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Top Ten Horror Releases of 2018

Written by James Ferguson

As we stand at the end of another year, we take the opportunity to look back on all the awesome comics that came out in 2018. Sure, other things happened to, but I'm here for the funny books. At the time of this writing, I've read 2,144 comics and graphic novels this year. While not all of those were horror-related, a good amount of them were and I've endeavored to read as much spooky stuff as I possibly could. As such, I've got a list of the best of the best the horror genre has to offer this year in the wonderful world of comics.

I've had the opportunity to speak to a number of the creators that are mentioned in this list on my horror comics podcast, Funny Book Splatter. If you haven't checked it out yet, please give it a listen. It's an interview show where I speak to writers, artists, colorists, and more about their comics, the horror genre, and whatever else comes up in conversation. Check it out wherever you get your podcasts. Now, let's get this show on the road.

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10 - Cursed Comics Calvacade (DC Comics)

Writers: James Tynion IV, Bryan Hill, Tim Seeley, Riley Rossmo, Gary Dauberman, Vita Ayala, Gabriel Hardman, Corinna Bechko, Magdalene Visaggio, and Michael Moreci
Artists: Mark Buckingham, Andrew Pepoy, Riley Rossmo, Ricardo Federici, Kyle Hotz, Victor Ibanez, Gabriel Hardman, Minkyu Jung, Felipe Watanabe, Jonas Trindade, Dexter Soy, and Christian Duce
Colorists: Ivan Plascencia, Sunny Gho, Matthew Wilson, Trish Mulvihill, Jordie Bellaire, Romulo Fajardo Jr, and Veronica Gandini
Letterers: Steve Wands, Clayton Cowles, Tom Napolitano, Josh Reed, Deron Bennett, and Carlos M. Mangual

DC Comics has been on a roll with its Halloween anthologies and I sincerely hope the publisher keeps this up. It allows a number of creators to explore the darker side of the DC Universe, which is more than just super scary characters like Swamp Thing and Clayface. Here we get everyone from Superman and Batman to Black Lightning and Zatanna tackling things that go bump in the night.

I feel The super hero genre is often looked over when it comes to horror, but the fact of the matter is these characters are facing untold terrors day in and day out. It's just masked under the guise of capes and spandex. Cursed Comics Calvacade digs into this in the best possible ways, showing that even someone like the Man of Steel can be shaken to his core.

Review: Cursed Comics Calvacade #1

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9 – Cosmic Ghost Rider (Marvel Comics)

Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Dylan Burnett
Colorist: Antonio Fabela
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

If this was a list of the most fun comics of the year, Cosmic Ghost Rider would be right at the top. It is an amazing story of Frank Castle, the Punisher who dies and becomes the Ghost Rider, then becomes a Herald of Galactus imbued with the Power Cosmic, and finally serves as the right hand of Thanos. Frank is trying to redeem himself and he figures the best way to do that is to fix Thanos. He goes back in time and snatches the infant Mad Titan before he can get so...well...mad. Frank can't bring himself to kill the little tyke, but instead tries to raise him as his own and this goes horribly.

Cosmic Ghost Rider could have just been an all-out insane ride through the cosmic corners of the Marvel Universe. Instead, it uses that as a starting point and builds a healthy bit of character development with Frank as he struggles with his past and his constant failure to do good, plus some fantastic humor. Dylan Burnett's artwork makes the comic feel like it's going to explode in your hands at any moment with jaw-dropping visuals that are straight out of the greatest metal album that's never been created.

Reviews: Cosmic Ghost Rider #1 | Cosmic Ghost Rider #2 | Cosmic Ghost Rider #3 | Cosmic Ghost Rider #5

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8 – Gravetrancers (Black Mask Studios)

Writer: M.L. Miller
Artist: James Whynot
Colorist: Dee Cunniffe
Letterer: Jim Campbell

If you want a comic that's going to keep you on your toes, look no further than Gravetrancers. This book hits hard and fast with constant twists and turns, each more bizarre than the last. It follows a brother and sister as they visit their father's grave in an effort to get some closure only to find pure unbridled terror. The family that runs the cemetery is using corpses to make a new kind of highly addictive drug and things only get more bonkers from here.

Gravetrancers is very reminiscent of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. This family is messed up in the darkest ways imaginable and no one is safe. Any one of these characters could be brutally murdered at a moment's notice. This is a frightening read from beginning to end.

Reviews: Gravetrancers #1 | Gravetrancers #2 | Gravetrancers #3 | Gravetrancers #4

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7 – Harrow County (Dark Horse Comics)

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Tyler Crook

One of the best horror series in recent years came to a close in June. While it's devastating that we don't get any more Harrow County on the stands, it could not have had a better ending. Creators Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook stuck the landing so well, bringing Emmy's story to such a satisfying and terrifying conclusion.

We spent time with Emmy, seeing her grow as a person and fighting her own destiny. Since we were so invested in the character – and by extension, the people and monsters around her – it made the series mean so much more. The horrors this young girl faces feel real and cut deep. This, coupled with Crook's incredible artwork, makes for a powerful one-two punch. Crook conveys a ton of emotion in every panel with his characters, amplifying every moment with gorgeous landscapes that set the tone for each scene, from the most harrowing to the occasional glimmer of hope.

Reviews: Harrow County #29 | Harrow County #30 | Harrow County #31 | Harrow County #32

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6 – Gideon Falls (Image Comics)

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Steve Wands

Jeff Lemire made his horror debut with Gideon Falls and it is quite an opening number. This chilling story follows a dual narrative with a disgraced priest on one side and a man battling mental illness on the other. The two are linked by the mysterious and haunting Black Barn. At first, their connection isn't clear, but at the end of the first arc, a stunning revelation changes everything. This is the kind of thing that forces you to go back and re-read the previous issues for hints at what is to come.

What puts Gideon Falls over the top is Andrea Sorrentino's stellar artwork. He creates new and interesting ways to tell a story, stretching the boundaries of the comic book medium. Sorrentino is constantly in control of the pacing, guiding you through each frightening detail of the story as you get pulled deeper and deeper into the abyss.

Reviews: Gideon Falls #1 | Gideon Falls #2 | Gideon Falls #6 | Gideon Falls #8

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5 – The Immortal Hulk (Marvel Comics)

Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Joe Bennett
Inker: Ruy Jose
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Cory Petit

In case you couldn't tell from some of the other entries on this list, this was the year that horror really infiltrated the super hero genre. There is no better example of this than The Immortal Hulk. Sure, the Hulk is literally a monster, but this book takes that idea to the next level. Bruce Banner was killed, but his green buddy won't let him die. Instead, the Hulk rises every night like some kind of vampire zombie, dealing out his own form of justice before shrinking away with the sunrise.

The Immortal Hulk has gone in some pretty crazy directions so far, exploring Bruce Banner's tortured psyche, his relationship to his other half, and the horrors he faces on a daily basis. The most recent arc has the Hulk cut up into dozens of pieces and then willing his body back together in some horrifying visuals. To make matters worse (or better, depending on who you speak to), he absorbs a mad scientist while this is going on, so you see this guy's arms struggling to break free as he's pulled in by the green flesh of the Hulk. Think about that the next time you watch the Avengers.

Reviews: Immortal Hulk #1 | Immortal Hulk #2 | Immortal Hulk #5 | Immortal Hulk #8

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4 – Babyteeth (AfterShock Comics)

Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Garry Brown
Colorist: Mark Englert
Letterer: Taylor Esposito

As with Cosmic Ghost Rider, Donny Cates' other entry on this list, Babyteeth is driven by incredible and well-developed characters. Sadie Ritter gave birth to the Anti-Christ and that has turned her life upside down. She's become a target from cults and assassins looking to get their hands on her little bundle of joy and all she wants to do is provide a safe, happy home for the kid. This latest arc has taken her and her family to Hell itself and the untold atrocities that await within.

The horrors that Sadie faces feel all the more important and frightening because of how close we feel to her as a character. It's easy to see a bit of yourself in this quiet, nerdy girl. Her father and sister are the best support system around and will do absolutely anything to keep Sadie and her son safe. This has resulted in some terrific and emotional moments that break up the non-stop tension this series holds. Garry Brown's artwork brings that out in the best way, saying so much with a single glance.

Reviews: Babyteeth #9 | Babyteeth #10 | Babyteeth #12 | Babyteeth #13

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3 – Morte (Source Point Press)

Writer: Kevin Joseph
Artist: D.A. Bishop

Out of all the comics I read this year, Morte hit the hardest. It's a somber and moving tale of the last man on earth as he works to put the corpses of everyone around him to rest. This is a silent comic with only a single, powerful word of dialogue in the entire thing. D.A. Bishop conveys so much emotion on every page, driving home the stark feeling of loneliness our protagonist is going through.

We don't know how or why everyone else has died or why he survived. That doesn't matter to the story one bit. What we do see is what this man has chosen to do with this time left on this planet. If I was in that position, I would be eating pizza every day and reading every book ever written. He's clearly a better man than I, doing some noble and thankless work that is emotionally trying. It's rare that a horror comic can move you, but this one will certainly do so.

Review: Morte

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2 – Infidel (Image Comics)

Writer: Pornsak Pichetshote
Artist: Aaron Campbell
Colorist: Jose Villarubia
Letterer: Jeff Powell

Few comics were as relevant as Infidel in 2018. This stunning book confronted the horrors of racism, manifesting them into real-life monsters that have been haunting a New York apartment building for years. They feed on the xenophobic tendencies of the residents, growing and morphing into hideous creatures that defy imagination. Artist Aaron Campbell makes these specters appear like they're from another dimension entirely. Your mind will struggle to understand what it's seeing as these things just should not exist.

Infidel definitely has a message mixed in, but it's blended well and not so blatant that you're seeing that “The More You Know” banner fly across the page. It's a comic that will not only scare the crap out of you, but will make you think.

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

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1 – Come Into Me (Black Mask Studios)

Writers: Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler
Artist: Piotr Kowalski
Colorist: Niko Guardia
Letterer: Ryan Ferrier

If you ask anyone about their social media usage, they'll probably tell you that they use it too much and would like to cut down, but it's so hard. Well, read Come Into Me and you might be logging out of Facebook pretty quickly. This comic looks at what the next phase of social media could be. In an era where we're sharing more and more information about ourselves, the final frontier becomes your innermost thoughts. A company comes up with a technology that allows people to take a ride in someone else's head. See the world how they do and experience their every thought, whim, and memory.

Of course, this goes horribly wrong when two people get stuck in one body, each fighting for control. It results in some of the best body horror of the year as this man's entire being starts to revolt against him. It's horrifying to watch, but impossible to look away.

Setting this apart is how creative the artwork gets. It's one thing to say that two people are riding around together in one mind, but it's another to show it. The images blend together, like tracking on a VHS tape, flipping from one perspective to another. You find yourself questioning which one of these people deserves to live, which is a chilling thought. While all the comics on this list are scary in some shape or fashion, none of them scare me the way Come Into Me does.

Reviews: Come Into Me #1 | Come Into Me #2 | Come Into Me #3 | Come Into Me #4

 So that does it for this year's best of the bloodiest in horror comics. What did you think? What does your list look like? Leave a comment below to share.

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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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