Ghouls, blood-suckers, monsters and worse … These are the best of comic book’s horror genre.
Since her debut in 1969, Vampirella has been one part horror, ten parts sexy (ranking #35 on Comics Buyer’s Guide’s “100 Sexiest Women in Comics”), but always popular. Technically an “alien” from the planet Drakulon, Vampirella has starred in dozens of titles across multiple publishers.
Created by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, and Gray Morrow, Man-Thing made his debut in Savage Tales (1971) No. 1, and eventually got his own series, Adventure into Fear With The Man-Thing. Often facing demons, ghosts, and ducks named Howard, Man-Thing (aka Ted Sallis) has been the center of some of Marvel Comics’ most trippy, fear-induced tales.
8. The Walking Dead
Image Comics’ mega-successful zombie — er, walkers — comic mixes great characters with great gore. And the living dead often aren’t even the scariest part of post-apocalyptic survival …
7. Locke & Key
Written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez, IDW Publishing’s Locke & Key deals with demons, demon possession, murder and other macabre elements that have combined into the scariest mini series on comic shop shelves today.
6. Tomb of Dracula
Gene Colan art! A writer was named (Marv) Wolfman! Classic 70s horror featuring one of literature’s all time greatest villains, Marvel’s take on Dracula was good, creepy fun.
Warren Publishing’s horror version of MAD started in 1964 as a magazine format comic that was able to bypass the Comics Code Authority. Each issue was hosted by Uncle Creepy, who would set the scene for “comics to give you the creeps!” Today the creeps continue at Dark Horse Comics.
4. From Hell
Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s Jack the Ripper masterpiece was originally released in serial form over seven years (572 pages total!), and eventually translated to the silver screen in a film starring Johnny Depp. The original slasher in the hands of a master storyteller? Scary.
3. Crime SuspenseStories
Not “horror” in title, the stories told were nonetheless frightening, especially in the 1950s. Issue No. 22 featured a cover so gruesome it practically became the poster child for the Congressional subcommittee hearings on the effects of comics on kids. Killing, murder, dismemberment, and the occasional guest appearance from The Haunt of Fear’s Old Witch, Crime SuspenseStories pushed the envelope.
2. House of Mystery / House of Secrets
The long-running House of Mystery (and it’s companion series House of Secrets) started in the 1950s as horror anthology series for DC Comics, telling tales of ghosts, vampires, werewolves and other things that go bump in the night. After a brief stint showcasing super-hero stories (and introducing The Martian Manhunter), the fright returned to House of Mystery featuring work from Bernie Wrightson, Neil Gaiman, Sergio Aragon’s and more.
1. Tales From The Crypt / The Vault of Horror / The Haunt of Fear
EC Comics’ bi-monthly horror anthology comics gave us the ultra fright night host, the Crypt-Keeper (as well as the Vault-Keeper and the Old Witch). Eventually a victim of Fredric Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent, and the Congressional hearings on the effects of comic books on children in the 50s, Tales From The Crypt and its sister comics were cancelled. Their tales of terror lived on however in reprints, television, and film for decades.