There have been so many standout series this year in horror comics. Where do we begin? With comics from tiny indie publishers, main-stream alternative publishers, and even a few great comics from "the big two," it's been a blast to read horror this year. We've taken some time to really shine a spotlight on the continuing and mini-series that scared, delighted, amazed, and freaked us out this year.
Here's a comic I'm very intrigued by. Ex-Sanguine follows the story of a man named Saul with a monstrous side to him. I love the way the artwork looks in this comic. When our hero goes all crazy-monstrosity, he gets these (almost comically) huge teeth in his mouth before he chomps down on his victims. The story follows him meeting the girl of his dreams, Ashley (a serial killer), and the two of them attempt to start a life of murder together, more or less. So far the story is unfolding nicely, twisting and turning, seeding little hints at what's to come, and generally full of a pleasant amount of gore and blood. This is a new comic with a lot of fresh ideas, and I'm going to keep a close eye on it in the new year.
All of the Buffy Universe Comics
If you are (or were) a die-hard Buffy fan and you aren't reading all the comics that come out for the franchise you need to get your priorities straight! This year marked a slew of "Season Nine" comics coming out centered around Buffy, Angel, Spike, and Willow. And unlike so many major property spin-offs, they were all really fun to read! This year marked a lot of big events in the world. Willow went to another realm to try and restore all the magic that was sucked out of Earth. Spike is on a spaceship. Buffy and co. shut down TinCan. And a ton of other crazy stuff! This comic goes beyond fan-service. They're continuing to tell new and interesting stories. They're taking the world that Whedon and Co. created and drastically effecting it with events in the comic. This isn't just another adventure that could be plopped into the middle of Season Four. These are vibrant, wild stories that take the characters to parts and places unknown.
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth: The Return of the Master
Chaos. Chaos and death and pain and destruction. That is what this series offers its readers. This five issue series, which picked up where Hell on Earth: Russia left off, follows the Bureau as they try and deal with a mad Russian scientist who's been getting deep into some dark magic. Monsters spill forth from the other side, emotions flare high, and the action is white-knuckle. Hellboy, the series' predecessor, is dead and gone, completely out of the picture. So it's up to the Bureau to try and avert a major catastrophe. This is the type of comic that gets people into reading comics. I can't say enough great things about B.P.R.D. this year. The creators made a solid, fun, exciting comic… and they did it without Hellboy.
The 2012 reboot of the 90's series Ghost may have only just gotten started at the end of this year, but I'm hooked. Where the old series could be gauche or campy, this new reboot sparkles with contemporary energy and sophistication. The commentary on how we treat the dead that sparks up in this series feels real and poignant. The ghost of Ghost, a woman in white named Elisa, is resurrected when a bumbling reality TV "ghost hunter" accidentally activates an artifact that brings her powerful spirit back to the world of the living. Elisa's character is a wonderful, complicated character. She can kill a man by ripping out his heart, but a lot of the time she just feels confused. She's prone to fits of anger, and her two supporting cast mates give her a wide berth. This is an honest, fun, new take on the classic ghost story, and it's definitely worth your attention.
American Vampire: Blacklist
This mini-series followed the love affair between a female vampire, Pearl, and her human husband, Henry. Over the course of the series we see their love blossom… and it never fails as the years pass. This is a true horror love-story. Forget Twilight, or any other monsters-love-humans nonsense. This is it right here. The emotions run high as we see Henry age, go gray, and begin to falter, while Pearl remains as youthful and as beautiful as the day they first met. The setting of this story is also amazing, spanning the early 1920's to the '50's in Hollywood. I've never seen or read a vampire story set around the golden age of cinema. Pearl was an actress, and now a coven of vampires in the Hollywood world are out to get her. The final scenes of this mini-series are so poignant and emotional that they could bring a tear to your eye (if you had a mortal soul).
All of the Classic Horror Comic Reprints
Thank you, nostalgia. You've made it possible for comics like Creepy, Eerie, and Haunted Horror to exist in reprint. This year saw some of the most amazing reprints of classic horror comics, with everything from an H.P. Lovecraft issue to reprints of comics about sexy women dressed in black… who turn out to be giant spiders. Reading these comics makes me yearn for a time long-gone when a horror comic didn't have to have a super-powered central figure. Back before anyone cared about vampires. Back before you needed a pile of guts and carnage to classify something as "gory." When a comic could just be about telling a bunch of short, scary little stories. I guess we wanted different things back in the early days, but I'd give anything for a well-done, modern anthology series.