2022 has seen the comics industry’s horror library grow exponentially, and 2023 promises to be even bigger and better for fans of the genre. Essentials of the genre like BOOM! Studios, Dark Horse Comics and Image Comics continued to deliver some of the best content of the year, while superhero imprints like Marvel and DC surprised everyone by deciding to get in on the action as well. Titles like Blood Stained Teeth by Patrick Reynolds and Christian Ward, I Hate This Place by Kyle Starks and Artyom Topilin, and The Me You Love in the Dark by Skottie Young debuted to resounding success, drawing audiences in the process of impress them simultaneously.
Horror has become such a mainstream theme in 2022 that even superhero imprints were dipping their toes into the genre, like DC’s Black Label cosmic horror Aquaman: Andromeda. It’s also worth noting that the popular horror soap opera satire Buffy the Vampire Slayer has continued to expand its franchise tradition with numerous titles released this year. An entire retrospective can be done on the horror highlights of 2022 in the comic world, but for now, it’s worth looking ahead to all the must-have titles in the genre that will arrive in the comic libraries from 2023.
Archie Comics continues to reinvent itself with Betty, The Final Girl
Dating back to just over a decade ago, Archie Comics began to take a more contemporary approach to its storytelling by sending Archie and his friends as adults for Life with Archie, covering much darker themes in the process. This would eventually lead its creative team to branch out into the horror genre, most notably with Afterlife starring Archie, which plunges its universe into a zombie apocalypse. Success would pave the way for Riverdale, a TV adaptation with horror elements wrapped in noir homages and whimsical camp. The franchise continues to play horror in the upcoming Betty, The Final Girl, which promises to deliver a stark reminder of why audiences have been so enamored with modern Archie Comics/Riverdale in the modern age, as it fully wears its horror influences on its sleeves. The creative team will include writers Micol Ostow, Casey Gilly and Sam Maggs, as well as artists Laura Braga, Natalie Nardozza and Carola Borelli. The first issue will be released on February 15, 2023.
Harrower shines a light on the true horror kept in the dark
It would be an understatement to say that BOOM! Studios never fail when it comes to the horror genre. In 2023, their ever-expanding horror library will continue to grow with Harrower by Justin Jordan and Brahm Revel. The four-issue miniseries will focus on young Jessica Brink as she suddenly finds herself sucked into title slasher lore, a vengeful boogeyman in downtown Barlowe, New York. What separates it from any other slasher that has come before it is that, when it comes to its creative team, the horror isn’t derived from the slasher, but rather from the deep, dark secrets hidden in its name. Anyone who’s ever kept a secret from anyone or anyone will understand the morbid feeling it can weigh down on someone, much like the way a slasher lingers on his latest daughter’s shoulder. Harrower will be released in February 2023.
Hauntology personifies pandemic anxieties
Remembering 2020 was a year when the outbreak of a novel coronavirus and accompanying fears and anxieties were at an all-time high. The average person was afraid of the unknown and what it might mean for the future. Jeremy Haun used this fear and anxiety to create Hauntology from scratch during the COVID lockdown. Each story in this anthology promises to reflect and examine everything people have felt in the first year and a half of COVID, while drawing inspiration from Stephen King and Clive Barker. It’s an interesting choice in an attempt to illustrate the sheer inner horror that everyone experienced back then as the creators experienced it in real time. If nothing else, Hauntology certainly has the potential to personify the pain and grief of that era in a way that many readers can relate to.
Jude Ellison S. Doyle and Letizia Cadonici introduce everyone to the neighbors
The team behind The Neighbors are no strangers to the horror genre, that’s reason enough to be excited for this one. Writer Jude Ellison S. Doyle previously worked with BOOM! Studios to release MAW, a brutal, profound and extremely powerful exercise in trauma. Artist Letizia Cadonici, meanwhile, has also worked for BOOM! Studios, this time for fan-favorite series House of Slaughter, set in the world of the Eisner Award-winning series Something is Killing the Children. Now the two are collaborating to bring their spooky expertise to an all-new series. The series will get disturbing as Janet and Oliver confront a disturbing old woman in the neighborhood they just moved to who becomes obsessed with one of their daughters.
Doyle has often associated horror with homosexuality, not least because of his role in creating the essay collection It Came From the Closet: Queer Reflections on Horror. They intend to make The Neighbors a multi-layered examination of terror that follows gay people trying to raise families in the modern age. Neighbors could be both allegorical and spooky, and will be released in March 2023.
Kyle Starks will show us where the monsters are.
Kyle Starks was already named earlier in this article for the mark I Hate this Place left in 2022. Now, for 2023, he’s collaborating with Piotr Kowalski to deliver a rather unique take on the classic ‘monster of the week’ concept. with Where are the monsters of Dark Horse. It follows Connor Hayes, who in his youth narrowly survived a slasher at summer camp and then another psycho a few years later. Now, as an adult special agent, he’s not only prepared for the monsters that tormented him years ago, he’s anxiously searching for them. The plot element gives the story an opportunity to be as compelling as it is scary.
Stay tuned in 2023 for future coverage of what could become the best comics of the year in the horror genre!