As Halloween creeps closer, why not try some spooky graphic novels to celebrate the season? Graphic novels are a great way to get started with the horror genre—they offer quick scares, stunning images, and fast-paced storylines. Best of all, there’s something for everyone. Whether you like psychological thrillers, Japanese culture, or even a good dose of humor, graphic novels have got your covered.
If you’re a fan of the popular Netflix series Stranger Things, you’ll love Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan. Set in 1988, this graphic novel starts off with 12-year-old friends Erin, Mac, Tiffany, and KJ delivering newspapers in their suburban town. As the girls continue along their routes, they realize their town has been suddenly invaded by creatures from the future, including a grown-up version of Erin who eventually serves as their guide.
For graphic novels focusing on horror and teen culture, you could also try some manga titles. In Tomie by Junji Ito, the titular character is a teenage succubus, skilled at manipulating men into committing heinous and often gruesome crimes. Tsugumi Oba’s Death Note, which has been turned into a Netflix film, features Light Yagami, a student who finds a mysterious notebook known as the Death Note. Light quickly learns that any person whose name is written in the Death Note dies, and Light decides to use this knowledge to rid the world of evil.
Tomie and Death Note are dark, so if you’re looking for something less likely to keep you up at night, try a comedic horror like Zombillenium by Arthur de Pins. Translated from French, this graphic novel is set at an amusement park where the monsters are not people in costumes but actual vampires, zombies, and werewolves. Another lighthearted graphic novel is Vera Brosgol’s Anya’s Ghost, a funny and thought-provoking story of a young girl who falls down a well and meets Emily, a 90-year-old ghost.
Some notable titles for readers accustomed to traditional mysteries and thrillers would be Fatale, Locke & Key, and 30 Days of Night, which are more literary and are paced such that the stories will stretch across multiple volumes. Fatale, written by Ed Brubaker, is a great example of noir fiction, featuring an enchanting woman who never seems to age as decades go by. Locke & Key, written by Joe Hill (son of horror great Stephen King), also has a time travel element, as Hill uses flashbacks to tell the story of Keyhouse, a family estate with a frighteningly complicated history. In Steve Niles’ 30 Days of Night, an Alaska town goes dark for thirty days each year, making it prime time for vampires to go on uninterrupted quests for blood.
From spine chillers to belly laughs to everything in between, graphic novels provide a great way to diversify your reading list. Check out this list to place requests on these titles, then curl up in a chair, turn down the lights (except your book light!), and prepare to be thrilled.