There isn't currently another comic running quite like Ice Cream Man. A horror anthology series that takes elements from genre-defining properties (The Twilight Zone) along with more contemporary projects (Tales From the Crypt and Black Mirror), Ice Cream Man is a truly terrifying experience.
Every issue of the series is different from the next, often employing different types of horror and mystery to give every story its own unique flavor. While each entry is scary, not every story is equally terrifying. So now its time to evaluate which of these issues are the most chilling and why. Without further ado, here are the 10 Scariest Issues of Ice Cream Man (so far). Potential spoilers ahead.
10 Issue #3: Good Ol' Fashioned Vanilla
On the surface, this issue of Ice Cream Man may appear to be the least scary of the bunch, coming across as more surreal than anything else. However, when examining the story as a whole, it plays into a central fear felt by most of humanity.
In short, the issue follows a former "one-hit wonder" from the 1950s who was unable to sustain a career of longevity. He is given the opportunity to reignite his life's fire by doing something highly impactful, only to find that it was all a dream and he's just as unsuccessful as when he started. Ouch.
9 Issue #2: Rainbow Sprinkles
Drug addition and overdose is a very real problem that affects millions of people around the world. This issue takes that element of reality and contorts it to take the form of an encompassing horror.
This issue utilizes a trend of the series, in which elements of reality are injected with unexplained horrors that are left to stew and ruminate in the mind of the viewer.
8 Issue #1: Raspberry Surprise
The first issue of the series, this story perfectly showcases the tone and flavor (mind the pun) that the series would hold throughout most later issues. "Raspberry Surprise" also sets up an element of the series that many other anthology projects lack: Mystery.
Starting with the very first comic, Ice Cream Man depicts progressively darker and more demented terrors, yet denies the reader the satisfaction of an explanation. Like many issues in the series, "Raspberry Surprise" incorporates the very common fear of insects, showcasing the worst possible reality for those with arachnophobia.
7 Issue #7: My Little Poltergeist
A lot of the greatest horror is able to marry aspects of reality with over-exaggerated imagery that blend the fiction into reality. Ice Cream Man's 7th issue does this by creating a storyline that is otherwise believable realistic fiction, that has the vile trademarks of the series sown into its very heart.
The story is one of loss, and the common attempts to reject said loss in one's life. However, Ice Cream Man manifests a force that requires this loss to be acknowledged, serving as a brilliantly twisted culmination of everything the series encapsulates.
6 Issue #12: Hopscotch Mélange Part 4: Space Story
The infinite emptiness of space is inherently terrifying. Space plus spiders is a concept that we never thought we'd need to experience, yet thanks to Ice Cream Man, here we are.
Like most issues of the series, "Hopscotch Mélange Part 4: Space Story" brings up more questions than answers. The story is able to play with loneliness paired with the juxtaposition of various horrors, managing to create a larger sense of isolationism than if the issue's protagonist was alone the entire time.
5 Issue #13: Palindromes
Currently, the most recent issue published, "Palindromes" has the unique quality that it can be read either traditionally or in reverse order. "Palindromes" does not feature a back cover, rather, an alternate front cover for those who are courageous enough to brave this issue in reverse order.
While the series' hallmark horrific and cryptic imagery is present, what truly makes this issue unsettling is the way in which it ties form into the narrative. As the issue comes full circle, no matter the direction the issue is read, it brings the concepts of choice and free will into question while also creating the sense of being stuck in an inescapable loop.
4 Issue #6: Strange Neapolitan
Frequently, the average person will question whether or not they made the right decisions in their life, and where they would be had they made a different choice somewhere down the line. In "Strange Neapolitan," the issue begins at a universal starting point and is split into three colored paths that span the duration of the issue, each reflecting the colors of the issue's namesake.
As the story progresses, the paths divert more and more, each experiencing their own problems and terrors, leaving the reader questioning which of these paths are they walking?
3 Issue #11: Hopscotch Mélange Part 3: TV Story
In a series made up of short, self-contained stories, Issue #11 of Ice Cream Man forces one central character in various inescapable and grotesque Reality TV Shows. We see shows including but not limited to: "Mannequin House," which is essentially The Bachelorette but with sentient mannequins; "Family Autopsy," in which contestants must perform autopsies on their loved ones, and "America's Got Intestines," which is everything that you think it is.
On the surface, this issue presents the aberrant torture of a character and brings into question the types of people who would be watching such programming, and by extension, the ethics of reality TV itself.
2 Issue #5: Ballad of a Falling Man
It is common for a human being to suffer from great anxiety whilst they wait for the inevitable to come to fruition. The longer it takes, the more excruciating the anxiety. Issue #5 is framed by a businessman falling from atop a skyscraper, beginning his descent from the first page, and falling as the issue progresses. While the anxiety from this action alone is enough to sustain one's daily dosage of dread, it is paired with horrid, unexplained atrocities that progress alongside the falling man as they escalate in severity.
The increasing austerity of the horrors within the building pair perfectly with the falling man as this issue culminates at the moment he reaches the bottom of the building.
1 Issue #8: Emergencies
"Emergencies" is a cocktail of surreal and morbid ingredients, but what makes the episode truly horrifying is that its active ingredient is "reality." In traditional Ice Cream Man fashion, the story of this issue presents a slew of morbid and unsettling images and scenarios, as the town featured seems to be on the brink of apocalypse.
The episode revolves around two EMT drivers who are completely apathetic to their jobs and actively partake in drugs. As the story progresses, they begin to confess to past atrocities. The key is that this is where the true terror lies. While grotesque horrors gravitate around the story from the outside, they are obviously purely fictitious nightmares. The two EMT drivers are filled with an unsettling amount of realism and could easily reflect countless individuals in reality.