James' Top 10 Horror Comics of 2017
Written by James Ferguson
Here we are, folks, at the end of another miserable year. We thought we had it rough after 2016, but holy crap, was this year horrible at times. Fortunately, there are still great things in this world like ice cream, kangaroos, and my awesome pogs collection. That's not what we're here to talk about though. As with every year, I've read an insane amount of comics. This here is my list of the best of the best of horror comics released in 2017. These are the books that scared the crap out of me. They epitomize the best aspects of the horror genre as well as its sheer variety.
Before we begin, as always a quick reminder. This is my list based on the thousands of comics I've read over the past twelve months. Despite my best efforts, I haven't read every single horror comic. If there's a book that didn't make the list and you think it should, hit me up in the comments as I'd love to talk about it.
Also, I have had the pleasure of speaking to a bunch of the creators involved in the books mentioned below on my weekly horror comics podcast, Funny Book Splatter. It's an interview show where I speak to different creators each week, not only about their book(s), but the horror genre, and whatever else comes up in conversation. Please check it out wherever you get your podcasts. Now, on with the countdown!
10 – Dead of Winter (Oni Press)
Writer: Kyle Starks
While Dead of Winter is not the scariest comic of the year, it's definitely the most fun. Based on the series of table top games from Plaid Hat, the series follows a small group of survivors during the zombie apocalypse. I know, you've heard that premise a million times before, right? That's where the unique spin comes in. First off, the main character is a dog with a cape that hates zombies, like loathes the undead. This dog goes out of his way to kill so many zombies. At one point, he slices a mess of them in half with a friggin' katana. Let me say that again. A dog holding a katana in his mouth kills a lot of zombies. If that's not enough for you to go out and buy this now, there's no hope for you.
In addition to the great cast, Dead of Winter is packed with humor. There are numerous laugh-out-loud moments in every issue. This serves to break up the tension a bit, especially since these people are put through the ringer. If you thought the zombie genre was winding down, give Dead of Winter a shot because it will renew your interest in the undead.
9 – The House (Sucker Productions)
Writer: Philip Sevy
Talk about a book that came out of nowhere for me. This is a chilling haunted house story set during World War II. A group of soldiers seek shelter in what looks like an abandoned manor house only to find themselves trapped by mysterious forces. Hallways shift and move, causing them to go around in circles. There are times when they've escaped out a door or window only to turn around and find themselves back in the main entryway. This is a comic that you'll want to read with the lights on for fear of what might be lurking in the shadows.
6 – The Belfry (Image Comics)
Writer / Artist: Gabriel Hardman
Have you ever watched LOST and wondered what it would be like if the survivors of Oceanic 815 were immediately attacked by winged monsters? If so, The Belfry is for you. This one-shot was the very first title I added to my list this year. The comic uses the terror of a plane crash as its starting point, then adds in frightening gargoyle creatures to rattle the people that made it out alive. It's a fast-moving self-contained story, which is an art form in itself.
Review: The Belfry
5 – Harrow County (Dark Horse Comics)
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Few comics have been as consistently good and as consistently frightening as Harrow County. This really led the charge in the rise of the Southern horror comic we've seen in recent years. It follows a young girl named Emmy who learns she's the reincarnation of an evil witch that terrorized the area a few years ago...or is she? The story plays with the idea of destiny and whether or not one can escape it. More importantly, it includes some of the most chilling creations ever put to paper, such as the skinless boy (and separately, his skin) and assorted haints that have been lurking in the forests of Harrow County.
Tyler Crook's work, especially the creative ways he includes the title in the opening page of every issue, is breathtaking. It simultaneously captures the feeling of a hot summer day and a chill running up your spine.
2 – Plastic (Image Comics)
Plastic is a comic I can use to tell how much I will like a person. It's about Edwyn, a retired serial killer, and his soulmate Virginia...who happens to be a rubber sex doll. When Virginia is “kidnapped” by the mob, Edwyn is forced to get out his old tools and go on a blood-filled quest for revenge. This is very dark humor done very well. The kills are unlike anything you'll see in the theater with increasingly elaborate scenes of gore and violence. If this were a movie, the place would be filled with cheers at some of these deaths. It's twisted and demented, but so much fun for any horror fan.
So that's my list of the top 10 horror comics of 2017. What did you think? What's your list? Let me know in the comments!