To add onto our other Halloween themed lists, we thought we would take a quick look at some of the best DC Comics to read around Spooky Season. With some of the most iconic or most memorable stories written by DC Comics. While some of these might not be considered very scary, some do involve dark themes or horror like elements. Understandably DC has a fairly large selection of comic books and storylines that are related to those darker elements, we will just be taking a look at five that have become some of the most memorable or iconic in their genre.
Blackest Night (2009)
Written by Geoff Johns with Art by Ivan Reis, this ground-breaking sci-fi action thriller was the first part of a Green Lantern trilogy crafted by Geoff Johns that began with 2004’s Green Lantern: Rebirth, then onto the Sinestro Corps War and concluding with Blackest Night. This story saw the return of Nekron and Black Hand as they form the deadly new Black Lantern Corps, featuring a new black bring that will attach itself to corpses and reanimate them into zombies. Now with a large portion of the DC Universe deceased at this point, the rings find their ways onto the fingers of many DC characters. Now Green Lantern with the remaining heroes and villains must fight against Nekron and undead versions of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman and many more characters in the DC Universe. A gift that keeps on giving, this story is explosive with incredible moments and dialogue to spark the interest of any horror and comic book fans. With captivating scenes featuring the formation of the various emotional Lantern spectrum, large scale battles and even some characters gaining rings of their own. If you thought Green and Yellow were the only Lanterns in the universe, just wait until you see Red, Blue, Indigo, Violet, Orange and the first appearance of the White Lantern Corps. The success of this story created spin-offs which included multiple points of view from the rest of the DC Universe and how they faced this threat. Now only if we could get an animated adaptation.
Written by Tom Taylor and Art by penciler Trevor Hairsine and inker Stefano Guadiano. This is a story that picks up within an alternate world in the multiverse. Darkseid successfully fulfills his mission of capturing the Anti-Life Equation to upload it into the internet, infecting anyone who views any electronic device attached to the web with a techno-organic viral version of the Equation, transforming them into zombie-like beings. In a world where so many of us rely on our phones and surrounded by the internet, the stakes are raised as many of DC’s characters become more and more infected. Leaving only a handful of heroes to fight against this virus. Since its release, the series has garnered an incredible following as one of DC’s highest grossing comic books. Sparking a number of spin-offs such as A Good Day to Die, Unkillables, Hope at World’s End and the sequel DCeased: Dead Planet. It has since become a popular pick among DC and horror fans alike with its unique variant covers, recreating some of the most iconic posters in horror films with DC characters. The variants included #1 It, #2 A Nightmare on Elm Street, #3 The Nun, #4 Final Destination, #5 The Curse of La Llorona and #6 Critters.
Batman: The Long Halloween (1996)
Written by Jeph Loeb with art by Tim Sale, and considered one of the most character defining stories for Batman. The Long Halloween begins on October 31st, with each issue taking place on different holidays. This story isn’t by any means scary or horror related, but rather a murder mystery surrounding some of Batman’s iconic villains and allies. A war wages in Gotham between two of the most powerful crime lords in Gotham, Batman quickly tries to uphold justice in his city. At the same time, a series of murders keep occurring on every holiday. Dubbing the murderer as the “Holiday” killer, Batman, Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Dent must work together to deduce the identity of the killer. This story takes you on a ride full of deception, chaos, and mystery. This story has been referenced and used as a plot device in so many other Batman media as well. Including the partnership between Batman, Harvey Dent and James Gordon as they collaborate on bringing down the Mob in The Dark Knight. And was also featured as the main plot in the fourth season of the series Gotham. We are anticipating the highly requested animated adaptation, scheduled to be released into two-parts during summer and fall of 2021.
The Batman Who Laughs (2018)
It is rare for a DC Fan to not know who Scott Snyder is now days, since he is the man who rewrote Batman during the New 52, revamped the Justice League and wrote the massive Dark Nights: Metal event that flipped DC on its head. Now Snyder collaborates with artist Jock to bring you one of DC’s most twisted villains ever, The Batman Who Laughs. For those of you that aren’t familiar with this character, he made his first appearance in the Metal Tie-In Teen Titans #12 and has been a major threat to our heroes ever since. Basically imagine the incredibly skilled and tactful Batman combined with the mind of the Joker, which tells you everything you need to know about what kind of monster we are dealing with. As the Batman Who Laughs intends on transforming our worlds Bruce Wayne into another dark twisted version like himself. While at the same time unleashing more of the Dark Multiverse into ours, including a heavily armed and brutal version of Batman. This comic might not be very scary or horrific, the themes and content come off much darker than some of the DC’s other ongoing properties and combining them with the gothic art by Jock is what qualifies this fun story for this list.
Batman: Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on Serious Earth (1989)
You might not have thought that many of our entries on this list would be considered scary or horrific by any means, but I think we might finally have something for you that could be considered nightmare inducing. Considered to be one of Grant Morrison’s best work, even compared to some of his other incredible work such as his run on Action Comics, Batman and Hellblazer. The premise of this story centers on the institution Arkham Asylum, Commissioner Gordon contacts Batman to inform him that the inmates have taken over the asylum and are threating to kill the staff if Batman doesn’t show up. Of course our hero does and now he must make his way through the asylum, rounding up many of his rouges gallery and save the hostages. If this story sounds familiar to you, it’s because much of this story is also the plot to the hit video game Batman: Arkham Asylum. For those that have played that game understand the dark tone and grim themes, well multiply those by ten for this graphic novel. Something unique this story did was ground all of these iconic characters to a more sinister and realistic take than we are use too, turning most of Batman’s villains into literal monsters with sick intentions is what made this Batman story into more than just an exciting tale, but a psychological thriller.
And for those who might not find these picks very interesting, or perhaps you have already read them. Check out other great titles like Justice League Dark: The Witching Hour, Freezes Over, Demon: Hell is Earth, American Vampire, Batman: Black Mirror, The Sandman and Forever Evil: Blight.