Uzumaki by Junji Ito
The classic of horror manga, featuring terrifying art by its legendary creator. Uzumaki centers around the obsession of the citizens of a small town with spirals.
Ito only writes horror manga so if you like this one, you’ll definitely want to dive into the rest of his collection, including Tomie and Gyo. Many of his comics have been turned into movies or OVAs.
30 Days of Night by Steve Niles & Ben Templesmith
Published by IDW, Niles (script) and Templesmith (art)’s vampire story 30 Days of Night is short but great. It also has a sequel and a film adaptation.
Like the title suggests, a small population in Alaska experiences 30 days of continual night during the winter, and you can just imagine the rest (or better yet, read it).
Severed by Scott Snyder & Attila Futaki
He’s a favorite of Batman fans for his Black Mirror and Court of Owls arcs, among others. He’s also written stories about vampire nazis (or nazi vampires?) in American Vampire. But Scott Snyder’s Severed is one of the most impressive horror comics on the list because of his writing as well as the evocative, striking art from Attila Futaki.
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
Winner of the Eisner and Ignatz awards, Emily Carroll has also created illustrations for the game Gone Home.
While she started making short webcomics, she became famous thanks to her horror comic book Her face is all red and reached a wider audience earning praise from critics and readers alike with Through the woods, which features five mysterious stories.
“It came from the woods. Most strange things do.”
Locke & Key by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez
Now, I have to admit that I don’t like Locke & Key but hey, this isn’t a list of my favorite comics; it’s a list of amazing horror comics out there and people love, love, love this one.
It’s true that it’s an original premise but Hill and Rodriguez’s comic also owes a lot to the Lovecraftian mythos and it doesn’t hide it: the first issue is called “Welcome to Lovecraft”!
And yes, it’s much more H. P. Lovecraft than Stephen King, even though people are always trying to draw parallels between Hill’s work and his dad’s.
L&K tells of the story of a haunted New England mansion filled with supernatural keys that transform those who wield them.
The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman
The biggest comic book success of the 21st Century.
Of course, how could I not include The Walking Dead? I’ve only got one thing to say to you: Have you read it? If you haven’t yet, why? Not a fan of the show? Read it; it’s much, much better. Love the series? Then how come you still haven’t read it, with all the parallels you can draw and differences you can find (or spoilers, lots of them).
Kirkman’s work is definitely a page-turner, like the Dan Brown of comics (sorry if you hate Brown but you know what I mean).
Aliens: Salvation by Dave Gibbons & Mike Mignola
Tired of zombies? Then check out Aliens: Salvation by comic book greats Gibbons (Watchmen) and Mignola (Hellboy) published by Dark Horse.
The publisher has been the longtime license holder of the franchise and this comic has to be one of the best Alien-related ones they’ve released, with a style that’s closer to Ridley Scott’s original vision.
Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth by Grant Morrison & Dave McKean
Who doesn’t love Grant Morrison? The man has done some great things in the comic book world and one of them is this classic.
With very particular art from illustrator Dave McKean, Arkham Asylum is a must for any Batman fan and/or horror fan.
Morrison’s first work on the character, it’s considered by many to be one of the greatest Batman stories ever written and one of the best in his career.
Nameless by Grant Morrison & Chris Burnham
More Morrison, more Lovecraft, and more sci-fi horror. Interested?
You might remember Chris Burnham’s art if you’re familiar with Batman Incorporated, which also featured Morrison’s scripts.
Nameless, published by Image Comics, is the dystopian tale of an asteroid that’s about to smash into the Earth. Also, of an astronomer that kills his family, then himself, and leaves a cryptic warning.
Nailbiter by Joshua Williamson & Mike Henderson
Nailbiter strikes from its first cover featuring the titular character, Edward Charles Warren, a.k.a. the “nailbiter”, who was a habit of -you guessed it- chewing off his victims’ nails along with part of their flesh.
“Best Horror Comic” by USA Today in both 2014 and 2015, this independent horror comic book series is published by Image.
Colder by Paul Tobin & Juan Ferreyra
Like Nailbiter, Colder doesn’t hide: it tries to scare you or disgust you right from the start with that first cover.
This trilogy by Tobin and Ferreyra is published by Dark Horse and features a protagonist named Declan Thomas who never gets sick or feels pain, and whose temperature keeps dropping, and dropping…
Pet shop of horrors by Matsuri Akino
Even more famous thanks to its anime adaptation, Pet shop of horrors is a Japanese horror manga by Matsuri Akino.
Starring the mysterious Count D, owner of a pet shop (?) located in the heart of Chinatown, it tells several stories about the pets that Count D sells and their new owners’ experiences with them.
If you still haven’t read the manga or watched the anime -or hadn’t even heard of it-, don’t be fooled: it’s not about pets at all, although it does feature animals, as well as a lot of horror.
Outcast by Robert Kirkman & Paul Azaceta
Yes, there’s more to Robert Kirkman than The Walking Dead and it features more -although a different kind of- horror.
Definitely a must for Kirkman fans and also if you’re interested in supernatural horror, demonic possession, and watching its TV adaptation.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Robert Hack
Most lists include Afterlife with Archie and just mention Sabrina’s chilling adventures as a spin-off of the former. However, Archie is famous mostly in the US, but pretty unknown in the rest of the world -now a little less since its recent TV adaptation. These comics have also helped Archie’s adventures reach new horizons.
Now, Sabrina is definitely more well-known outside the US; many people will remember watching the TV show Sabrina, the teenage witch. That’s why they might be surprised to see the character star in these strange, horror comics (the same that happened to the US audience with Afterlife with Archie). Both are highly recommended.
Edgar Allan Poe’s Spirits of the Dead by Richard Corben
This hardcover collects all the Dark Horse Presents stories featuring Poe classics adapted by master horror comics artist and Eisner Hall of Fame inductee Richard Corben.
Some of the most famous ones included in this collection are The Fall of the House of Usher, The Raven and the Red Death, and Murders in the Rue Morgue.
Ideal for (horror) book lovers interested in getting into (horror) comics.
Harrow County by Cullen Bunn & Tyler Crook
Ongoing series Harrow County is a new favorite of horror lovers.
Published by Dark Horse, it actually began as a serialized prose story called “Countless Haints”, written by Cullen Bunn and released on his website. It was later repurposed as a comic book featuring art by co-creator Tyler Crook.
The first issue features the following words by Mike Mignola:
“A rare thing -both wonderfully charming and genuinely disturbing”.
The October faction by Steve Niles & Damien Worm
Featuring haunting covers and very characteristic art by illustrator Damien Worm, The October faction is a comic book written by Steve Niles starring the Allan family, who everyone seems to want dead.
As former monster hunter Fredrick Allan works to put those days behind him, his two kids insist on joining the family business.
Black Hole by Charles Burns
You might have come across the famous cover art of Black Hole, written and illustrated by Charles Burns.
Published as a 12-issue limited series between 1995 and 2005, it deals with the aftermath of an STD which causes grotesque mutations in teenagers. The author has stated that this can be read as a metaphor for sexual awakening and the transition from adolescence into adulthood.
Tales from the Crypt by Al Feldstein et al
One company to rule them all.
In the first half of the 1950s, EC Comics was the horror publisher and they released three horror comics series that would change the genre forever: they were Tales from the Crypt, Vault of Horror, and Haunt of Fear.
Almost 70 years later, people still remember them as well as the famous TV adaptation which, thanks to being aired by HBO, was allowed to contain content that had not appeared in most TV series up to that time, such as graphic violence, profanity, sexual activity, and nudity. And yes, that unforgettable host.
The new TV adaptation by beloved/hated director M. Night Shyamalan has been shelved but we’ll always have the old ones and those great comics.