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James' Top 10 Horror Comics of 2020

Written by James Ferguson

2020 was a year like no other with a whole lot of horrible things, however, it did lead to some terrific horror comics. While I did not read every single comic that came out, I did read a bunch of them. At the time of this writing, I've read over 1,600 comics this year. Out of all those, I picked out the best of the bloodiest to provide you with my list of the top ten horror comics of 2020. Check out the full list below.

small-coverBuy from Amazon 10. Dracula, Motherf*cker! (Image Comics)

Writer: Alex de Campi
Artist: Erica Henderson

I cannot tell you how many times I've seen and read the story of Dracula through all kinds of lenses. Dracula, Motherf*cker! is the first one in quite some time that feels fresh and exciting. It takes us to 1970s Los Angeles for an epic battle between the immortal vampire and his brides, with a crime scene photographer stuck in the middle.

Writer Alex de Campi guides us through a brilliant idea, which artist Erica Henderson blows the doors off. This book is like no other, with a sweeping, horrifying style that flows seamlessly from one image to the next, each working deliberately and specifically to move the story forward at a breakneck pace. And the Dracula design! What a monster!

Review: Dracula, Motherf*cker!

small-coverBuy from Amazon 9. Hotell (AWA Studios)

Writer: John Lees
Artist: Dalibor Talajic
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Sal Cipriano

A small hotel off the interstate is a perfect place for a horror story and Hotell delivers four, all woven together in an increasingly eerie fashion. There's a supernatural element to this setting that links the tales together (not to mention leaving the door wide open for many more stories) that's mixed with a human element. There's a woman fleeing an abusive relationship at home or a man taking his lover out once and for all...only for her to keep coming back. Needless to say, this book will have you rethinking those travel plans, especially if you're out on a desolate highway.

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

small-coverBuy from Amazon 8. Basketful of Heads (DC Comics / Hill House Comics)

Writer: Joe Hill
Artist: Leomacs
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Deron Bennett

When DC announced a horror imprint helmed by Joe Hill, I took notice. The first title, Basketful of Heads, penned by Hill, is a real standout of the bunch, following a young woman caught in some trouble in a small town. Fortunately, she picks up a mysterious Viking axe capable of taking a man's head off with one swing.

What really sells this book is Leomacs' gorgeous artwork, bringing out the innocence in our protagonist as she fights off attackers while the rains poor down all around her. A mystery unfolds throughout the seven chapters that gets more compelling with each turn of the page, not to mention the tense horrors that await with another swing of the axe. The title is very accurate for this book.

Reviews: Basketful of Heads #2 | Basketful of Heads #7

small-coverBuy from Amazon 7. Batman: The Smile Killer (DC Black Label)

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Steve Wands

To followup the super creepy Joker: Killer Smile, the creative team gave us a one-shot from a different perspective. It centers on a young Bruce Wayne, not as the Dark Knight, but as a child struggling with sanity. The varied rogues gallery that defined his super hero life is all in his head. Could this mental illness have somehow contributed to the death of his parents?

This is a chilling look at insanity and tragedy, pulled along by a kid's TV show featuring the Clown Prince of Crime. Artist Andrea Sorrentino turns in some outstanding work, ratcheting up the terror and tension as we descend into this horrifying spiral. It shows what kind of horror is possible even with the capes and tights crowd.

Review: Batman: The Smile Killer

small-coverBuy from Amazon 6. Redfork (TKO Studios)

Writer: Alex Paknadel
Artist: Nil Vendrell
Colorist: Giulia Brusco
Letterer: Ryan Ferrier

Small town horror was a theme this year and few did it better than Redfork. The original graphic novel focuses on a mining town that's been bled dry by a local corporation and opioid abuse. Hope springs up from the ground with the mysterious Gallowglass, seemingly curing the locals of what ails them...but at what cost?

Redfork hits on multiple levels. It's a tense thriller with a heaping helping of body horror and a side of family drama. This makes the scares more impactful and the terror more unsettling. The fact that we can so easily identify with the desperation of the townsfolk with everything that's gone on this year makes it resonate even more.

Review: Redfork

small-coverBuy from Amazon 5. Sweet Heart (Action Lab Entertainment)

Writer: Dillon Gilbertson
Artist: Francesco Iaquinta
Colorist: Marco Pagnotta
Letterer: Saida Temofonte

What began as a Kickstarter campaign in 2019 rampaged forward through Action Lab this year. This amazing series feels like a spiritual successor to Wytches, looking at a monstrous kind of family drama. Sweet Heart uses monsters as a metaphor for chronic illnesses like diabetes. Once a creature has your scent, you're stuck with it for life. You might get ahead of it here and there, but it will always find you.

This ominous tone contrasts with the feeling of hope young Maddie has as she searches for a way to free herself of this burden. She didn't ask for this. It was thrust upon her, yet she's determined to find a way out. Artist Francesco Iaquinta's designs for the monsters are out of this world, like the descendants of the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Reviews: Sweet Heart #3 | Sweet Heart #4 | Sweet Heart #5

small-coverBuy from Amazon 4. Mountainhead (IDW Publishing)

Writer: John Lees
Artist: Ryan Lee
Colorist: Doug Garbark
Letterer: Shawn Lee

Not that I needed another reason to avoid the outside world, but Mountainhead safely crosses off hikes and mountain climbing from my activities list. (Let's be real though, they weren't on there to begin with.) Another example of small-town horror, this series centers on Abraham Stubbs as his whole world is turned upside down after learning the grifter that's been raising him is not his actual father. When he returns to his real home, he encounters oddities galore, leading up to pure mind-melting terror waiting up on Mount Rector.

What stands out with this series is how varied and dynamic the visuals are. Artist Ryan Lee goes all out with some of the most compelling artwork of the year that really brings this story home, mixing the personal drama of Abraham and those around him with some of the most insane-looking monsters around. Also, writer John Lees makes his second appearance on this list! The guy knows a thing or two about horror comics.

Reviews: Mountainhead #4 | Mountainhead #5

small-coverBuy from Amazon 3. It Eats What Feeds It (Scout Comics)

Writers: Max Hoven and Aaron Crow
Artist: Gabriel Iumazark

Of all the comics on this list, this was the one that came out of nowhere for me. It wasn't on my radar at all, but it earned a spot here right after I read it. No doubt about it. If you missed this one at first, do yourself a favor and seek it out. This three-issue mini-series follows Kenny, a young man answering a classified ad to work at a creepy mansion. The gig doesn't seem so bad and the owner is a beautiful woman. The only real rule is he's supposed to stay away from that one room. You know where this is going, right?

Over a short amount of time, we are completely engulfed in this mystery. The dangers get bigger and harder to ignore, but Kenny just keeps soldiering on. This gig is too sweet and once he starts shacking up with the lady of the house, it's all downhill for him. Gabriel Iumazark's artwork is haunting, creating an eerie tone even during the middle of the day.

Review: It Eats What Feeds It

small-coverBuy from Amazon 2. Something is Killing the Children (BOOM! Studios)

Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Werther Dell'Edera
Colorist: Miquel Muerto
Letterer: AndWorld Design

If you ever watched a show like Supernatural and wondered what happened to all the normal people the Winchesters left behind, you need to read Something is Killing the Children. This comic focuses on the small town (noticing that theme yet?) of Archer's Peak as it's thrown into chaos as a monster is...well...killing the children. A young woman named Erica Slaughter waltzes in, claiming to be able to stop this madness. Is she crazy?

This comic explores the ideas of denial and how the human mind tries to rationalize that which it doesn't understand. The townsfolk are desperate for this bloodshed to end and they're angry at the very idea of Erica coming in the way she does. Is she connected to all this in some way? Is she to blame?

What started as a solid monster hunter book has quickly grown to establish a vast mythos as we dig deeper into Erica's employer and the lengths they will go to snuff out the monsters. The creatures are frightening and unnatural, often presented in double-page spreads to soak in every last detail. This was my #1 pick on this list until...

Reviews: Something is Killing the Children #5 | Something is Killing the Children #6 | Something is Killing the Children #9 | Something is Killing the Children #10

small-coverBuy from Amazon 1. The Department of Truth (Image Comics)

Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Martin Simmonds
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar

The Department of Truth could not have debuted at a more perfect time. The country was in the midst of political news and controversy in the buildup to the election and here comes this comic pulling from all the insane conspiracy theories we've seen pop up in recent years. Everything is on the table, from flat-Earthers to lizard people and more. The idea is that if enough people believe in something, it can manifest in the real world. No, it's not like believing in fairies in Peter Pan. It takes on a much more sinister tone.

Artist Martin Simmonds is a powerhouse in The Department of Truth, creating an unsettling visual style that seeps right into your bones. It works perfectly with the ideas on display and how we're forced to question what is real. The artwork plays like a fever dream at times, with images that make you feel uncomfortable, yet you have to continue.

What sealed the deal for The Department of Truth was its third issue, which shook me. This book scared me in a way that few comics ever have. It is downright terrifying and has very much earned the top spot as the #1 horror comic of 2020. And, we're only a few issues in. If this is what it can do with just three chapters, imagine what else is in store for us.

Reviews: The Department of Truth #1 | The Department of Truth #2 | The Department of Truth #3

So that's how I see things for the horror comic space in 2020. There are other titles I can go into for honorable mentions and there would be quite a few of those. What's on your list? Hit me up on Twitter or Facebook to let me know!

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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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