Horror comics have always been a firm favourite of comic book fans since they were first introduced in the early 1940s. Although the genre has never quite managed to repeat the massive levels of success it had in the 1950s and 1970s when the popularity of horror comics was at its peak, it still continues to attract acclaimed visionary writers and artists who are dedicated to disturbing their loyal readers.
Just when the world had seen enough of vampire love stories, DC Comics gave the horror legends a much needed shot in the arm. I…Vampire originally ran in DC’s House of Mystery anthology series during the 80s but it was rebooted by writer Joshua Hale Fialkov as part of the New 52 line-up. Fialkov gave the vampire mythos a new spin by focusing on two vampire lovers who are on different sides of a war; one wants to rule humanity, while the other wants to protect them. I…Vampire was a smart series with gorgeous artwork which set itself apart from DC’s superhero line-up while still maintaining the ambitious scope of some of its bigger titles. Unfortunately, it was cancelled after 19 issues, but Fialkov managed to wrap things up satisfactorily.
Set primarily in the 1920s, Severed tells the story of young boy who heads out on on America’s dusty back roads and hobo trails in the hopes of finding his biological father. However, it’s not long before he crosses paths with a mysterious, cannibalistic child killer called the Salesman. Severed was a self-contained, 7 issue story arc so it’s only a short read, but Scott Snyder paces the story brilliantly and keep up a devastating sense of dread until the very last panel.
Although modern day horror fans may think that some of the stories from the original Tales from the Crypt series published in the 1950s are a little bit cheesy by today’s standards, it’s hard to underestimate the influence and impact the series had on the comic book industry. Along with other horror titles of the time, the pulp horror anthology came under attack by the United States Congress in 1954 as critics believed that the content of such comics were contributing to things like juvenile delinquency and illiteracy in schools. This led to the establishment of the Comics Code Authority which massively restricted the type of adult content (like violence and sexual references) allowed in comic books, and the horror genre was outright banned. The series lived on as a popular spin-off TV show which drew inspiration from some of the inventive, classic horror stories from the original comics.