and creates a sense of unease in the reader as the story winds into slow existential terror. It quickly descends into the kind of body horror in which Ito excels.
That’s it for the list this time. But Rogue’s Portal wants to know – what did we miss? What are your favorites?