Though most of the attention skews toward horror movies around Halloween, there’s another medium that is also bringing the scares: comic books. So we’ve put together a list of some of the scariest ongoing runs you should check out for some reading on a dark Hallow’s Eve.
The comic medium is a unique one, combining the best elements of fiction and tossing in all the pictures you typically have to imagine on your own. For horror, the concept becomes even more interesting, and it’s a strange (but awesome) feeling to have your spine start to tingle because you’re reading a funny book.
The Walking Dead
Start with the obvious one. Though not always overtly horror, The Walking Dead is one of the longest-running (and most successful) comics that knows how to bring the shocks and scares. Sure, it’s grown far beyond the original pitch of “what happens in the zombie apocalypse,” but as the ongoing series surrounding the Whisperers has shown, this old dog still knows how to make your jaw hit the floor. If you’re a fan of the TV series and looking to branch out, there’s no better time to jump in. The action is still in Alexandria, though the leadership and social dynamics have admittedly evolved quite a bit from where they currently stand on the small-screen version.
This Image Comics series by Scott Snyder and Jock is already on the fast track toward the big screen, but the comic that inspired it is well worth a read. The series itself follows a family as they make their way through a supernatural town. The series is about the young woman Sailor and her family, and Snyder took a bit of an autobiographical bent with the run. The first volume is available now, and Snyder is planning a second volume of the comic. The early issues received some great reviews, and it’s an extremely unique spin on the creepy and shocking.
Afterlife With Archie
A risk at the time of its launch, this spooky zombie tale has become a smashing success for the publisher of Archie and the gang. The series is on a bit of a hiatus at the moment (sigh), but it’s well worth catching up on the first several issues before the next one arrives. The comic basically starts off as your typical Archie Halloween story, then takes a turn for the extremely horrific as a zombie apocalypse hits Riverdale. The comic follows the gang as they try to escape the apocalypse, and it’s a horrifically great time.
Sci-fi? Check. Horror? Check. This future-set terror tale has it all. Published by Black Mask, this comic from Steve Niles and Christopher Mitten follows a team of private investigators tasked to retrieve the teenage daughter of a senator who has joined a mysterious cult. The bigger problem? The cult has set up shop on one of Jupiter’s moons, and once the investigators arrive, they find a whole lot more than they bargained for. The series is described as a “ghost story in space,” and if you’re looking for something outside the major publishers that’ll make you go bump in the night, this is the ticket.
Godzilla in Hell
This is just one of those ideas that is so weird and insane it makes you wonder why it’s never happened before. The five-issue limited series (the final installment arrives in November) is essentially the title played out in awesome, awesome form. The series basically follows Godzilla’s journey through hell, as he goes deeper into the underworld in an effort to find his way back out. It features some stunning art from a revolving team of artists, and puts Godzilla on one of his weirdest and coolest adventures in history. If you’re jonesing for more monster action, and want it with a healthy dose of horror, this is the perfect Halloween series.
Not content to corner the zombie market, Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman is now rocking a series set deep in the realm of demons and possession. Basically, Kirkman and artist Paul Azaceta have gone full-on supernatural horror with Outcast, and the result is pretty great. The series follows Kyle Barnes, who has been plagued by demonic possession all his life and is now on a quest for answers. With world-ending stakes and a personal tale at its heart, the comic is a terrifying journey. Read the comic now, before the TV adaptation arrives on Cinemax in 2016.
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1952/3
Mike Mignola has been cranking out Hellboy comics for more than two decades, but this prequel series might be one of the best yet. This run basically tells the early days of Hellboy’s adventures with the B.P.R.D., before he was the seasoned warrior we know from the modern tales. The story kicks off with a bizarre series of murders and rumors of something worse lead. This leads Professor Bruttenholm to send a young Hellboy to a Brazilian village on his first mission. Hellboy and a small group of agents uncover something terrible in the shadows of a sixteenth-century Portuguese fortress. The first volume has wrapped, though a sequel issue is on the way at the end of the month.
Written by comic legend Grant Morrison and drawn by Chris Burnham, this creepy comic tells the tale of an astronomer who kills his family, then himself, leaving a cryptic warning. We’ll let the official longline break it down: “A Veiled Lady hunts her victims through human nightmares. An occult hustler known only as 'Nameless' is recruited by a consortium of billionaire futurists for a desperate mission. And the malevolent asteroid Xibalba spins closer on a collision course with Earth. But nothing is what it seems—a terrifying inhuman experiment is about to begin.” It’s an ambitious sci-fi horror tale, and it’s a freaky thrill ride.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
A spinoff from Afterlife With Archie, this sister series puts a more supernatural, witchy spin on the Afterlife universe by focusing on Sabrina the Teenage Witch. But, instead of being a kid-friendly story with wacky adventures, this series focused on the much darker stuff that comes with being a teenage witch. The run is set during the 1960’s, and follows Sabrina and her aunts Hilda and Zelda. Sabrina must decide if she wants to be a witch or regular human, but things get a bit more complicated when the evil Madam Satan leaves Hell to exact revenge on the Spellman family. The art is stunning, and the stories are pure terror. An excellent complement to Afterlife With Archie, and perfect reading for the creepy time of year.
So there's our list for lights-out reading this Halloween season. Tell us what chills your blood in the comic book realm come autumn.