Horror Comics to Carry You Through the End of the Year
Several years ago, I felt like I was going through a reading slump with horror comics. Victor LaValle’s Destroyer had ended. Pornsak Pichetshote’s Infidel had ended. I had inhaled every contemporary backlist horror comic I could find.
What was I supposed to do now?
But this past year, I’ve noticed a resurgence. A ton of new series kicked off in the late spring and early summer of 2022, some of which still pop up in my pull box every month. My email inbox has been filling up with press releases for additional series launching this year.
On Free Comic Book Day back in May, Image Comics gave readers a first glimpse of a whole-ass new horror universe, courtesy of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s Bone Orchard Mythos. The first few books in this collection of interconnected stories do not disappoint. The mythology they’re creating is meant to last for years.
Just last month, at New York Comic-Con, I got my copy of The Nice House on the Lake #1 signed by James Tynion IV and I felt a lightness in my chest, one that comes from being surrounded by like-minded folks who also love cursed coins and evil tentacle creatures and other heartwarming horror tropes.
Are people finally accepting that horror needn’t be relegated to October?
Whether they are, or whether I’m just imagining it, my TBR is happily set for a while. Below, I share some of the series that will carry you through the end of the year.
The Keeper by Tananarive Due, Steven Barnes, and Marco Finnegan
This graphic novel came out just the other month. I mention it here just in case, like me, you initially failed to notice. Due is a horror powerhouse, so I’m excited to see her work come to life in graphic form. In The Keeper, a young Black girl moves in with her grandmother after her parents are killed in a car crash. But her grandmother isn’t long for this world either and, just before she dies, she summons the dark spirit that’s presumably been protecting their family for generations. The spirit is meant to look after our young protagonist, but she soon realizes the spirit is taking more than it gives. Can she and her friends destroy it?
The Nice House on the Lake by James Tynion IV, Alvaro Martinez Bueno, and Jordie Bellaire
This series began in June 2021 and it looks like the second arc is set to conclude in early 2023. As far as I’m concerned, it can go on forever, because I am loving it. In this horror-sci-fi hybrid, Walter gathers his friends together for a getaway at a gorgeous lake house. But when they lose contact with the outside world, Walter reveals himself to be an alien who’s been living on Earth for years, tells his friends the world as they know it is gone, and instructs them all to settle in for the long haul…because they can’t leave. Things only get darker from there and I am so curious as to where this story will end.
The Bone Orchard Mythos by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino
As I mentioned earlier on in this post, Image Comics has given Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino the go-ahead to create a new horror universe of interconnected stories that may last for years. It all began on Free Comic Book Day with the Bone Orchard Mythos Prelude. It continued in June with the original graphic novel The Passageway. At the moment, we’re in the midst of the series Ten Thousand Black Feathers. The gloriousness will only continue from there.
The Night Eaters by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
Book 1 of the Night Eaters trilogy came out just last month and I am already hungry for more. A pair of Chinese American twins are struggling to keep their restaurant afloat. But what they struggle with even more is their hot-tempered mother, who’s in town with their father for a visit. Their mother’s patience with them seems to grow thinner as she worries that she and her husband have coddled them too much, leaving them incapable of finding success on their own. So she forces them to clean up the run-down house next door, where they find a whole lot more than your run-of-the-mill mess. By the end of their time in the house, the twins have learned a lot about themselves, and about the legacy their parents have passed onto them.
Little Monsters, Volume 1 by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen
Also out last month was the trade paperback collecting issues 1-6 of Little Monsters. Billed as a vampiric Lord of the Flies, this series follows the exploits of a group of young vampires living amongst the ruins of humanity. But then something happens that drives these “young” vampires apart, shattering their innocence. This series is ongoing, so you can gulp down this volume and then look forward to even more issues in the future.
The Approach #1 by Jeremy Haun, Jason A. Hurley, and Jesús Hervás
My god October was (unsurprisingly) a good month for horror comics. The first issue in this new series came out last month, which means there’s more to come. In the first issue, a blizzard is brewing and airport employees are snowed in, stuck taking care of a planeful of passengers who have been diverted to their location. Just as the passengers have been settled in for the night, another plane crash lands on the runway. They’re only able to pull one body from the wreckage. The body is in bizarre condition, but things only get weirder when they realize the plane has been missing for 27 years. Unfortunately, this is not the end of the dark revelations to come. I am waiting with bated breath for the next issue.
The Closet by James Tynion IV, Gavin Fullerton, and Chris O’Halloran
This three-issue miniseries (which Tynion has referred to as a horror novella in three acts) was originally released on the author’s Substack newsletter. Image Comics released it as a trade paperback in late October. This tiny terror — about a boy who sees monsters in his closet, and the father who continually dismisses his fears packs a big punch. Also, how did I miss the fact that one of my favorite writers in comics has a Substack!?
Behold, Behemoth by Tate Brombal and Nick Robles
Moving into November…the cover art alone for issue #1 of Behold, Behemoth is so incredible. The full series is sure to be a stunner. As for the story, this comic’s protagonist is falling apart in the wake of his brother’s mysterious death. He struggles with insomnia and, when he does slip into sleep, he’s tormented by vivid nightmares of a horrifying monster. Barely holding on to the last shreds of his sanity and *thisclose* to losing his job as a social worker, he’s then faced with a new case that has him questioning what’s real and what’s just a part of his recurring nightmare. My body is so ready for this.
Specs by David M. Booher, Chris Shehan, and Roman Stevens
Another BOOM! Studios series kicking off in November, Specs seems to have some major ’80s-tastic, Stephen King-esque, Stranger Things vibes. Which is basically everything I love. The series is about a couple of teens who purchase a pair of novelty glasses through a mail-order form and end up unlocking real magic. But when they begin to experiment with their newfound powers, things inevitably take a dark turn. Obviously.
Two Graves by Genevieve Valentine, Annie Wu, and Ming Doyle
Finally, November also sees the series premier of Two Graves, meaning that it (and other series on this list) will carry you well into the new year. At the start of this series, our protagonist Emilia and a man with a veil of smoke are on a journey to the ocean in a stolen truck. There’s a bloody handprint on his neck, and she suspects it might be hers. That’s all I know so far, but I don’t care. As long as publishers keep pumping out horror comics, I’ll keep reading them.
Want more? Check out this list of eight weird, twisty, dark comics and graphic novels.