Last year, I shared some of My Favorite Horror Comics. This year, I’m expanding that list to offer some more fun, spooky reads for the Halloween season! Once again, I’m skipping some of the most well-known horror books (as much as we all love Hellboy, Tales from the Crypt, and The Walking Dead) in favor of some other new classics. Whether you’re just getting into horror or are an avid reader, I hope you enjoy this new selection of terrifying comics.
Harrow County (2015-2018)
(W) Cullen Bunn, (A) Tyler Crook
Harrow County is a place with history. The southern town has a dark past that ended in the murder of a woman accused for witchcraft. Teenage Emmy knows the woods around her home are filled with spirits and haints – she just doesn’t know how closely she may be tied to them. The legacy of Hester Beck, the burned witch, is looming as the darker parts of the forest come closer than ever. Bunn is no stranger to horror writing, and Harrow County is another example of that. The horror elements creep into the story slowly, letting the story simmer even as the haints lurk largely out of sight for most of the story as Emmy tries to navigate her new world. Because sometimes, monsters aren’t exactly what we think.
(W) Scott Snyder, (W) Scott Tuft, (A) Attila Futaki
When 12-year old Jack Garron runs away from home, he goes looking for his biological father. It’s 1916, and Jack soon discovers that the world beyond his hometown isn’t quite the bright, exciting adventure he imagined. On the road, he meets a young girl name Sam and a strange, mysterious Mr. Fisher who is far more than he seems. Jack is a simple, naïve boy who is unprepared for the monstrous nature of people and the path his search will take him. It’s grisly, dark, and perfectly chilling to the very end. Futaki’s art is haunting and atmospheric without relying on too much gore (though plenty of blood spills before the end of this gruesome tale).
Coffin Hill (2013-2015)
(W) Caitlin Kittredge, (W) Inaki Miranda, (C) Eva de la Cruz
Eve Hill never really wanted to go back home. She left her rebellious youth – filled with heavy eyeliner, fishnets, and dabbling in dark arts – far behind to become a well-respected cop in Boston. After being wounded in the line of duty, she returns home to Coffin Hill where her wealthy, disapproving family has lived for centuries. As it turns out, teenage girls are going missing and their disappearance may be linked to whatever Eve did out in the woods as a girl. More than that, it may be linked to her family’s own ties to Coffin Hill. Part Twin Peaks, part Lovecraftian doom, Coffin Hill is an excellent blend of Gothic storytelling and horror that leaves a lot of mystery to unravel over the course of the tale.
The Black Monday Murders (2016 – )
(W) Jonathan Hickman, (A) Tomm Coker
This mix of black magic and big finance explores a world where fortunes are made and broken by supernatural means. After the Black Monday stock market crash of 1987, a group of financiers makes a pact with the pagan god Mammon – creating schools of finance (magic) in exchange for his influence and power. As two siblings strive for control of one such school, a NYC detective unravels the truth about the powers behind the scenes. It’s a little bit of horror, some grisly murder, and a healthy dose of noir. The book is currently on hiatus, but the first two volumes offer an excellent story that promises to live up to the premise (and then some!).
(W) Pornsak Pichetshote, (A) Aaron Campbell, (C) José Villarrubia
It’s difficult to find a fresh take on a haunted house story, but in this modern tale, Pichetshote manages just that. Pakistan-American Aisha Hasan lives with her boyfriend in a tension-filled apartment building that was recently bombed. Struggling under the weight of suspicious neighbors and her own paranoia, Aisha just wants to feel connected to her boyfriend’s family. But there’s something else in the apartment lurking there. Whatever it may be, this entity feeds from the xenophobia and racism around it, leading to even further horror. This book is a must-read for fans of Jordan Peele’s Get Out — relying on the same themes of racial tensions and inherent prejudices — with the added supernatural elements of the Persian horror film Under the Shadow.
The Drifting Classroom (1972-1974)
(W&A) Kazuo Umezu
An elementary school disappears in the middle of Tokyo, leaving only wreckage behind. The students — all under the age of 12 — are stranded in a strange, desolate world with no way to get home. Giant monsters and strange creatures are only the beginning of their troubles as the adults around them begin to falter under the stress of their situation. As they struggle for survival, the biggest threat soon becomes apparent — it’s themselves. The Drifting Classroom is part Lord of the Flies and part science fiction horror, relying on the very human element — and the terrifyingly young age of the main characters — to keep tension throughout. This is an older classic but still worth the read for anyone who enjoys Japanese horror.
Through the Woods (2014)
If you’re looking for bite-size creepy reads, this anthology is the perfect choice. With lyrical prose and unorthodox framing, the stories feel like folktales revisited, though these are certainly not for children. It’s filled with shapeshifting monsters, haunted houses, and dark secrets. These five haunting vignettes feel more akin to Gothic ghost tales that don’t quite have a happy ending for anyone involved. They are eerie and unsettling, leaving the reader to wonder how much is real. Emily Carroll has been making short, creepy webcomics for over a decade. Her unique art style relies on bright splashes of color across negative space that brings these short stories to life.
Outcast (2014 – 2019)
(W) Robert Kirkman, (A) Paul Azaceta
Estranged shut-in Kyle Barnes knows a lot about demonic possession. In fact, he can’t quite seem to escape it. Throughout his life, his friends, family, and loved ones have all had brushes with possession, and there’s something about Kyle that both attracts and repels demonkind. As a freelance “exorcist,” he works with the clergy to free others from demonic influence and seeks answers for the weirdness that follows him. Unfortunately, those answers could have some fairly dire implications for Earth and humanity. Already well established as the creator of The Walking Dead, Kirkman is no stranger to horror. With Outcast, he ventures into the supernatural, offering a spooky, sometimes poignant tale of a man whose lost almost everything to forces he doesn’t understand.
(W) Matt Hawkins, (W) Bryan Hill, (A) Isaac Goodhart
There’s been a murder in Eden, Wyoming. This is shocking for more than the usual reasons — because Eden is a town founded by fugitive criminals. Hiding from their pasts, the townsfolk have a very strict policy on drawing attention to themselves. Crime is not tolerated. As the town scrambles to investigate, the mayor’s youngest son — postman Mark Shiffron — is drawn into the mystery and the darkness surrounding the town. He soon faces some startling realizations about the past and himself. This series is far more suspense than outright horror, but it does an excellent job combining the spooky elements with the overall mysteries.