9 Spooky Graphic Novels for Halloween and Beyond
Pocket-sized horror movies that will keep you up all night
If you enjoy reading Electric Literature, join our mailing list! We’ll send you the best of EL each week, and you’ll be the first to know about upcoming submissions periods and virtual events.
Is there really a chill in the air, or did you just walk through a ghost? Just in time for Halloween, these graphic novels will bring your fears to life with vivid, unforgettable images and spooky stories. Graphic novels can add an element of horror not present in text stories: there’s reading about a zombie, and then there’s seeing it right in front of you. These books are like pocket-sized horror movies that let readers dwell on each individual frame. From murder to monsters, this list is full of ghoulishly good reads that are sure to keep you up all night—for more than one reason.
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
In five spooky stories, Carroll explores possession, murder, and monsters in her trademark frightening-fable style of storytelling. The author doesn’t shy away from painting all the gory details, but she also knows when it would be scarier to keep a creature in the shadows. If you want a taste of Carroll’s style before diving into this book, check out “His Face All Red,” which is available for free online.
Archival Quality by Ivy Noelle Weir and Steenz
After Cel’s mental illness causes her to be fired from her previous job, she’s happy to find an archivist gig at the Logan Museum—even if she’s required to live in the spooky on-site apartment and do most of her work at night. While the job starts out okay, it soon becomes clear that someone is trying to get Cel’s attention: someone who used to live in the museum when it was still an asylum, someone who needs Cel to help her seek justice from beyond the grave.
Uzumaki by Junji Ito
Kurōzu-cho is a town cursed by spirals. First, a man is found dead, his body curled into a spiral. As matters progress, everyone in town is plagued by spirals that threaten to destroy them. Kirie and her boyfriend, Shuichi, are determined to escape the coil of their fate, but can they make it out alive?
Sacred Heart by Liz Suburbia
Alexandria seems like a normal, American suburb—except for the serial killer prowling around, the absence of everyone’s parents, and the certainty of impending doom. Ben Schiller and her friends are just trying to chill and hookup and play music, but something dark is coming, and life is about to get weirder than anyone bargained for.
Victor LaValle’s Destroyer by Victor LaValle, Dietrich Smith, Joana Lafuente, Jim Campbell, and Micaela Dawn
In this modern retelling of Frankenstein, the monster has returned to wipe humanity off the face of the earth. He’s joined by the last descendant of Victor Frankenstein, a scientist named Dr. Baker whose young son was a recent victim of police brutality. When Dr. Baker uses her scientific genius to bring her son back to life, a mysterious government agency begins pursuing the brilliant scientist without realizing how dangerous she can be.
Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët
Aurora’s life among her fairy friends seems perfect, until readers realize their beautiful home is really the corpse of a young girl. When Aurora and her friends are forced out of the corpse and into the woods, the horror intensifies as the fairies are preyed upon by insects, mice, birds, and—worst of all—each other.
My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris
10-year-old Karen Reyes loves monsters. Growing up in 1960s Chicago, she spends much of her time watching B-horror movies and reading pulp-horror magazines. But the murder of Karen’s friend and upstairs neighbor, holocaust survivor Anka Silverberg, changes Karen’s understanding of monsters. In her quest to solve the murder, Karen begins to see the monsters that lurk all around her—and not all of them are good.
Miss Don’t Touch Me by Hubert and Kerascoët
It’s 1930s Paris, and a serial killer named the “Butcher of the Dance” is on the hunt for young, female sex workers. When Blanche’s sister turns up dead, everyone calls it a suicide. But Blanche knows it was a murder. In an effort to expose the Butcher, Blanche begins working at a famous and exclusive bordello. As she becomes a popular dominatrix, Blanche must keep her wits about her to stay alive, while also searching for her sister’s killer.
Britten and Brülightly by Hannah Berry
In this graphic novel noir, burnt-out private investigator Fernández Britten has decided not to accept any new cases unless they’re murders. So when the publishing heiress Charlotte Maughton asks him to solve her fiance’s suicide, he’s not interested. Until, that is, she reveals that the suicide may have been a murder involving blackmail, family secrets, and revenge. Britten and his partner, Brülightly, must work to uncover the truth of what really happened to Charlotte’s fiance, but the truth becomes more twisted at every turn.