TEN HORROR COMICS THAT ARE ACTUALLY FRIGHTENING (PART ONE)
This list was surprisingly difficult to put together. These days, most online comics billing themselves as “horror”, aren’t. Sure, a lot of them have monsters…but the monsters all go to the same high school and bond over half-caff lattes and suspiciously thick, superdarkred “tomato” soup, ha ha ha. Those comics are fun and all, but the occasional gotcha moment doesn’t really count.
So where’s a web surfing horror aficionado supposed to go for her fright fix? Here’s a list of comics that are so creepy, they eviscerate dime-a-dozen chibi vampire fare and use the guts to string up the endless online parade of adorable ghost-hunting kids:
- Lapse by A. M. Alecci – I have a soft spot in my heart for stories featuring charming fuckups. If those charming fuckups have died and are now being stalked by shadowy soulsuckers, that’s even better.
- The Tunnel by Ryan Andrews – This Twilight Zone-esque horror tale starts not with a bang, but a splash: a man is relaxing in his tub when a small tile suddenly falls from the bathroom wall into the water. He notices something weird in the hole…and when he goes to investigate, things get really strange.
- Soul to Call by Katherine Lang – Okay. There is a friendly monster in this one, but he’s a hell of a monster. He’s called an anathema, and his primary talent seems to involve using his own blood to smite his enemies…the ones whose eyes aren’t busy exploding out of their faces, that is. BLOODMANCY AND ‘SPLODY-EYES, YOU GUYS – excuse me while I recover from my swoon.
*ahem* …now where was I?
- Black is the Color by Julia Gfrörer – A grim, sensual tale set on the high seas. Two men are set adrift by their shipmates. One soon dies, and the other is seduced by a cruel mermaid. The deceptively simple line art and six-panel scenes put me in mind of the Xeroxed indie comics of the mid-80s. This gem first appeared online and was later printed by Fantagraphics books.
- Broodhollow by Kris Straub –Our Town meets In the Mouth of Madness, except the group consciousness doesn’t create reality; instead, without some external stimulus no one in town is capable of remembering the weirdness that happens all the time. The collective selective amnesia is even more surprising because the irreal things which happen often leave at least a couple of dead bodies in their wake.
The main character, Wadsworth Zane, has an obsession with something he calls ‘the pattern’, which is either a figment of his imagination or the key to unlocking Broodhollow’s mysteries. This comic also gets extra points for being set during Prohibition. I can’t recommend it enough. OH! And on a scale of one to nightmares really needs to be a thing that more people say.
- The Last Halloween by Abby Howard– I love this comic almost beyond reason. The main reason delightful black-and-white tale of the night all of the monsters – ALL OF THEM, EVERYWHERE – came to stay isn’t in the top three is because the warm and fuzzy feels have mostly outweighed the horror so far…but don’t worry; there’s still plenty of genuinely frightening stuff here.
I’m going to stop here, since there’s already a full day’s reading in this first half of the list. Tune in tomorrow for the rest.
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Dora Badger is a writer and comedian living in Detroit. She was the organizer of a Detroit-area writers’ group for several years, and served as one of the fiction editors for the (sadly) now-defunct Third Reader e-zine. She was also was one of the copyeditors for Sonar4 E-zine and has been published in Jennifer Miller’s Ladies and Gentlemen of Horror 2009, Feathertale Press, A cappella Zoo, Mirror Dance Magazine, and MicroHorror. You can find out more at her blog, Menace & Whimsy.