This October we’re celebrating “Horror Month” on the Full Sail Blog. Stay tuned over the coming weeks for a series of features and interviews celebrating the best in horror entertainment.
Graphic novels make an ideal medium for horror. The blend of visuals and text on paper allow you to hold a work in your hand and immerse yourself in each frame of terror – or even skip past them.
Looking for a Halloween-themed reading list this month, we checked in with Roland Mann and Sid Williams – two of our resident comic experts, and instructors from our Creative Writing program. Roland has nearly 30 years of experience in the comic book industry as a writer and editor, including positions at Malibu and Marvel, while Sid is a published horror author of over a dozen novels and comics.
The following are their combined picks for the top five horror graphic novels, as well as a few extra choices worth your consideration.
1. Arkham Asylum: A Serious House of Earth (Grant Morrison)
Roland Mann: Arkham is not the first dark Batman book, that would be The Dark Knight Returns, but I think that this was the first one that really dealt with such a serious tone.
Sid Williams: It has beautifully dark artwork. Batman and the Joker in a very horrific fashion. It really explores the nature and the depth of their relationship with some scary images, and has a great grunge feel to it.
2. From Hell (Alan Moore)
SW: It’s a Jack the Ripper story of course, and the artwork is black and white which really captures the tone of the period. It’s a neat deployment of the Ripper mystery, and there’s so much rich historical detail in it, which contributes to the mood. You can almost dub it Victorian noir.
RM: It’s hard to conceive of any top list without an Alan Moore book. I’m a big fan of black and white artwork. This is not something that draws a lot of readers, but one of the things I like about it is that a good artist can convey mood a lot stronger in black and white than they can in color. This is a great example of that.
3. Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes (Neil Gaiman)
SW: This is the first Sandman story arc, and just blends so many cool components that I’ve always really liked it. It’s firmly in the DC Comics universe, and yet does it in such twisted ways, and uses interesting characters. It has both a gothic and contemporary horror feel, and Neil Gaiman is just brilliant.
RM: Sandman was Gaiman’s introduction to the American audience too. This was all the rage when it was being published, and still very influential to this day.
4. Hellblazer: The Family Man (Jamie Delano, Dick Foreman, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison)
SW: The particular arc that makes an impression is called The Family Man. It has a similar flavor to Sandman, but with a little more grunge. John Constantine is such a flawed and dark hero, that he anticipated a lot of the antiheroes that we’re in love with on TV today. Dark, moody, and mean streets, blended with a little noir.
5. Locke and Key series (Joe Hill)
RM: Locke and Key is the more modern representative, just a great series with an interesting art style.
SW: Stephen King’s son actually wrote. it. This series is about a family moves into an old dark house, and they start to unlock a lot of past secrets. It has magic, and has a great Lovecraft flavor for Halloween.
Also of note: Batman: The Long Halloween (Jeff Loeb), The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor Archives (Donald Glut), Renfield (Gary Reed), Swamp Thing (Alan Moore), Scary Book (Sid Williams), The Walking Dead (Robert Kirkman).