Friday, 31 October 2014 09:48

James' Top 10 Horror Comics of 2011

 

As the year draws to a close, I just realized that I've read a ton of comics in the past twelve months. Some good, some bad, but I flipped through a bunch of funny book pages. I also had the pleasure of attending the 2011 New York Comic Con, braving the costumed masses to bring you the latest coverage. So what was the best of what I've seen this year?

Before we get into this, I want to make a few things clear. Comic fans can be a very angry lot and I'm sure this post isn't going to satisfy everyone, so let's get some stuff straight. First off, this is a list of the top horror comics of 2011. I love Batman and Spider-Man, but they don't belong on this list. If you're looking for the JLA, go someplace else. We're talking about spooky books here. Secondly, try as I might, I was unable to read every single horror comic that came out this year. If one of your favorites didn't make the list, hit me up in the comments and I'll check it out. That being said, let's get the show on the road.

 

10. Neonomicon

I've read a lot of books about Cthulu this year. That squid-faced old god sure gets around. The one that stood out to me, though, was Neonomicon. Published by Avatar Press, who's quickly getting the reputation as the ballsiest company in the world of comics today, the comic looks at the Cthulu mythos from a real world perspective, one where Lovecraft existed as well. It's a trippy read that can be downright brutal at times, but it's one that definitely delivers. Did I mention this was written by the crazy bearded Alan Moore? Yeah, that plus art by Jacen Burrows is more than enough to make this worth checking out.

Read the HorrorTalk Review here.

 

9. Escape from Wonderland

Fairy Tales get the horror twist every now and again, but Zenescope has been running with this idea for some time. An offshoot of their main series, Grimm Fairy Tales, the Wonderland Trilogy wrapped up this year with Escape from Wonderland. Having no knowledge of it at the time, I read this final story first, but was able to realize how great this tale was. It's an epic comic focused on Alice's daughter Callie, as she ventures back into Wonderland to retrieve her own daughter, who's been taken into the world of madness by the Mad Hatter who is actually her crazy brother. Yes, all that sounds a bit nuts, but the fact that Wonderland literally feeds off of the insanity of our universe makes it all work.

Read the HorrorTalk Review here.

 

8. Feeding Ground

Werewolves have gotten a little stale as of late. Universal's recent remake of The Wolf Man certainly didn't help matters. Then along comes Archaia Entertainment with Feeding Ground, a werewolf story set on The Devil's Highway, the stretch of land that Mexicans cross to get to the US. In just a few issues it was able to breathe new life into the withering lycanthrope genre. The covers alone are worth blowing up to poster size, but the interior art by Michael Lapinski fits the story well and really extenuated the harsh feel of the desert with a washed out look.

Read the HorrorTalk Review here.

 

7. Green River Killer

True life comics have a pretty bad rap, juts look at Bluewater's bio books which aren't looked at very fondly amongst the funny book readers. Dark Horse changed that in one fell swoop with Green River Killer, the true story of the investigation into the serial killer of the same name. Author Jeff Jensen's father was the lead detective on the case, so there's a unique perspective on the whole thing. It's told mostly in flashback, with the killer in custody, piecing together his story. It also very subtly pulls you in because it is so real. I didn't know anything about this case when I started reading the book, but I was engrossed with it by the end. I literally could not stop reading it. Jonathan Case's black-and-white art complements the book well without distracting from the main story.

Read the HorrorTalk review here.

 

6. Nanny & Hank

Despite causing controversy with their aforementioned bio books, Bluewater Productions releases a good amount of cool horror titles. Nanny & Hank, which will be turned into a feature film in 2013, is the story of a pair of grandparents who get turned into vampires. The characters are loosely based on Bluewater president Darren G. Davis' own grandparents. Mark L. Miller crafts the story and manages to make it both heartfelt and terrifying and the art by Steve Babb brings it home. His characters are all sharp with odd angles, but it's a fantastic style that amplifies the story.

Read the HorrorTalk review here.

 

5. Planet of the Apes

In many cases, this was the year of the ape. Rise of the Planet of the Apes hit theaters in a big, chest-pounding way (although I have yet to see it) and we got not one, but two comics in the POTA universe from BOOM! Studios. The ongoing Planet of the Apes series is set 1,300 years before the original film, or a few years after the last one, depending on how you look at it. It shows the uneasy alliance between apes and humans, before society as a whole completely crumbles away. There are all new characters introduced here, but the book moves at such a fast pace that you don't mind that Taylor and Dr. Zaius aren't along for the ride. This is the Planet of the Apes movie that has an unlimited budget, so the scenes are huge and the battles are epic. Plus it's an ongoing series, so there are apes for the foreseeable future.

Read the HorrorTalk review here.

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4. Dear Creature

Jonathan Case again! While I liked, but didn't love, his work on Green River Killer, he blew me away in Dear Creature. This original graphic novel, written and drawn by Case, tells the tragic love story between a sea mutant and his agoraphobic girlfriend. It's heartbreaking, romantic and people die and get eaten by a monster in the water. Throughout the entire book, Grue (the sea mutant) is accompanied by a group of wise-cracking crabs that want nothing more than this monster to return to the depths and do what he does best: provide food for them by killing people.

Read the HorrorTalk review here.

 

 

3. Chimichanga

Dark Horse is the only publisher to appear on this list twice and for good reason. They released a ton of great horror books throughout the year, but Chimichanga really stood out. It's an all ages title written and illustrated by Goon creator Eric Powell. It's tells the touching tale of a little bearded girl and her pet monster who do battle against an evil pharmaceutical company. This is an incredibly funny comic and surprisingly kid-friendly, despite the fact that there's a monster that eats people in it.

Read the HorrorTalk review here.

 

2. Echoes

If this was the list of the Top 10 Scariest Comics of 2011, Echoes would easily have the top spot. This is a downright terrifying comic mainly because it's told in such a real life fashion. You can easily see the story happening to you or someone close to you and that makes it so much scarier. Echoes follows Brian Kohn, who learns that his father might be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of little girls. Kohn struggles with mental illness and nearly descends into madness as he looks for the truth. Joshua Hale Fialkov crafted such a creepy story here that's only helped along by the stark black-and-white artwork by Rahsan Ekedai. It lures you into a false sense of security so Fialkov can scare the crap out of you.

 

1. Witch Doctor

I'm just going to say this upfront: Witch Doctor was the most fun I've had reading a comic all year. This was a fast-paced, hilarious comic about an occult physician named Vincent Morrow who's coming to grips with his own destiny while running a medical practice that caters only to supernatural beings. Brandon Seifert's dialogue reminded me a lot of Warren Ellis, which is never a bad thing, and Lukas Ketner's art manages to walk the balance between stark medical drama and terrifying monster movie. The trade collecting the first four issues is out this month along with a one-shot called "The Resusciation." Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Read the HorrorTalk review here.

 

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