Creators have to innovate in order to achieve nightmare status, and horror is a constant competition where each iteration ups the ante. Luckily, Image Comics publishes some of the most sinister storytellers in all comics. This list highlights some of the most eerie and dread-inducing titles guaranteed to send a chill through your spine as Halloween approaches.
The Black Monday Murders
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Tomm Coker
The Black Monday Murders is an economic thriller whose dwarfing scope only becomes apparent as each issue unfurls. Power, money, and infernal magic fuel the Rothschild family, one of many clans that control the financial tides of the globe. It doesn’t take long to find out what they’ll do to maintain their position as financial dukes in the hellish cogs of supply and demand. The creative team crafts a series as haunting as it is intricate, as beautiful as it is horrifying. Tomm Coker does a stellar job capturing sterile business culture contrasted alongside eldritch dread, and Jonathan Hickman’s acidic dialogue shows why he’s easily one of the best writers in comics today.
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Mark Torres
Cullen Bunn has proven himself to be a master of horror, and with Cold Spots, he reveals how much of the genre remains to be explored. This title excels in moody terror, constituting one of the most relentlessly atmospheric books to come out in years. Cold Spots follows Dan Kerr, a not-so-great father forced to face strange and otherworldly threats if he ever wants to see his loved ones again. The tragedy is made all the more profound by artist Mark Torres’ deep shadows and washed-out colors that brush up against the psychedelic. Just wait until the third issue, where the ghostly apparitions take on visceral new form—solidifying, seemingly freezing their forms to show their malicious nature.
Writers: James Asmus, Joseph Keatinge, Christopher Sebela, Joshua Williamson
Artists: Joe Infurnari, Jordan Boyd
Evolution is a perfect example of collaboration in comics. Putting this many creators on one story—storytellers who are some of the best minds in the business—ensures that it’ll burst with vibrant, horrible ideas, and Evolution truly does offer. The authors base this ongoing Skybound series in the realm of body horror, with humanity rapidly transforming into its next stage of lurid, repulsive evolution. Expect all manner of bug-like appendages, holes where there shouldn’t be holes, and lumps where there shouldn’t be lumps.
Writer/Artist: Rob Guillory
Colorist: Taylor Wells
Rob Guillory cultivated some truly unsettling imagery in Chew, his previous 60-issue-plus culinary opus with writer John Layman. But that series about a corpse-munching detective didn’t hamper Guillory’s appetite for food-centric horror. Farmhand, his latest project that he both writes and draws, follows Ezekiel Jenkins and his clan as they join the family trade: growing GMO appendages and organs from soil. Green thumb takes on a whole new meaning as Ezekiel attempts to protect his wife and kids from the deviant science uprooting their lives.
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artists: Andrea Sorrentino, Dave Stewart
In Gideon Falls, Jeff Lemire builds a doom-infused story that starts with a man obsessed with trash and escalates with a priest dreaming about a malevolent Black Barn. And then the bodies start to pile up. Artist Andrea Sorrentino and colorist Dave Stewart know how to disorient—seas of drifting panels, M.C. Escher physics-twisting, and a nauseating palette ensure that readers are just as bewildered as the lost souls in this atmospheric comic. Expect future issues to dive further into the past of its beleaguered characters, showing how evil infects across time and space.
Ice Cream Man
Writer: W. Maxwell Prince
Artists: Martín Morazzo, Chris O’Halloran
How could something so sweet leave such a bad taste in your mouth? With every issue of Ice Cream Man, writer W. Maxwell Prince serves a new bite of existential dread that will leave readers addicted and sad—just like actual sugar! Though each issue offers a self-contained tale of human loneliness and anxiety, the titular dairy demon unites these threads through his manipulations. Artist Martín Morazzo perfectly captures every mischievous glance of the evil peddler as he corrupts a pristine ’50s suburbia, as well as the heroic overtures of the mysterious cowboy who opposes him. This brilliant series shows how low desperate people can descend to get what they want, and the Faustian villain with the ice cream scoop can make it all happen.
Writer: Pornsak Pichetshote
Artists: Aaron Campbell, José Villarrubia
Described as a “haunted house story for the new millennium,” Infidel has become one of the most impactful comics this year. Writer Pornsak Pichetshote, artist Aaron Campbell, and colorist José Villarrubia update old horror tropes with real-world issues like xenophobia and racism—making this miniseries one of the more human horror stories on shelves. And it looks like absolutely nothing else out there. Campbell mixes traditional and digital art in smart, effective ways that jolt the reader, and the transition resembles a musical sting in horror movies. It’s sudden, effective, and leaves the audience with a potent feeling of dread.
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artists: Danny Luckert, Marie Enger
Prolific author Cullen Bunn spins another yarn of terror, this time with… bugs. Lots of bugs. Regression is a master class in complex storytelling, weaving between present day, past lives, memories, and hallucinations. The tiered story revolves around Adrian, who’s been having strange nightmares. As a last resort, he undergoes past-life regression, a hypnosis to find out if trauma hides deep in his psyche. But his nightmares soon bleed into reality, hinting at a diabolic cult formed centuries ago. Danny Luckert renders intense, unflinching imagery, but the conspiracy at the heart of Regression will keep you up at night, questioning your own reality.
The Walking Dead
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artists: Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano, Cliff Rathburn
Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard’s undead ensemble just shambled to its 184th issue, and this grisly tale of humans grappling to reform society after a global brain buffet shows no signs of slowing. Though Adlard’s depiction of ravenous corpses offers endless nightmare fuel, the true monsters emerge from the depths of humanity, assuming a moral spectrum of gray to match the books’ colorless palette. The most recent story arc sees de facto leader Rick and his band of survivors discovering the Commonwealth—a developed community that allocates wealth to its denizens based on their previous income and occupation. What’s the only thing worse than hungering ghouls? A socio-economic system that erects mounting pressure between the poor and the rich.
Wytches: Bad Egg Halloween Special
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Jock, Matt Hollingsworth
Written with looming dread by Scott Snyder, drawn with grotesque surrealism by Jock, and colored with frenzied neon splatters by Matt Hollingsworth, Wytches offers an unnerving twist on the nasty things that lurk deep in the woods. In this case, an ancient sect of tree-dwelling monsters offers local townsfolk miracles for flesh-and-blood sacrifices. The first volume was met with tons of critical acclaim and fan praise, so before volume two arrives, here’s a special Halloween treat: Bad Egg, a standalone one-shot that ties some loose ends, creates new questions, and ultimately scares more than you ever thought a comic could.