Love comics, but feel a little uncertain as to where to start exploring the horrific side of things? You know what we mean – the gritty stuff. The bloody stuff. The ultraviolent stuff. Well, I know that branch of the comic tree extremely well, so I’m going to provide you with a somewhat eclectic mix of books you should be reading in 2016. Whether vintage and modern, single shot, mini-series or ongoing tale, we’ve got you covered!
30 Days of Night
Vampires flock to Barrow, Alaska, where the sun sets for about 30 days, allowing them to feed without the burden of sleep to avoid lethal sunlight. When the vampire elder Vicente learns of this plan, he travels to Barrow to end the feeding, to preserve the secrecy of vampires. Because of the cold, the vampires’ senses are weakened and a few of the town’s residents are able to hide. One such resident is Sheriff Eben Olemaun, who saves the town by injecting vampire blood into his veins. He uses his enhanced strength to fight Vicente, saving the lives of the few remaining townspeople, including his wife Stella. Suffering the same weakness as all vampires, Eben allows himself to die and turns to ash when the sun rises.
Afterlife with Archie
Volume 1: Escape From Riverdale (Issues 1 – 5)
After a car driven by Reggie kills Hot Dog, Jughead asks Sabrina to bring his beloved pet back to life. She does, but with terrible consequences: Hot Dog becomes a zombie, and kills Jughead, who himself rises as a zombie and spreads the contagion.
Volume 2: Betty: R.I.P. (Issues 6 – )
Weeks after Archie and his friends left Riverdale, they are now following along the deserted highways of America trying to stay one step ahead of the growing horde of zombies that were once their friends and family.
Emmy always knew that the woods surrounding her home crawled with ghosts and monsters. But on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, she learns that she is connected to these creatures–and to the land itself–in a way she never imagined.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Set during the 1960s, Sabrina lives with her aunts, Hilda, and Zelda, as well as her cousin Ambrose, in the town of Greendale. Nearing her sixteenth birthday she must choose whether to stay a witch or become mortal forever. Madam Satan, a former flame of her deceased father, has returned from Hell and wants revenge on the Spellman family
Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth
The story follows the vigilante Batman, who is called upon to quell a maddening riot taking place in the infamous Arkham Asylum, a psychiatric hospital housing the most dangerous supervillains in Gotham City. Inside, Batman confronts many of his enduring rogues gallery, such as the Joker, Two-Face, and Killer Croc, many of whom have changed since he last saw them. As Batman ventures deeper, he discovers the origin of how the asylum was established, the history of its builder Amadeus Arkham, and the supernatural and psychological mystery that has been haunting the area.
Fatale chronicles the life of Josephine, or “Jo”, an archetypal femme fatale who is seemingly immortal, having survived from the 1930s to the modern day unaged, and also has a supernatural ability to hypnotize men into becoming intensely infatuated with her, whether she wants them to be or not.
Through the decades, Jo struggles to understand and control her powers while being pursued by a violent cult. The cult worships cosmic gods reminiscent of Lovecraftian horrors, which are somehow tied to Jo.
During her travels, Jo also encounters many men who quickly become entranced by her, often to fanatical degrees. They become entangled in her escapades, possibly as guardians, collaborators, and lovers. A motif of the series is how these men pay dearly for becoming involved with Jo.
The narrative jumps back and forth between different time periods and points of view, primarily Jo and the men entranced by her. The majority of the action in the first storyarc takes place in the 1950s, the second in the 1970s, the third during the 1930s and World War II, while the fourth arc is set in the 1990s.
Locke & Key
Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them. Home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all…
The story deals with the aftermath of a sexually transmitted disease which causes grotesque mutations in teenagers.
The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (the B.P.R.D. or BPRD) is a fictional organization in the comic book work of Mike Mignola, charged with protecting America and the world from the occult, paranormal and supernatural. It maintains the services of several supernatural persons, including Hellboy. The B.P.R.D. originally appeared in the Hellboy comics but has also been featured in many stories under the B.P.R.D. title.
Declan Thomas’s body temperature is dropping. He never gets sick, never feels pain. An ex-inmate of an insane asylum that was destroyed in a fire, he has the strange ability to step inside a person’s madness – and sometimes cure it. He hopes to one day cure his own, but time is running out, as a demonic predator pursues him through a nightmare version of Boston – and when Declan’s temperature reaches zero…it’s over!
“I shall tell you where we are. We’re in the most extreme and utter region of the human mind. A dim, subconscious underworld. A radiant abyss where men meet themselves. Hell, Netley. We’re in Hell.” Having proved himself peerless in the arena of reinterpreting superheroes, Alan Moore turned his ever-incisive eye to the squalid, enigmatic world of Jack the Ripper and the Whitechapel murders of 1888. Weighing in at 576 pages, From Hell is certainly the most epic of Moore’s works and remarkably and is possibly his finest effort yet in a career punctuated by such glorious highlights as Watchmen and V for Vendetta . Going beyond the myriad existing theories, which range from the sublime to the ridiculous, Moore presents an ingenious take on the slaughter. His Ripper’s brutal activities are the epicentre of a conspiracy involving the very heart of the British Establishment, including the Freemasons and The Royal Family. A popular claim, which is transformed through Moore’s exquisite and thoroughly gripping vision, of the Ripper crimes being the womb from which the 20th century, so enmeshed in the celebrity culture of violence, received its shocking, visceral birth. Bolstered by meticulous research that encompasses a wide spectrum of Ripper studies and myths and coupled with his ability to evoke sympathies in such monstrous characters, Moore has created perhaps the finest examination of the Ripper legacy, observing far beyond society’s obsessive need to expose Evil’s visage. Ultimately, as Moore observes, Jack’s identity and his actions are inconsequential to the manner in which society embraced the Fear: “It’s about us. It’s about our minds and how they dance. Jack mirrors our hysterias. Faceless, he is the receptacle for each new social panic.” Eddie Campbell’s stunning black and white artwork, replete with a scratchy, dirty sheen, is perfectly matched to the often-unshakeable intensity of Moore’s writing. Between them, each murder is rendered in horrifying detail, providing the book’s most unnerving scenes, made more so in uncomfortable, yet lyrical moments as when the villain embraces an eviscerated corpse, craving understanding; pleading that they “are wed in legend, inextricable within eternity”. Though technically a comic, the term hardly begins to describe From Hell’s inimitable grandeur and finesse, as it takes the medium to fresh heights of ingenuity and craftsmanship. Moore and Campbell’s autopsy on the emaciated corpse of the Ripper myth has divulged a deeply disturbing yet undeniably captivating masterpiece.
The story follows survivors dealing with a pandemic that causes its victims to carry out their most evil thoughts. Carriers of the virus are known as the “Crossed” due to a cross-like rash that appears on their faces. This contagion is primarily spread through bodily fluids, which the Crossed have used to great effect by treating their weapons with their fluids, as well as through other forms of direct fluidic contact such as rape and bites, assuming the victim lives long enough to turn. A major difference between the Crossed and other fictional zombie or insanity-virus epidemics (e.g. in the film 28 Days Later), is that while the Crossed are turned into homicidal violent psychopaths, they still retain a basic human-level of intelligence: thus they are still capable of using firearms, motor vehicles, tools like bows and arrows, and of setting complex traps.
The contagion spread across the entire world, with the Crossed killing, raping, engaging in cannibalism and maiming for fun, with governments and military overwhelmed; friends and family butcher each other with anything they lay their hands on, and cities are turned into vast charnel houses. Much of the Middle East is wiped out when Israel deploys nuclear weapons. The last organized act by the US government is to shut down as many nuclear power plants as possible and then kill the nuclear scientists and technicians to prevent them from reactivating the plants. A few nuclear power plants were not reached in time, however, such as Wolf Creek in Kansas and Browns Ferry in Alabama, detonated by Crossed who removed the control rods. One by one the remaining military bases are overrun. Soon human civilization is all but gone, and mankind is an increasingly endangered species.
“Where do serial killers come from?” and why has Buckaroo, Oregon given birth to sixteen of the most vile serial killers in the world? NSA Agent Nicholas Finch needs to solve that mystery in order to save his friend, and he’ll have to team up with the infamous Edward “Nailbiter” Warren to do it. Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson deliver a mystery that mixes Twin Peaks with the horror of Se7en!
Comic book legend Alan Moore (WATCHMEN, FROM HELL) and brilliant artist Jacen Burrows deliver a chilling tale of Lovecraftian horror! Brears and Lamper, two young and cocky FBI agents, investigate a fresh series of ritual murders somehow tied to the final undercover assignment of Aldo Sax –the once golden boy of the Bureau, now a convicted killer and inmate of a maximum security prison. From their interrogation of Sax (where he spoke exclusively in inhuman tongues) to a related drug raid on a seedy rock club rife with arcane symbols and otherworldly lyrics, they suspect that they are on the trail of something awful… but nothing can prepare them for the creeping insanity and unspeakable terrors they will face in the small harbor town of Innsmouth. NEONOMICON collects Alan Moore’s 2010 comic book series for the first time in its entirety – including his original story, THE COURTYARD, which chronicled Aldo Sax’s tragic encounter with the (somewhat) mortal agents of the Old Ones!
Kyle Barnes has been plagued by demonic possession all his life and now he needs answers. Unfortunately, what he uncovers along the way could bring about the end of life on Earth as we know it.
In 1916, Dream is captured and encased in a glass globe in a failed attempt by a fictional Edwardian magician (very much in the vein of Aleister Crowley) named Roderick Burgess to bind Death and attain immortality. Dream bides his time for decades until Burgess dies. Afterwards, his son Alexander becomes Dream’s new captor. Finally, in 1988, Alex’s guards grow careless and the guards watching him fall asleep in his presence, allowing Dream to use the sand from their dream to his benefit. When the guards awake and break the seal Dream was in, he is then able to escape. Dream punishes Alex by cursing him to experience an unending series of nightmares. The rest of the story concerns Dream’s quest to recover his totems of power, which were dispersed following his capture: a pouch of sand, a helm and a ruby. The pouch is being kept by a former girlfriend of John Constantine’s. Once that is recovered, Dream travels to hell to regain the helm from a demon, where he incurs the wrath of Lucifer (an enmity that will have major repercussions later in the series). The ruby is in the possession of John Dee, a.k.a. Doctor Destiny, a supervillain from the Justice League of America series. He has warped and corrupted the ruby, rendering Dream unable to use it, and with it he nearly tears apart the Dreaming. However, thinking that it will kill Dream, Dee shatters the ruby, inadvertently releasing the power that Dream had stored in the ruby and restoring Dream to his full power. The collection ends with “The Sound of Her Wings”, an epilogue to the first story-arc. This issue introduces a character who has become one of the series’ most popular and prominent personalities: Dream’s older sister Death. She is depicted as an attractive, down-to-earth young goth girl, very unlike the traditional personification of death, and spends the issue talking Dream out of his brief post-quest depression.
Warren Comics Archives: Creepy & Eerie
Gather up your wooden stakes, your blood-covered hatchets, and all the skeletons in the darkest depths of your closet, and prepare for a horrifying adventure into the darkest corners of comics history. Dark Horse Comics further corners the market on high quality horror storytelling with one of the most anticipated releases of the decade, a hardcover archive collection of legendary Creepy Magazine.
This groundbreaking material turned the world of graphic storytelling on its head in the early 1960s, as phenomenal young artists like Bernie Wrightson and Neal Adams reached new artistic heights with their fascinating explorations of classic and modern horror stories.
A man haunts the roads; a man with sharp teeth and a hunger for flesh. When 12 year-old Jack Garron runs away from home, he’ll see how quickly the American Dream becomes a nightmare.
Swamp Thing (Volumes 1-6; The Alan Moore Years)
Before WATCHMEN, Alan Moore made his debut in the U.S. comic book industry with the revitalization of the horror comic book THE SWAMP THING. His deconstruction of the classic monster stretched the creative boundaries of the medium and became one of the most spectacular series in comic book history.
With modern-day issues explored against a backdrop of horror, SWAMP THING’s stories became commentaries on environmental, political and social issues, unflinching in their relevance. SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING Book One collects issues #20-27 of this seminal series including the never-before-reprinted SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #20, where Moore takes over as writer and concludes the previous storyline.
Book One begins with the story “The Anatomy Lesson,” a haunting origin story that reshapes SWAMP THING mythology with terrifying revelations that begin a journey of discovery and adventure that will take him across the stars and beyond.
Essential Tomb of Dracula
The legendary Lord of the Undead first appeared in the Marvel Universe in the early 1970s–and Tomb of Dracula, the most popular of the House’s horror titles, scared up an estonishing seven-year run. Now, Marvel collects the first 15 issues of the classic, spooky series–plus Werewolf by Night #15 and Giant-Size Chillers #1.
Featuring the first appearance of Blade, the Vampire-Slayer! Plus: Dracula vs. Werewolf by Night–two of Marvel’s most macabre super-stars in a battle of the monsters!
Shortly after Shuichi Saito’s father becomes obsessed with spirals — snail shells, whirlpools, and man-made patterns — he dies mysteriously, his body positioned in the shape of a twisted coil. Soon, the entire town is afflicted with a snail-like disease.
The Walking Dead
In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally start living. With The Walking Dead #1-48, this compendium features more than one thousand pages chronicling the start of Robert Kirkman’s Eisner Award-winning story of zombie horror, from Rick Grimes waking up alone in a hospital, his band of survivors seeking refuge on an isolated farm and the controversial introduction of Woodbury despot, The Governor.
Essential Werewolf by Night
Whether they came at him in committee, cult, or carnival, no nemesis was a match for Marvel’s highest-ranking horror hero! With some of the most scintillating supernaturalism served out by the seventies! Guest-starring the hero who goes with everything, Spider-Man! Introducing Topaz of Witches! Plus: the deeds of Dracula, the transformation of Tigra, and more!
Collecting Marvel Spotlight #2-4, Werewolf By Night #1-21, Marvel Team-Up #12, Tomb Of Dracula #18, Giant-Size Creatures #1.
Everything you thought you knew about witches is wrong. They are much darker, and they are much more horrifying. Wytches takes the mythology of witches to a far creepier, bone-chilling place than readers have dared venture before. When the Rooks family moves to the remote town of Litchfield, NH to escape a haunting trauma, they’re hopeful about starting over. But something evil is waiting for them in the woods just beyond town. Watching from the trees. Ancient…and hungry.
The first volume of Top Cow’s bold new ongoing series POSTAL brings readers into the fictional town of Eden, Wyoming, a place founded by criminals for criminals. A place where, despite its inhabitants, no crime is allowed. Local postman Mark Shiffron has Asperger’s, and through his peculiar eyes we see a town struggling to keep its fragile peace, a town on the constant brink of chaos. When a murdered woman’s body is found on Eden’s main street, Mark’s need to solve her crime leads him into darkness and truth about the town he’s known his entire life and the hidden realms of his own psychology.