10 Legitimately Terrifying Horror Comics

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Comic books are notoriously difficult to make scary. They don’t have the advantage of sound to build atmosphere, and there is no possibility of jump-scares. Creators must rely on storytelling, mood, and still images alone. It takes a talented team to create a horror comic book that gets inside your head, and stays long after reading. As Bloody-Disgusting continues to highlight the very best that the horror genre has to offer, the staff put together a look a list of the comics that we feel will truly terrify readers.

10: Harvest


Writer: A.J. Lieberman
Artist: Colin Lorimer
Publisher: Image/Shadowline

Writer A.J. Lieberman and artist Colin Lorimer give us this dark and twisted take on the world of black market organ selling. The series protagonist doctor Benjamin Dane is in a downward spiral of drugs and alcohol that costs him his medical license. After hitting rock bottom and watching his life spin out of control, Dane’s deep flaws make him the perfect candidate to be recruited into the seedy underworld of black market organ harvesting. ‘Harvest’ is a dark, dirty, and extremely twisted take on the classic premise of someone awakening in bathtub of ice missing their major organs. This series has all the elements that keep readers on the edge of their seats from human traffickers, rogue medical teams, and members of the Yakuza. “Harvest” is the bastard offspring born out of a twisted 3-way between “Dexter”, “ER”, and “100 Bullets”.

9: Crossed


Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Jacen Burrows
Publisher: Avatar Press

There is no other comic that continuously pushes boundaries like “Crossed”. The series is based in a post-apocalyptic world where a plague turns the majority of the population into ravenous zombie like beings that try to rape and pillage everything in their path. Nothing is off limits when it comes to the world of “Crossed” and the series has given audiences their terrifyingly take on rape, incest, and killing children, which has made readers run to confession afterwards. “Crossed” is simply not for the faint of heart and is one of the most extreme books out there in the market.

8: Neonomicon


Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: Jacen Burrows
Publisher: Avatar Press

When Avatar Press gave legendary writer Alan Moore free reign to take on H.P. Lovecraft and Cthulhu with artist Jacen Burrows, it hit readers like a proverbial kick to the nuts. Moore and Burrows lead readers straight into the mouth of madness as they tackle the Cthulhu mythos from a real world perspective following a pair of cocky FBI agents who soon find themselves wrapped up in a world of unspeakable terrors. This book is littered with disturbing scenes of sex, violence, and monstrous perversion. Most importantly, it gets inside your head like any good Lovecraftian tale.

7: Verotika


Writer: Various
Artist: Various
Publisher: Verotik

When heavy metal god Glenn Danzig launched his own comic book company, his debut offering was “Verotika”, an erotic horror anthology that attracted some of the best talent in the industry. Grant Morrison, Simon Bisley, and Frank Frazetta all worked on this anthology that offered creators the opportunity to unleash some of the most depraved, filthy, perverted and downright immoral stories ever told in comics. After every issue readers were left with the feeling that they needed to bathe in holy water. Issue #4 features a story by Christian Moore and Hart D. Fisher entitled “Taste of Cherry,” that stands out as one of the most disturbing stories about snuff films you’ll ever read. The story is so vile that a comic shop owner in Oklahoma City was actually arrested for selling it and had to enlist the help of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund to help him avoid jail time. During the entire 15-issue run of “Verotika”, there was no other book on the shelves that could match the depths of this series depravity.

6: Ferals


Writer: David Lapham
Artist: Gabriel Andrade
Publisher: Avatar Press

Lapham and Andrade Avatar Press series “Ferals” is a refreshing take on the werewolf mythos that gives fans a reason to be scared when they hear a howl in the night. “Ferals” is the story of Officer Dale Chesnutt, a small town lawman stuck investigating the brutal slaughter of his best friend. During his investigation everyone around Chesnutt begins to turn up dead, including the woman he had a sweaty sexual encounter with the night before. Pulled in for questioning, Chesnutt is attacked in jail by a werewolf who proceeds to brutally slaughter the entire police force. Escaping by the skin of his teeth, Dale’s body begins a transformation that finds him becoming the horror that he’s been hunting. This book is extremely graphic with some simply awesome depictions of victims being torn to shreds by series artist Gabriel Andrade. While the book has more than its fair share of bloodshed, its the world building and character development that keeps us coming back to “Ferals” months after month. Lapham and Andrade have crafted a powerful mythos for “Ferals” that is simply captivating month in and month out.

5: Locke & Key


Writer: Joe Hill
Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
Publisher: IDW

Very few horror books can claim to be completely original, but the reality is that Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s “Locke & Key” is a truly unique reading experience. “Locke & Key” tells of the story of a haunted New England mansion that is filled with supernatural keys that transform those who wield them. The book mixes together supernatural horror with emotional drenched family drama, teen angst, and a complex mythos to create one of the most chilling comics out there. “Locke & Key” is one part H. P. Lovecraft mixed with portion of Stephen King, as Hill and Rodriguez slowly unravel one of the creepiest long-form stories that the comic world has ever seen.

4: Echoes


Writer: Joshua Fialkov
Artist: Rahsan Ekedal
Publisher: Image Comics/Top Cow

Before his rise to fame over at Marvel and DC Comics, writer Joshua Fialkov created a stark black and white mini-series with artist Rahsan Ekedal. “Echoes” is the story of one man’s battle with schizophrenia and his attempt to maintain any semblance of sanity after finding out that his father was a serial killer. This complex drama scares readers to the core with the emotional baggage of the characters, and dark, moody artwork that perfectly captures the twisted and intense paranoia the protagonist feels. Years after its initial release, “Echoes” strong storytelling makes it a must read for horror fans. “Echoes” is an intense journey through the depths of insanity with the readers riding shotgun and a schizophrenic behind the wheel.

3: Jeffrey Dahmer: An Unauthorized Biography of a Serial Killer


Writer: Hart D. Fisher
Artist: Hart D. Fisher
Publisher: Boneyard Press

“Dubbed the most dangerous man in comics”, Hart D. Fisher lived up to his title with the release “Jeffrey Dahmer: An Unauthorized Biography of a Serial Killer”. The book is written and illustrated by Fisher as a truly terrifying look at one of America’s most notorious serial killers. Upon the release of the book, Fisher was caught up in a whirlwind of media attention that drew that landed him appearances on ABC’s DayOne, CNN, ABC, Entertainment Tonight, Larry King Live, and even The Jerry Springer Show. Fisher made no apologies for the book and stood his ground to defend his freedom of speech and his art. The real life graphic depictions of Dahmer’s cold blooded murders is still the most unforgettable comic book images to have ever graced the printed page.

2: Severed


Writer: Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft
Artist: Attila Futaki
Publisher: Image

Writers Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft deliver a heart-wrenching coming-of-age tale about a kid train jumping across the country as he searches for his missing father. Along the way he befriends a demonic serial killer that threatens to make him his next victim. “Severed” is a jarring, unsettling and an emotionally draining take on Hitchcock style horror that reminds readers that the most frightening thing is the one you can’t see. It is loosely based on Albert Fish, which makes it all the more horrifying. While most books utilize graphic violence to hammer home the feeling of terror, “Severed” fully immerses readers in fear from the first page to the last.

1: Uzumaki


Writer: Junji Ito
Artist: Junji Ito
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC

The Japanese make some very bizarre, very terrifying art. Legendary manga creator, Junji Ito, has a little series called “Uzumaki” that centers around a small town who’s citizens become utterly obsessed with spirals, yeah that’s right, spirals of all shapes and sizes. As their strange obsession develops, things “spiral” out of control, leading to horrific and grotesque scenes of deaths and suicide. Abstract horror is far and few between these days, but looking at pages of this book Junji Ito makes everything look gorgeous and surreal. ‘Uzumaki’ is a unforgettable tale that leaves you horrified and wanting more. Pick up anything by Ito, you won’t regret it.

Honorable Mentions:
- The Walking Dead
- Domu
- Sandman
- 30 Days of Night
- From Hell

Anything we missed on this list? Tell us what you think in the comments section!

  • Julian Nunez

    Been reading Snyder’s batman and im really liking it so far, so i think i would like to check out Severed. Sounds good.

  • turtle_ish_nick

    crossed should be way closer to #1, but all these are good. Stitched is also incredible but didn’t get mentioned.

  • LilBastardFromHell

    You’re missing Colder! It had insanely creepy/crazy panels, thanks to that great artist Juan Ferreyra. I’ll definetly check some of those out, just started Locke&Key and i’m already hooked. I didn’t like Neonomicon, even if it’s a Lovecraft tale by Alan Moore.

  • LilBastardFromHell

    Oh, and i agree with Junji Ito being #1 – i had a nightmare after reading that hospital episode…

  • BigJ

    Thanks for the comments guys! There were lots of books that came close but didn’t make the cut, like Colder and The Strain from Dark Horse. Stiched is another great Garth Ennis book that was on our short list, as well as Hellraiser from BOOM. We could have easily made it a Top 20 list, but we had to draw a line somewhere.

    • turtle_ish_nick

      really it is a great list!

  • wildgator25

    I haven’t (unfortunately) read any of the comics on this list, but I definitely plan to seek them out.

    Have you checked out Revival? It is definitely gory for the most part.

  • NONVBVGNR

    Seen the Uzumaki movie 10 years ago or so. Really messed up stuff.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0244870

    Any of those other comics been turned into a movie yet? I heard that a Locke & Key trilogy is supposedly in talks.

    • Lonmonster

      Some of them are in talks, but no official news yet. Locke & Key did a pilot but Fox passed on it, possible film series in the works now.

      • ArKay

        I heard that the TV series didn’t get made because of talks of a movie trilogy. Loved the trailer for the TV series though.

        • Red_QuEeN

          I saw the pilot episode at comic con a few years ago. It was so good. I wish it had gotten picked up.

      • Canucklehead

        Not quite horror comics but did I hear that Y The Last Man and Clone have been optioned?

    • turtle_ish_nick

      crossed is being turned into a webseries in early 2014 if you have never read it you should still check out that.

  • Mr.Mirage

    Crossed is deeply disturbing and deeply, deeply disturbed. Severed was brilliant as was Neonomicon.
    The comix tend to get short shrift in the horror community, and I am most pleased to see them highlighted here. (Also; check out Irredeemable sometime… not quite horror, but really, really close.)

  • Michael_M

    I don’t have a lot of experience with horror comics but Johnny the Homicidal Maniac was incredible. Hard to imagine anything beating that so these are definitely worth a look.

    Unfortunately, the high cost of comics/graphic novels makes them a difficult investment. Libraries typically don’t carry the rough stuff. I wonder if they can be found used. It’s something I’ll have to explore. Crossed sounds like a must read.

  • Villgust

    Uzumaki is an imaginative, sick, powerful, creepy and eerie comic, give it a go even if you are not in to manga …but skip the movie, it’s cheesy at best and it tells just the beginning of the story.

    • Valentine Joseph

      A lot of people are under the assumption that all manga features wide-eyed characters and is juvenile, but there are great variety in genres, including horror. Junji Ito is definitely one to read if they want to a proper introduction to manga targeting adults

  • Raziel_cz

    Ennis’ Crossed is sick in indescribable awesome way.

  • Torturetron

    How can you have a horror comics list without any Bernie Wrightson or Richard Corben? I’d also highly recommend Spookhouse from Scott Hampton, Freaks of the Heartland and the Rawhead Rex adaptation by Steve Niles with art by Les Edwards to those interested.

    • Lonmonster

      They are legends of horror comics. They could take up this entire top 10 alone. Expect a top 10 with classic horror creators soon.

  • Valentine Joseph

    Almost anything from Junji Ito should have made that list. Tomie, Lovesick Boy, Mimi no Kaiden were also great candidates. Other great horror manga should have been mentioned, apart from Domu: Parasyte, Gantz, Dorohedero, Doubt and Homonculus.

  • Canucklehead

    A great list, read some but not all. Is Harvest still going? Haven’t seen a new issue in a long time.

    • Lonmonster

      Harvest is now done. Lorimer has a new series that looks great called UBX.

  • Chelsea

    What, no Black Hole?

    • Lonmonster

      Black Hole is one of my favorite books of all time, but not right for this list.

  • Kevin L

    Another terrific Junji Ito series is ‘Tomie’, about a girl who cannot die and has an uncanny ability to drive men into a homicidal rage. Really twisted and bizarre stuff.

    You can find it in the first two volumes of the ‘Museum of Terror’ anthology. DEFINITELY worth checking out.

  • EvilEyeScream

    Great list, can’t believe I’ve never heard of “Verotika”. How did I miss that?

    As far as other terrifying titles, these come to mind:

    “Sight Unseen” – Robert Tinnell, Bo Hampton
    “Stray Toasters” – Bill Sienkiewicz
    “Twisted Tales” the short lived horror anthology by Bruce Jones had some messed up stories with “Banjo Lessons” being the most disturbing tale by far.
    Obviously the EC titles should be known by everyone. Especially the stories from “Shock Suspense” still evoke so many emotions.
    And the old 70s titles “Skull” and “Slow Death” are also quite disturbing at times.