If you’re anything like me, you want to have your horror fill all year round, not just when October rolls and everyone remembers how much they like indulging in monster movie marathons. Now is a great time to indulge your love of creepy comics; not only is Hellboy celebrating its 20th anniversary, there are tons of intriguing and eerie new books coming onto the market from some of the hottest names in the industry. Even better, it looks like there’s something for everyone’s tastes, from serial killer gore to macabre fairy tales. Here’s a sampling of what I’m most excited about coming out soon that promises to scare my proverbial socks off.
Nailbiter, Image Comics, Joshua Williamson (writer), Mike Henderson (artist)
The creators behind the excellent superhero/noir mash-up Masks and Mobsters are teaming up again for a horror series about a small town in Oregon that breeds serial killers. The series follows Nicholas Finch as he sets off for Buckaroo, Oregon, to search for his missing friend, who had just uncovered the truth behind the town and just why it’s produced sixteen serial killers in the past fifty years. There’s also the titular character to contend with, the killer known as Nailbiter, who seems to be into creepily eating people’s fingers on top of the usual horrific murdering thing. Some of the greatest horror comes from delving into the depths of human depravity, so Nailbiter looks like a delicious, bloody treat.
This six-issue miniseries has been described by the creative team as “the ultimate horror comic,” and considering how good horror has been with Locke & Key and The Wake in the last year, that’s an awfully high bar to meet. But their run on Batman Inc. was one of DC’s highlights, and it’s exciting to see them teaming up for something really off the wall and free from constraints. Details on the actual plot are scant, so far it seems to involve eerie occult astronauts, but you know that with Morrison you’re in for weird, big ideas that Burnham will bring to perfectly detailed, creepy life.
Creator of the popular 30 Days of Night, Steve Niles brings vampires to one of the darkest times in human history: when the Black Plague was tearing through medieval Europe. This one-shot collects the story first serialized in Dark Horse Presents and presents a world where vampires are thriving as a weakened humanity can no longer fight them off. As in all the great vampire stories, there promises to be broken, undead politics, a couple in love, and lots of murder.
For all those of us who missed out on the original Kickstarter, IDW is publishing this collection of short, macabre stories by some of the most exciting creators in the business, including Cullen Bunn, Tim Seeley, Paul Tobin, and James Tynion IV. Horror is one of the best genres for anthologies, because the short number of pages means creators have to bring their A game if they want their stories to pack a punch. With so many weird stories in one book, In the Dark promises to be 2014’s most economical way to give yourself nightmares.
Beautiful Darkness, Drawn & Quarterly, Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoet
The delicate watercolors in Beautiful Darkness make it look like a fairy tale, and, like all the good fairy tales, this book has more than its share of darkness. What starts out as a sweet story of a girl with her suitor turns into a more disturbing look at what horrors humans can be capable of. No matter how nice or pleasant the world can be, there is evil in it, and the worst of it comes from each other. Check out a preview to see the gorgeous art and a killer final page that will have you rushing to preorder your copy.
Between The Absence and Nailbiter, it’s clear that 2014 is truly the year of the creepy mouth comic. This graphic novel collects the individual issues published by the author, and was a “best comic” nominee in the 2013 British Comics Awards. Disfigured in the war and long missing, a man returns back to a village where dark secrets and unspeakable crimes lurk just beyond the surface. Add in an enigmatic doctor and a missing child, and it seems like a story where the past has a dangerous way of catching up with you no matter how far you run.
Fantagraphics had previously published Inio Asano’s award-winning Solanin and are now bringing this intricate horror story to English audiences. The story starts with an unusual proliferation of butterflies in a town, then throws in time travel, supernatural horror, and the particular horror of having to live with the horrible things you’ve done. It promises to be thought-provoking and David Lynch-ian, and the crisp delicate illustration is a perfect counterpoint to all the weird. What makes this especially appealing is that the whole story is collected into a single volume, which is a gift to those who like manga but are intimidated by the volume-spanning stories.
Finally, you’ll be able to get some of Emily Carroll’s brilliantly disturbing comics in print. She’s the master of the macabre, unsettling horror that mixes folklore with bizarre creations purely of her own making. If you haven’t seen any of her stuff yet, do yourself a favor and check it out here. Especially beautiful and disturbing is last year’s “Out of Skin” and “His Face All Red” both of which are sure to inspire hour-long discussions of just which creepy interpretation of the story is true.
His run on Batman might be what propelled him to super-stardom, but horror is where Scott Snyder really excels. ith more American Vampire and The Wake already on the horizon, now he’s turning his scarily creative brain to a whole new terror: witches. Jock is the perfect person to bring his ideas to life, and Scott Snyder has promised to make witches more “primal” and “bestial” than they’ve ever been seen before. This promises to be much more “Blair Witch Project” than Harry Potter, and this is the perfect pairing to make it happen.
Here’s what’s important about this comic: it’s newly translated into English, highly acclaimed, and has one of the scariest covers ever. If that creepy child’s face engulfed in hellfire doesn’t scare you, then nothing will. The plot centers around a town that hosts a carnival to quell the violence wracking the town, and it hires famous castrato opera singer, Foligatto. The art is detailed and grotesque, with a style perfectly suited to the surreal story that unfolds. There are preview pages here, but as for the identity of the terrifying hell child, we’ll just have to read the book to find out.