13 Horror Comics and Graphic Novels You Need to be Reading in 2015

Comic books and graphic novels are arguably more popular than ever. Over the past two decades alone we’ve seen an explosion in the number publishers, and original titles are popping up like the victims of a George Romero flick.

In the last 15 years we’ve seen more comic books transferred to film than ever before. And you know what? That “nerd” moniker that any comic reader of the 1980s and 1990s was forced to carry has been entirely done away with. Not only are you not a nerd if you’ve got the latest 30 Days of Night graphic novel in your backpack, you pretty much fit in with most of the cool kids.

The times have changed.

Today digital comics sell like hotcakes. Showing up at your local comic book shop at opening time every Tuesday morning is no longer a mandatory move. Nowadays we’ve seen publishers toss their own catalogs up for sale via the good old “dot com.” And we’ve also got amazing outlets like Comixology that offer digital copies of damn near any book you’re itching to get your hands on. You don’t have to sit back and read them on a laptop or a PC. The files are fully tablet- and cellphone-compatible. You can read a comic just about anywhere you want, any way you want.

That’s another key element in the serious resurgence of the comic book.

At the end of the day, no matter how many publishers or retailers are out there, no matter how many different ways you can read your books, what’s really proven the turning point is the talent pool delivering the goods. As a kid I could name you the go-to, hands-down best authors and artists with ease. Nowadays the industry studs have multiplied in number to the point that it’s become difficult to keep up with the very best. There’s just so much talent in the field that it’s tough tracking it all down.

We’re hoping that by offering up this list of 13 amazing books we can turn you on to some killer creators you may not yet be familiar with. You’ll spot some “safe” names in this list, but you’ll notice not everyone in the lineup is on the cusp of household name status. Pick these books up and read them; you will not be disappointed in the least.

Afterlife with Archie (Archie Comics): Archie and a few friends who still remain alive attempt to thwart the oncoming rush of undead ghouls descending on Riverdale. But things won’t be easy. Tensions rise between all those with a pulse, but the focus on keeping flesh-eating monstrosities as far away as possible begins to take a toll. Can Archie keep the gang alive? For a youngster once known as pure to longtime Archie Comics fans, that seems a stretch, but the amazing Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa delivers a tale that instills hope. And as the conflict grows to fever pitch, the crafty author proves he has answers to lead this group through a nightmare once only dreamed of. Artist Francesco Francavilla brings eye-popping visuals to the book, and between the two… you just cannot go wrong with this masterpiece!

After Life With Archie

Re-Animator (Dynamite): Dynamite has been kicking serious ass this year, bringing engaging title after engaging title to the table. The new Re-Animator series isn’t one we’re sleeping on, at all. It’s not an earth-shattering tale by any means, but there are so many fantastic nods to Lovecraft (as is expected given the core concept) it’s hard not to smile at a legend being honored. A few unexpected betrayals and a well-written piece from writer Keith Davidsen with some solid artwork from Randy Valiente lie in wait. If you’ve yet to experiment with any Re-Animator graphic novels or brief comic runs, this is an excellent alpha point.

Reanimator

Southern Hospitality (Approbation Comics): A longtime sucker for all things slasher, B. Alex Thompson’s Southern Hospitality instantly won my heart over. It isn’t an overly complex story but rather a very straightforward slasher tale with a twist or two in waiting. The characters are all well fleshed out and the dialogue is handled in realistic fashion. It all boils down to a group of 20-somethings in a desolate area who find themselves being stalked by an unknown mass murderer with an awfully sharp blade. It’s bound to take you back in time to the 80s, and that seems to be the goal. Look for appealing yet grainy artwork from Kevin Richardson, who doesn’t once let down, and look to be sucked into this one quickly. It seems a lot of writers fear entering worn territory, but that trepidation has led to a dearth of books like this, which are a very welcome commodity.

Southern Hospitality


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Matt Molgaard

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