If we can, we try not to be scared in real life. But being scared by a good story? Many of us live for it. In comic books, horror moves at a different speed from when it’s shown on film. The best horror comics can still scare, terrify, and stay with us for a few days, weeks, or even years.
In the best horror comics of all time, there are a lot more to them than just supernatural fights. In comics, there is a lot of creativity and a lot of breaking down of barriers, so sometimes the creepy and crawly things that go bump in the night aren’t so scary.
People who write scary stories are always trying to make the reader feel uneasy or scared or even terrified. This feeling stays with them even after they finish reading the book because it makes them feel like they’re in danger. Often, the best horror comics also add that uneasy twist to something that you think is safe and familiar. This is why they are so good.
Do you like to gossip and talk about small things? Do you like to draw spirals and other seemingly innocent patterns? These scary comics won’t be able to keep you away for long.
So many great horror comics are out there, but there are only ten spots on our top-10 list. We’ve had to cut some stories that are well-deserving of the honor, but we’ve also had to cut some that aren’t very good.
It’s possible to make a list of the best horror comics of the last decade, the best horror manga, and many other sub-categories. We’ve given equal weight to comics no matter what their format, time, or country of origin are. This is a kind of “big picture” look at the best examples of horror comics from all over the world.
So turn down the lights, check the locks, and get ready for the scariest comics of all time.
1. Wytches (2014 – 2015)
After their daughter Sailor had a bad hand in their hometown, a young family moves to New England to try to give her another chance. They find that they’ve traded one bad thing for another, and Sailor isn’t happy about it. To get better health and money, they’ve moved to a town where people trade living people for better health and better fortunes. Wytches, as they’re called, feed on the greed of people to make them fight with each other. Jock’s terrifying art shows that they’re not afraid to get their hands and teeth dirty from time to time.
It’s scary because: The Image Comics series Wytches by Scott Snyder and Jock is one of the best horror comics out there because it focuses on the witches in a different way and shows the true evil of humans who would trade human decency for a better stock in life. It shows that no one is completely safe from temptation, even a parent who has a child in trouble. Snyder cuts the bone at the end of Wytches.
2. Afterlife with Archie (2013 – 2016)
Comic book Afterlife with Archie says that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and it comes to life in this way: Jughead asks Archie to use magic to save his dog, Hot Dog. It doesn’t help that Sabrina the Teenage Witch tries and succeeds at resurrecting the dog. The spell starts a chain of events that quickly turns Riverdale into a zombie-infested town.
Afterlife with Archie is more scary than The Walking Dead because it uses the nostalgia of Archie comics and the Riverdale gang to make it scary. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla, on the other hand, make the horror as real and pulsating as the folksy vibe of these famous teens, taking the story to a new level and making it even more scary.
3. Something is Killing the Children (2019 – Present)
The comic says to believe the people who have been hurt. A lot of people think it’s easy, but it’s never that simple, even when the people they’re talking to are talking about real monsters. You can see them in the hit TV show, “Something is Killing the Children.” In the show, a small town called Archer’s Peak is the hunting ground for a pack of monsters from another world who love children and can only be seen by children. When Erica Slaughter, a hunter of these hunters, comes to town, she says she has a no-nonsense way to get rid of these beasts. She’s an easy target for adults who want to know what happened.
Why it’s scary: James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’edera let us have our cake and eat it, too. When Erica Slaughter, a “final girl” who is all grown up, goes on a “palate-cleansing, post-modern revenge story,” the idea of monsters eating children is turned on its head, making her the “final girl.” It’s like a roller coaster ride where you know where you’re going, but you still want to go because it’s so fun to be on it even though you know where you’re going.
4. Cat Eyed Boy (1967 – 1976)
Comic: Author and artist Kazuo Umeza is known as one of the best writers and artists in the world of horror manga. In Cat Eyed Boy, Umeza is able to touch on many different types of horror, all of which are led by, and sometimes starring, the titular Cat Eyed Boy. Having been kicked out of monster society because he is too human, the monster child has to live in the shadows and attics of the human world. He finds a place to stay, then acts as a victim (and sometimes an instigator) of supernatural threats to the families and neighborhoods where he wants to stay.
Readers are drawn to the Cat Eyed Boy just as much as the scary things that seem to follow him. As each short story progresses, Umezu cleverly takes the Cat Eyed Boy’s human hosts down a new and disgusting path against them. This is made even more memorable by the monster child’s wicked charm.
5. Red Room (2021– )
In Red Room, Ed Piskor has made a long story that almost reads like a series of one-shots about “red rooms.” You can pay a lot of money to watch people be creatively killed live on the dark web. It’s as bad as it sounds. It would be easy for a story like this to become silly as a way to avoid looking at the horror straight in the face. Piskor doesn’t even look away. he talks about the kind of world that allows these rooms to exist, how groups find new “stars,” how fans follow streamers like Poker Face, and how they get their victims. My first thought was that I didn’t want to add a series that was still only a few issues into its run. But Red Room is a different kind of series. Definitely not for everyone: I had to put the book down for a second in the first issue to catch my breath before I started reading again. It’s kind of like a car accident, which is something you should not look at, but you can’t help yourself, even if you know it’s going to make you sick.
6. Infidel (2018)
As Jeff Lemire points out in the afterword, comics can be hard to do well when it comes to scary and politically charged stories. But the team that worked with writer Pornsak Pichetshote and artist Aaron Campbell did a great job with Infidel. The story of Aisha, a Muslim woman, has a lot of magic because it’s both interesting and scary. An accident caused a bomb to go off in Aisha’s new home. She and her fiancé, Tom, and stepdaughter, Kris, have moved in. Building: People who live there now are haunted by what happened there, both because of how people have talked about it and because of what happened there. Some things are haunting, but there’s more to it than that. Infidel is like a scary house. Get Out has twists that make you root for the characters and feel sorry for their pain.
7. Afterlife With Archie (2013– )
As far as horror comics go, Archie comics aren’t likely to come to mind first. In some ways, the connection to Riverdale or Chilling Adventures of Sabrina may have changed that a little, but not all of the time. Afterlife With Archie breaks the mold of what you’ve come to know and love about these people. They’re being tortured and trying to figure out how to deal with their raging teenage hormones in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, but they don’t know how to do it. Artist Francesco Francavilla’s dark art with a stark color scheme brings Archie and his friends into the world of horror. If you can deal with Jughead and Hot Dog getting hungry for human flesh, this is the kind of series you’ll read in one sitting and finish in one day.