My favourite scary or supernatural comics? I’ve got a few and if you’re looking for grim and fascinating recommendations here’s the ones I’d go for this year, plus an extra special recommendation…
If you have the stomach for it, why not check out the sprawling Marvel Zombies spin-off series. The best place to start is the original 5 issue mini series, which follows the initial infection of Earth 2149 (one corner of the Marvel multiverse) where the planet’s superheroes and villains quickly succumb to a a zombie pathogen that’s brought by a crashed spaceship. It also tied in with part of the Ultimate Universe Fantastic Four and has had sequels that saw publishers Dynamite link the outbreak’s origins to The Army of Darkness universe.
Between the original mini series and the subsequent sequels, I still prefer the original three issues of Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith’s 30 Days of Night . Set in a small Alaskan town in the wrong part of the Arctic Circle, it follows the community as they come under attack from vampires that have picked the town as a feeding location due to its lack of sunlight for 30 days. Niles truly makes you feel for the residents of the town and you do want them to survive. Refreshingly – for comics that are taking on a staple of horror – you won’t feel the need to shout at the human characters for making mistakes, because these vampires are nothing like you normally encounter in horror – sunlight seems to be the only standard.
Vertigo’s original deeply troubled magician had some fascinating adventures in the world of the supernatural. There are two standalone story arcs I think you should hunt down, which you don’t need to know too much about the character of John Constantine in order to enjoy.
City of Demons (written by Si Spencer, art by Sean Murphy) is a miniseries that examines what happens to Constantine after he’s involved in a pretty bad traffic accident (he was a pedestrian at the time). Due to John’s supernatural like nature, his healing process is somewhat complicated and London is brought to the brink of ruin. Sean Murphy’s art really helps to convey the broken nature of Constantine’s world after the accident and how painful it is for him to rebuild his world, while Si Spencer plays with not just Constantine’s emotions but the reader’s too.
Pandemonium (written by Jamie Delano, art by Jock) is a standalone graphic novel that sees Constantine blackmailed into investigating supernatural occurrences in Iraq during the second Iraq war. Accompanied by a local specialist, John investigates the paranormal concepts and entities that are rarely talked about in the western concept of the middle east and western interpretations of the culture and mythology from the area. With Delano writing it is obvious that there’s a political slant in the writing, but it’s fair. Meanwhile, Jock’s art style renders the Iraq beautifully and sympathetically.
Following surivors of a zombie apocalypse as they make their way in the remains of the old world, The Walking Dead is not a series you read for laughs. The series has been running for ten years now and you’re certainly better off starting at the beginning than where they are right now. Thankfully, compendium editions are available though they could probably kill a zombie in of themselves. Out of all the recommendations I’ve got here, this is probably the one with the least amount of hope conveyed in its pages and panels. The moment Robert Kirkman has you thinking that there’s something good around the corner for the zombie apocalypse survivors… you get the picture.
Due to the implementation of the Comics Code Authority in the 1950s in the US, there was a profound affect on horror comics in that part of the world. So if you’ve ever wanted to know what these – frequently long lost – titles were like then this is a must read. The physical edition of the book includes not only examples of pre-code comics, but it also has a DVD of the TV documentary that was used to sway to government opinion over the regulation of comics. If you’re at all interested in the history of comics, let alone horror comics, then this is a must read.
If you’ve got any particular recommendations then please let me know in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter. And stick around with us this week as we continue our Halloween coverage.