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Five for Friday #9: Horror
posted December 24, 2004

Five Horror Comics That Genuinely Creep You Out At Some Moment or Another

Black Hole, Charles Burns
Panorama of Hell, Hideshi Hino
Swamp Thing, Alan Moore, Steve Bissette, and John Totleben
The Biologic Show, Al Columbia
Uzumaki, Junji Ito


Other Lists and Responses


Jonathan Elllis

From Hell, Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell -- I read this tome in one sitting and like most people my favourite part was the big monologue as they toured through London

Faust, David Quinn & Tim Vigil -- I read this when I was far too young to ever be near a book like this -- Needless to say it was the first comic I'd seen with religious sex/death orgies, snakes coming out of certain places and lycanthropes going into others

Beautiful Stories For Ugly Children, Dave Louapre & Dan Sweetman -- Anyone who's read any of these issues understands the irony in the title -- Many of these stories had the ability to be beautiful, morose and horrific all at once -- On top of which they presented some stories which were just conceptually fascinating on top of being a good read

Hellblazer, Brian Azzarello & Marcelo Frusin -- These were my favourite collections of this title, Azzarello did a great job injecting this book with a slick vitality -- it essentially added an evil grin that seemed perfect attached to these stories

True North, What's Wrong & What's Right, By Various -- True North is another book I came across while young and at that time was completely unaware of the fight against censorship going on around me -- It tended to inform and awaken the anti-censorship activist within for me

From my list the more effective horror stories tend to be the ones showcasing 'The Evil Men Do'


Sean T. Collins

Ah, a list after my own heart! I'm kind of a horror buff, and I'm still convinced that you have to be very, very good at what you do to produce genuine horror in comics (as opposed to being shocking, startling, disgusting or disturbing, all of which are plentiful in the medium -- horror can be and often is all those things, but it's also got to evoke genuine, haunting fear, and that's much rarer in this static, panel-bounded art form). However, over the past year and a half or so I've found a handful of comics that manage. You've already named two of them.

1) Black Hole, by Charles Burns
2) Uzumaki, by Junji Ito
3) "Monday Nightmare" (from Drawn & Quarterly Showcase Book 2), by Jeffrey Brown
4) The Walking Dead, by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard
5) The Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series, by Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell

I know this last isn't comics per se, but fans of cartooning and illustration are hereby heartily advised to go to their local Borders and pick up the chain's super-cheap omnibus hardcover collecting all three volumes of this series, which they may remember fondly and fearfully from their childhoods. Schwartz's economical, just-so prose meshes perfectly with the incredibly bizarre and still-frightening ink-washed illustrations by Stephen Gammell. These books are an unsung influence of contemporary American comics, I'm quite convinced; for example, the work of artist Ben Templesmith, whose collaborations with writer Steve Niles have almost singlehandedly revived the commercial fortunes of the genre, is thoroughly indebted to Gammell's style.