The above title could perhaps be more accurately worded "Best of 2010: Comic Book Collections." For this year again saw the best horror comics to be reprints of long out-of-print horror comics. Sure DC/Vertigo and Image delivered their usual assortment of surrealism and surprises, but it was publishers like Dark Horse, IDW and Fantagraphics who continued to make certain that some of the finest horror comic books ever published did not fade from memory. Read our complete list after the jump.
Dick Briefer's Frankenstein
Horror and comedy are often flip sides of the same coin. So it's fitting that perhaps the greatest horror icon of the 20th century, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein monster, has skulked his way through comic books designed to elicit either laughs or frights. What's astounding is that the most famous of both depictions have been illustrated by the same artist, the criminally neglected Dick Briefer. IDW and editor Craig Yoe have seen fit to reclaim a bit of spotlight for the late artist, in this, the first collection to span his entire career with the creature; the first monster to be given his own comic book title.
The Walking Dead
Speaking of shambling dead things, you may have heard that Robert Kirkman and Charles Adlard's acclaimed zombie comic made the leap to the small screen this year. In all the attention paid the hit TV series, it's easy to overlook the fact that The Walking Dead remains the best ongoing monthly horror title today. And just in case you've fallen behind in your reading, Image continued to reprint the series this year in its ongoing series of glorious, affordable hardcovers.
The most satisfying horror anthology books of all time are, for my money, Warren Publishing's Creepy and Eerie. And both titles have enjoyed resurgence in popularity recently, thanks to Dark Horse's award-winning collected Archives editions. This year saw another two new volumes of each series in print, bringing both titles' second golden age back to life. These latest collections featured art from such stalwarts as Richard Corben, Ken Kelly and Neal Adams, furthering a panoramic portrait of mid-twentieth century horror at its finest.
The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service
If smart scares are your bag, look no further than another great Dark Horse title, The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service. Writer Eiji Otsuka and artist Housui Yamazaki's modern horror manga classic – about a group of grad students dedicated to communicating with the dead and carrying out their last wishes – is equal parts wit and chills, all wrapped up in some of the most beautifully designed covers in comics.
Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s
Fantagraphics Books may have delivered the single most essential horror comics volume of the year with its Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s. As great as 1950s EC Comics classics like Tales from the Crypt and Weird Science could be, they weren't the only game in town; as proven by the plethora of riches in this tome from rival outfits like Atlas, Trojan, Avon, and Comic Media. Comic book legends one doesn't always immediately associate with horror – names like Alex Toth, Jack Cole and Basil Wolverton – fill these richly colored pages, along with key genre talents like Frank Frazetta, Al Williamson, and Steve Ditko.