As we all know, Halloween is coming, and those of us not dealing with people freaking out over a storm are preparing to get freaked out for fun. And every year, of course, we turn to horror comics, the problem being most people focus, albeit not unreasonably, on EC’s run of horror comics in the ’50s, or perhaps Marvel’s line of horror from the ’70s.
But there’s way more horror on the printed page than just those two runs, as great as they are. And not everybody has twenty bucks to drop on a collection or trade. Here are some recent horror books that you can still find on the stands, and are well worth picking up.
IDW’s anthology of classic horror comics actually digs pretty deep into various archives to find horror comics by everybody from Simon and Kirby to Jack Cole. The focus tends to be on the art as horror comics of the day weren’t terribly subtle, but man, what art it can be.
Dark Horse’s revival of the classic horror series tends to live up to its name. Partially this is because nobody does anthology books quite like Dark Horse, and Creepy is carefully edited to maintain its troubling vibe. The writing and art are well-chosen and often troubling on more than one level, making it a unique book even from a publisher known for its horror work.
Night of 1000 Wolves
IDW’s straight horror book actually fairly effectively mixes horror with medieval fantasy without being over the top or too drastic. The story is essentially an old-fashioned folktale focused on a man attempting to protect his family from a swarm of supernatural wolves, with minimal weapons. It’s a book that opens with a child getting eaten and goes downhill from there.
The Evil Tree
Arcana’s tribute to the moodier slasher movies works because of a mixture of good writing that lets us get to know the characters before they start getting picked off and unique art by Daniel Thollin that can swing between the conventional and the disturbing in a heartbeat. It’s a fairly conventional haunted house story, but a very well told one, nonetheless.
It’s hard to sustain a horror comic as an ongoing, especially if it’s a zombie book, since there’s just so many of them on the stands. Revival stands out for being different, not least because the zombies aren’t usually particularly threatening… yet, anyway. No, the bigger problem is the people in this small Wisconsin town as they start chafing under quarantine and freaking out over what’s out there. Tim Seeley and Mike Norton do a superb job of balancing ongoing plotlines and disturbing setpieces, making it a contender for Image’s best horror book.