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!

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10 – Dead of Winter (Oni Press)

Writer: Kyle Starks
Artist: Gabo

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.

Reviews: Dead of Winter #1 | Dead of Winter #2 | Dead of Winter #3 | Dead of Winter #4

 

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9 – The House (Sucker Productions)

Writer: Philip Sevy
Artist: Drew Zucker
Colorist: Jen Hickman

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.

Reviews: The House #1 & #2 | The House #3 | The House #4 | The House #5 | The House #6 | The House #7

 

 

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8 – Redneck (Image Comics)

Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Lisandro Estherren
Colorist: Dee Cunniffe

Sometimes you hear a premise and it makes complete sense. The Bowmans are a family of vampires who run a barbeque joint in a small town in Texas. They live off the blood from the cows and things are relatively quiet. Then one of them turns up dead, which brings the Bowmans to war with the local human populace.

Where Redneck excels is with the characters. They are real people that you instantly connect with, so much so that you forget they're monsters. Throughout the first volume, you learn about their past and what connects them which makes the hardships they go through all the more impactful. If you read one vampire story this year, make it Redneck.

Reviews: Redneck #1 | Redneck #2 | Redneck #4 | Redneck #6 | Redneck #7

 

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7 – Jughead: The Hunger (Archie Comics)

Writer: Frank Tieri
Artist: Michael Walsh, Pat & Tim Kennedy
Colorist: Michael Walsh, Dee Cunniffe, Matt Herms

Everyone's favorite glutton, Jughead Jones, is a werewolf on the run from distinguished hunter, Betty Cooper. Yes, this is as awesome as it sounds. All of the Archie Horror titles have maintained an incredibly high level of quality as they put characters we've loved for decades into dire and terrifying situations. Jughead: The Hunger is no different. This started as a one-shot and thankfully has been turned into an ongoing series. It would have been on this list if it was just the one-shot too.

The artwork creates a moody atmosphere with great shadow work and piercing reds. The werewolf design is terrifying and so very monstrous. It harkens back to an exploitation era horror flick.

Reviews: Jughead: The Hunger #0 | Jughead: The Hunger #1 | Jughead: The Hunger #2

 

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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

 

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5 – Harrow County (Dark Horse Comics)

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Tyler Crook

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.

Reviews: Harrow County #22 | Harrow County #23 | Harrow County #27

 

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4 – Aliens: Dead Orbit (Dark Horse Comics)

Writer / Artist: James Stokoe

There's a formula to most Aliens stories. Take a ragtag crew and a handful of Xenomorphs and mix them up in a cramped spaceship and you've got yourself some sci-fi horror. What separates Dead Orbit from the rest is how intense it is from beginning to end. James Stokoe creates an uneasy feeling of dread that will have you constantly looking over your shoulder. He does everything in this book, including the lettering, making a total package of terror. His artwork is second to none with some of the most impressive images of the year. This comic reignited my interest in the Aliens franchise, especially with the final chapter that feels like a million-a-minute roller coaster ride.

Reviews: Aliens: Dead Orbit #1 | Aliens: Dead Orbit #2 | Aliens: Dead Orbit #4

 

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3 – Babyteeth (AfterShock Comics)

Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Garry Brown
Colorist: Mark Englert

Sadie Ritter just gave birth to the Antichrist. That's a helluva way to start a comic, huh? As with Redneck, Donny Cates' other title on this list, Babyteeth's strong point is its characters. The book takes time to establish the people in this world, making you care about them before putting them into insane and petrifying situations. Having a kid can be scary enough on its own, but it's nothing compared to what Sadie goes through. This sweet, nerdy girl just wants to care for her kid, even if it will only drink blood. Every issue raises the stakes and gets more and more intense. It's told in flashback with Sadie narrating alone from a desolate area. We're slowly learning how she got from the child's birth to this point. I have no idea how we'll get there, but I cannot wait to find out.

Reviews: Babyteeth #1 | Babyteeth #3 | Babyteeth #4 | Babyteeth #5 | Babyteeth #6

 

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2 – Plastic (Image Comics)

Writer: Doug Wagner
Artist: Daniel Hillyard
Colorist: Laura Martin

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.

Reviews: Plastic #1 | Plastic #2 | Plastic #3 | Plastic #4 | Plastic #5

 

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1 – The Unsound (BOOM! Studios)

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Jack T. Cole

Ashli started her new job at Wiermont Psychiatric Hospital like you would any other job. She meets some new people and gets an idea of what she'll be doing on a day-to-day basis. Then she starts noticing that things are a little...off about this place. She keeps finding razor blades. One of the patients hides his face with a paper plate mask with his features appearing to move beneath it to line up with its holes. Ashli quickly descends into the bowels of the hospital as patients revolt. She's sent down into rooms that should not exist with features that boggle the mind.

The Unsound is a comic that scared the crap out of me on numerous occasions. It's the most unsettling thing I've read all year and only intensifies with every chapter. The book plays with the concept of insanity, showing you things that just shouldn't be, forcing you to try and fail to wrap your head around them. You know when H.P. Lovecraft talked about seeing things that would drive a person crazy because they just couldn't comprehend them? He was talking about The Unsound. Just thinking about it now is making me shiver.

Reviews: The Unsound #1 | The Unsound #2 | The Unsound #4 | The Unsound #5

 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!

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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