Halloween season is here, and patrons young and old are seeking some spine-tingling reads. We already provided our list for kids and teens, so here are some titles that will thrill the high school age crowd and adult patrons at your library.
A huge thanks goes to Thomas, Megan, Beth, Rachel, Maria, Gloria, Marissa, Richard, Danielle, and Allen for their suggestions.
Written by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden. Art by Ben Stenbeck and Peter Bergting.
Published by Dark Horse, 2010
Elevator Pitch: Lord Baltimore met and fought a vampire on the battlefield in World War I, setting horrors loose on mankind as a consequence. While Baltimore wages a one-man hunt across Europe for the monster that killed his family, he meets supernatural terrors and steadfast allies. Dave Stewart’s colors drench every scene in the best kind of danger, dread, and occasional peace.
Appeals to: Fans of Hellboy or most other Mike Mignola projects, historical fiction especially circa World War I, or paranormal investigation.
Content notes: Some blood and gore, often as the climactic action following lots of gothic skullduggery, and swearing.
Written by Joe Hill. Art by Gabriel Rodríguez.
Published by IDW, 2009
Elevator Pitch: After surviving a traumatic assault and the murder of their father, three children and their mother move into the family estate for some stability, only to find that the house holds deep secrets entrenched in their father’s past. Enter a world where keys unlock heads as well as doors, and doorways unlock spirits from bodies. This six volume series crafts a fantastic world of fear and suspense that will ensnare you and fulfill your taste for horror this Halloween.
Appeals to: Fans of dark fantasy and writers such as Brom, Terry Moore, Greg Rucka, and Neil Gaiman.
Content notes: Murder, blood, gore, rape, emotional abuse, and manipulation.
Written and drawn by various
Published by Harry N. Abrams, 2012
Elevator Pitch: The horrific stories of H.P. Lovecraft are brought to life in this graphic collection. Artists recreate classic weird tales, such as The Shadow Over Innsmouth, The Call of Cthulhu, and many others. If you want to experience the mind of Lovecraft, check out these short graphic comics and enter the mind of one of the greatest horror writers of the 20th century.
Appeals to: Anyone who loves to read horror and supernatural comics, as well as stories.
Written and drawn by Junji Ito.
Published by Viz 2013 (complete 3 in 1 edition)
Elevator Pitch: Uzuamki tells the tale of a town that is cursed by spirals. Not for the faint of heart, Uzumaki is a classic of Japanese horror with intentionally grotesque art. There is an emphasis on creepy, psychological terror rather than monsters popping out or slasher fiction.
Content notes: Disturbing/violent images and nudity.
Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Art by Robert Hack.
Published by Archie, 2016
Elevator Pitch: NOT the Sabrina you remember. Like listening to Slayer while watching 90210 re-runs and thinking about ink washes.
Appeals to: Those who want some horror and occult to go along with their teenage drama. Creepy, horrific, and a great twist on familiar characters.
Content notes: Disturbing/violent images.
Written by Fabien Vehlmann. Art by Kerascoet.
Published by Drawn and Quarterly, 2014
Elevator Pitch: Aurora, a small fairy-like individual, struggles to guarantee the survival of her and her friends in the wilderness. However, individual selfishness leads to a quickly devolving situation, and cruelty becomes the norm Pretty, brightly colored illustrations contrast with the increasingly dark storyline, making this story an unnerving experience.
Appeals to: People who like psychological horror or fans of Lord of the Flies.
Content notes: A corpse and the related squishy bits (maggots, etc.).
Afterlife with Archie, vol. 1
Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Art by Francesco Francavilla.
Published by Archie, 2013
Elevator Pitch: Literally the Walking Dead meets Riverdale after Sabrina the Teenage Witch attempts to resurrect Jughead’s dog for him. As Rumpelstiltskin likes to say, “Magic always comes with a price.” In this case flesh eating zombies and the death of close friends. This is all accompanied wonderfully by Francavilla’s distinctive art.
Appeals to: Fans of Archie, the Walking Dead, or Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Content notes: Death of a beloved pet, witchcraft, flesh eating zombies, and high school shenanigans.
Written by Scott Snyder. Art by Jock.
Published by Image, 2014
Elevator Pitch: Sailor moves with his mom and dad to a small town in order to escape relentless bullying. Instead of finding peace he is confronted with a town that has more secrets than his family. Beastly and primordial creatures lurk in the woods surrounding the town and it isn’t safe to trust anyone.
Appeals to: Fans of American Vampire, Harrow County, or Severed.
Content notes: Disturbing images, adult language, and ugly death.
Written by Greg Rucka. Art by Nicola Scott.
Published by Image, 2016
Elevator Pitch: Rowan Black is a detective who is also a practicing witch struggling to keep the two disparate parts of her life from colliding. Unfortunately, all is about to come to a head on her latest case. Amazing artwork by Nicola Scott compliments Rucka’s thrill ride of a story.
Appeals to: Fans of the occult, suspense, and crime, including Monstress, Clean Room, or Fatale.
Content notes: Adult language and some nudity.
Written by Tim Seeley. Art by Mike Norton.
Published by Image, 2012
Elevator Pitch: Revival is a “rural noir” supernatural crime series with an intricate story and complex characters. The dead have started to come back to life in Wausau, Wisconsin, and the entire town has been quarantined until they can figure out how and why this is happening. It’s creepy, atmospheric and the more answers you find the more questions there are.
Appeals to: Horror fans who enjoy the mental stimulation of a mystery. Those who like Chew or The Walking Dead will also enjoy Revival.
Content notes: Violence/gore and some sexual content.
Written and drawn by Terry Moore.
Published by 2012
Elevator Pitch: Rachel Rising begins with the main character digging herself out of a grave, and finding disturbing ligature marks around her neck. She then has to solve the mystery of how she died, and how it relates to a witch-hunt in the same town from hundreds of years ago. The story has strong female characters, dark twists, and effectively eerie environment.
Appeals to: Those who enjoy supernatural horror with elements of mystery and historical fiction.
Content notes: Violence and some sexual/rape references.
Written by Cullen Bunn. Art by Tyler Crook, Carla Speed McNeil, and Hannah Christenson.
Published by Dark Horse, 2015
Elevator Pitch: A young woman, Emmy, comes of age into witchcraft among the creatures and ghosts that haunt the woods of her hometown. Are they out to get her, or can she wield some power over them? The backwoods setting includes a broad cast of characters as Emmy’s story grows and affects others around her.
Appeals to: People who know what “haint” means or people who enjoy ghosts in their grits.
Content notes: Some violence and gore.
Written by Lauren Beukes and Dale Halverson. Art by Ryan Kelly and Inaki Miranda.
Published by DC/Vertigo, 2016
Elevator Pitch: Six survivors of different horror experiences in 1987 have matured in the shadow of their traumas. When an occult threat emerges in the present day that resembles a catastrophe from their pasts, these survivors will face their demons all over again. Horror aficionados will enjoy the subgenre mash-ups that occur, such as a boogeyman serial killer attempting to navigate a haunted house. Bug queens, malevolent videogames, an evil twin doll, and a Japanese wraith also share the split narratives.
Appeals to: Cinematic horror junkies. The covers for each issue by Bill Sienkiewicz should appeal to Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark fans.
Written by Michael Allen Nelson. Art by Kevin Sharpe.
Published by Boom!, 2014
Elevator Pitch: A modern take on the Cthulhu mythos that is perfect for both existing fans and those who are new to the Cthulhu universe who enjoy dark horror.
Content notes: Human and animal sacrifice, suicide, sexual situations, dismemberment, and child death.
Written and drawn by Junji Ito
Published by Viz, 2015
Elevator Pitch: Junji Ito is a master of manga horror. Steeped in Japanese folklore and urban legend, Ito shows a deft hand with weaving frightfully bizarre stories that are often weird, sensual, or both. Many of his stories often end up as delicious nightmare fuel.
Appeals To: Fans of the supernatural, otherworldly horror of H.P. Lovecraft will eat Junji Ito right up because his stories are very much inspired by the famous author. Also, Fragments of Horror is a perfect companion piece to his manga Uzumaki (see above).
Content Notes: Violent imagery and bizarre body horror frequently occur. There’s some light nudity and sex is rarely depicted.