Horror is a genre that is in a constant state of change. As audiences evolve, so do the things that frighten and unnerve them. Horror comics produce innovative new stories every year, finding inventive ways of exhilarating readers with experimental scares and offbeat creepy storytelling. 2019 has been a bumper year so far, with some genre-bending and terrifying horror fare that has satisfied comic fans, old and new. 2018 saw great titles like Moonshine, Infidel, and Harrow County delivering quality nightmares to readers. This year has a whole new stable of limited and ongoing horror series to inspire brand new feelings of dread. Here are the year's best so far.
10 Crypt of Shadows (Marvel Comics)
Anthology horror was what made the classic EC Comics offerings like Tales From the Crypt and The Vault of Horror so successful. And Marvel's Crypt of Shadows is an honorable tribute to the great anthology horror comics of old, with three creepy short stories to feast on, one after another. Crypt of Shadows was released as part of Marvel's 80th Anniversary celebration and a nod to the publisher's classic line of horror comics, including 1973's original Crypt of Shadows series. So, go ahead and enter the crypt for a little frolic in the tradition of the horror anthology greats.
9 Jughead: The Hunger vs Vampironica (Archie Horror)
It's hard to believe that Archie Comics was a down on its luck publisher before the 2010s. Now they have the successful Riverdale TV series with a new season on its way, not to mention Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and a range of indie-style comics that have a new generation wanting more.
Jughead: The Hunger vs Vampironica is a fun-filled, pulp horror style romp through Riverdale that pits a vampiric Veronica Lodge against Jughead, who's been transformed into a werewolf. This is yet another enjoyable read in the successfully reinvented Archie Comics canon that changed the fortunes of the publisher for the better.
8 Redlands (Image)
Country horror in the vein of Harrow County and Redneck has been doing quite well in recent years, and with good reason. Redlands is another well-crafted horror epic brought to you by Jordie Bellaire and Vanesa R Del Rey. The story takes place in the small titular town of Redlands Florida, a not so sleepy little hamlet that's plagued by witches, ghosts and ghouls. The witches, in particular, are important role players in the story, having ruled the town with an iron fist since they seized power from the authorities. Redlands is slasher, body horror and supernatural horror all in one gruesome package. It's not for everybody but if you like them dark and muddy, this one's for you.
7 Gideon Falls (Image)
Now picked up as a potential TV series, Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino's Gideon Falls is a creepy mystery in the tradition of Twin Peaks. A small-town priest and a big city introvert search for the mysterious Black Barn - a building that has allegedly appeared in various places throughout history and left a trail of death and destruction in its wake.
Lemire and Sorrentino have crafted an eerie, claustrophobic world with macabre twists around every corner. This is not traditional horror fare. Lemire's mission in creating it was to craft "intelligent horror", as he put it. Gideon Falls is a tale of human desperation and despair, built around a terrible mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
6 Cold Spots (Image)
Cullen Bunn has done his share of mainstream work for Marvel but his contributions to the horror genre in comics have really established him as a master of the macabre. And from the same mind who created Harrow County, The Damned, and Unholy Grail comes a supernatural missing persons mystery set in a world where the dead are rising and the temperature is dropping.
The series concluded in December 2018 and was released as a TPB this year, so there's no need to wait and see what happens. The combination of Bunn's writing, a cynical protagonist and Mark Torres's trademark shaky dark line work makes Cold Spots an intriguing and frightful read.
5 Unearth (Image)
Another highly original offering from the mind of Cullen Bunn in partnership with Kyle Strahm, Unearth centers around a small Mexican village that is plagued by a destructive and gruesome flesh-eating virus. As a scientific and military team descends into a series of caves to investigate, they encounter an ecosystem that is the stuff of nightmares. Artist Baldemar Rivas delivers remarkably moody Lovecraftian images that depict horrifying fleshy nightmares and gore. And the grotesque monsters that crawl across the pages of Unearth are a sight to behold. The visceral, character-driven terror within is slightly reminiscent of The Walking Dead, and it's a definite must-read for fans who are looking for a different kind of horror.
4 Ice Cream Man (Image)
Image Comics is the go-to publisher for great horror comics in the 2010s, with a few excellent titles featured on this list and many more that aren't here, mostly because this article is limited to only 10 entries. Written by W Maxwell Prince and illustrated by Martin Morazzo and Chris O'Halloran, Ice Cream Man is a series of self-contained tales of human weakness, which is played upon in every issue by the seemingly happy-go-lucky and innocent-looking Ice Cream Man - a creepy combination of Mr Rogers, the Cryptkeeper and the Devil himself. Ice Cream Man is anthology horror at its best.
3 Alien 3 (Dark Horse Comics)
Comic books are often the place where unproduced or rejected film scripts go to have their moment in the sun. But this one is somewhat more legendary than others. William Gibson's Alien 3 movie languished in production limbo for decades, and fans have been dying to see the abandoned script come to life for a long time. Before David Fincher's 1992 movie Alien 3 was given the green light, William Gibson's second draft, which this series is based on, was considered as the sequel to James Cameron's Aliens. Fincher's effort had a slightly lacklustre reception from fans, which enhanced this version's mystique.
It features a different perspective on what might have happened after the events of Aliens. Adapted and illustrated by Johnnie Christmas, this miniseries is a delight for fans who are taken in by the magic of Hollywood's long-lost, unmade sequels.
2 The Batman Who Laughs (DC Comics)
This is not your daddy's Batman. This demented version of Bruce Wayne from DC's Dark Multiverse is the product of a toxin released by a dying Joker as Batman throttled him, infecting the Dark Knight with the Joker's murderous madness. This combined with Batman's keen mind and skills makes for an extremely dangerous and frightening villain.
As a Batman villain, the Batman Who Laughs knows His foe intimately and plays on his fears like no bad guy before him could. Scott Snyder's contribution to the Batman mythos over the last decade has been unmistakably dark, terrifying, and original. It's transcended genres and broken down Batman's unique psychosis as Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth did before it, but with a far more reader-friendly approach.
1 Snow, Glass, Apples (Dark Horse Comics)
Master of the French curve and long-time Neil Gaiman collaborator, Colleen Doran, creates stunning visuals to accompany another dark Gaiman take on a famous fairy tale. Written in a similar vein to The Sleeper and the Spindle (Gaiman's macabre interpretation of the Sleeping Beauty story), in Snow, Glass, Apples, an evil Snow White plagues the protagonist - her stepmother - in a reversal of roles. In this version, it's not the witch who is wicked, but the murderous Snow White, who feeds on the blood of her victims. Doran and Gaiman also collaborated on Troll Bridge - another masterfully illustrated and unsettling story that Doran drew in a completely different style.