It's Halloween at The Outhouse, and the Nerds of the Roundtable cower in fear of their favorite horror comics!
In Outhouse Roundtable, Royal Nonesuch gathers the writing staff of The Outhouse to find out where they stand in the landscape of comic book fandom. The formula is simple: one question, a joyous multitude of answers.
Week 14: What are some of your favorite horror comic book stories?
I'll never get over what I felt when I first read Junji It's compelling horror manga Uzumaki. The story hinges on these odd spiral shapes that keep occuring in nature in a small town in Japan ("uzumaki" is Japanese for "spiral"). The spirals keep getting more and more prevalent that the townspeople become hopelessly obsessed with them. I won't give away where the story goes from there, but the fact is, Uzumaki features some of the most terrifying and disturbing body horrow I've ever seen, both in and out of comics. It's frightening and disturbing, and it's a damn great comic book story.
One of my all time favorite horror series ever in comics would have to be Clive Barker's Nightbreed! This series carried over from the movie Nightbreed which was an adaptation of Clive Barker's novel Cabal. One standout story features one of my all time favorite characters – whom I consider the Wolverine of the Barkerverse – Peloquin!
Miracle Man #14 & 15. What Kid Miracleman does to London was truly one of the most terrifying things ever seen on the printed page. One of, but not the most. That honor goes to what Bates does to the nurse that was kind to him:
Never before or since, out of all the years I've read comics, have I ever been more horrified.
The two Batman Halloween specials (before Loeb and Sale did The Long Halloween) were both fun specials that illuminated the holiday for me.
Though not horror per se, I always enjoyed reading stories about the Goblins (Green Goblin and Hobgoblin) around Halloween. Nothing says trick or treat more to me than a dude in a goblin mask lobbing a pumpkin bomb.
Strange Embrace is David Hine's best work, if I may say so, and is one of the most disturbing things I've read in comics without it really being gory. It's a story about love, obsession, alienation, sexual longing and perversion, pain and tragedy and it's a study on the human psyche and just how much people can affect each other. We're introduced to a cast of characters, all relating to each other in some form and are introduced to us by Alex Lynch, a psychic vampire-like man who thrives on stories and figuring out everyone's dirty little secret. If it kills you in the process, then it's a happy ending for him. Here we find out his next pursuit, frail old hermit, Anthony Corbeau, and Sukumar, his new audience, as the mystery story unravels into a downward spiral horror tale.
If there is one spooky comic that sticks out in my mind, it has to be Saga of the Swamp Thing #21 "The Anatomy Lesson", the first issue of the Alan Moore run. Not only is it iconic in Moore's career but it's a pretty messed up story. It reads more like a detective story, but Moore, Bissette and Totleben do a great job of creating an eerie haunted house vibe in the technologically sound Sunderland building. In addition, Woodrue's narration is filled with spite for Sunderland and casts a very dark mood over the entire story. Woodrue's simple mention of the rain outside emphasizes a creeping, dark vengeance that grows throughout the story, and eventually reaches a climax with Woodrue's powerful evil laugh. The entire run is dark and includes some pretty scary storylines. I love "Ghost Dance" and the two-part "Southern Change/Strange Fruit" stories. Definitely a run worth reading for the horror elements, even if they may be tame by Greg standards.
Definitely Neil Gaiman and Michael Zulli's The Last Temptation, the comic based on Alice Cooper's album of the same name (or built around on, I should say). It's a morality play dressed up as a stage show, with The Showman (drawn to look as a creepier Alice Cooper) seducing a young boy named Steven with worldly pleasures...for a price.
The story's unsettling and weird, and the imagery is potential nightmare fuel. From The Showman using a dead man's head as a puppet to emaciated ghouls in skin-suits...Zulli is sick and twisted and his art often left me wide awake the nights after I read the whole thing. Gaiman leaves a good ending to all this, though it depends on what your definition of 'good' is.
Sandman #6 "24 Hours"
Issues 5, 6, and 7 of Neil Gaiman's Sandman conclude Dream's search for his lost totems. Issue 5 shows how John Dee, a.k.a. Doctor Destiny gained possession of Dream's ruby and his escape from Arkham and his travels to a diner where he sets up his experiments.
But, #6 is where the shit hits the fan. Nothing I have read since (to be fair, I am not really into horror comics) has come close to creeping me out as much as watching Dee expand and retract his control on the population of the diner. From Dee being worshipped as a god to causing the other customers to harm themselves and each other, every panel of this comic dives deeper into the dregs. One of the most impressive aspects of this comic is that Gaiman takes the risk of not having his main character show up until the last couple of panels. For the reader, there is no sense of hope or salvation from the hero because the hero is nowhere to be found.
This is by far one of my favorite singel issues of comics ever, and also the issue I warn people about when they borrow my Sandman books.
Well obviously The Walking Dead is probably the best horror comic going, but I don't actually find the book to be particularly scary. I'm interested in the book more for the human drama than the Zombies.
I actually can't think of many horror comics that have actually scared me, books like American Vampire, iZombie, Preacher, Ghost Rider and Swamp Thing have horror elements, but they use them to tell action stories, not stuff that's actually scary, but more fun. So I'm going to say the "Franken-Castle" arc of Punisher is my favourite horror comic, it turned Frank Castle into a Frankenstein, and used a load of classic Marvel horror characters like Werewolf-By-Night and Morbius and was just a hell of a lot of fun.
Written or Contributed by: Royal Nonesuch
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About the Author - Royal Nonesuch
As Senior Media Correspondent (which may be a made-up title), Royal Nonesuch tends to spearhead a lot of film and television content on The Outhouse. He's still a very active participant in the comic book section of the site, though. Nonesuch writes reviews of film, television, and comics, and conducts interviews for the site as well. You can reach out to him on Twitter or with Email.
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