Happy Nerdoween!!! This spooky season is the perfect time to celebrate some of our fave horror icons. But while our minds often go to scary movies and TV shows during this hallowed time, this year we are thinking outside the box. We’re looking to comics, manga, and books to fully explore some of those scary antagonists who get into our brains and refuse to let go. Here are a few print horror villains you need to know.
We could have written an entire piece about Junji Ito’s terrifying creations. But to keep things simple, we chose one of his most nightmarish and iconic monsters. Murdered by her classmates, Tomie returns the next day to her high school intent on revenge. A twisted reinvention of the femme fatale, Tomie soon became a recurring figure in Ito’s short stories. The beautiful young woman often targets egotistical men, who she drives mad with her beauty. Both terrifying and awe-inspiring, Tomie works as both a mythical nightmare muse and warning tale to the kind of men who will drop everything for a pretty face.
My Sister, the Serial Killer)
One of fiction’s most frightening serial killers, Oyinkan Braithwaite introduced readers to Ayoola, the titular murderer of her stunning debut novel. A young, beautiful woman, Ayoola has killed three of her boyfriends by the time we meet her. While she claims self-defense, her lack of emotion, near sociopathic ability to continue on with her life, and the fact that she always calls her sister to clean up her mess hint at something darker.
What makes Ayoola so terrifying is the absolute normality that she represents. She’s the popular girl next door. The girl you might have a crush on, and one who absolutely wouldn’t blink at killing you. Plus, she has an enabler who will stop at nothing to protect her and hide her secret.
Carnage (Marvel Comics)
Another vital serial killer inclusion is Cletus Kasady. But you probably know him better as Carnage. Though you might not think about a nefarious murderer being a key part of the usually kid friendly Spider-Man lore, that’s exactly the case with Kasady. He was a cannibalistic murderer who ended up in a cell next to Eddie Brock. It was here he came into contact with the symbiote that transformed him into Carnage. Combining a sociopathic cannibal with an all-powerful alien is truly a terrifying prospect. While Carnage and Venom are seen as a little campy these days, at his core Carnage is a horror villain for the ages.
Spawn / Image Comics)
Another descendant of Venom but in a wholly different way, Violator was born when Todd McFarlane left
Dio Brando (
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure)
Nothing is simple in the world of
Mephisto (Marvel Comics)
How could we not include
The Batman Who Laughs (DC Comics)
DC Comics has long been the home of some great rogues who’d hold their own against some of the genre’s most fearsome villains. But over the last few years, they’ve introduced maybe their most appalling creation yet. The Batman Who Laughs is an alt-universe version of Bruce Wayne. His pale visage and deathly cackle are a result of the Joker toxin. Yep, this is a combo of Gotham’s two most unstable men, and he’s as scary as that sounds. Did we mention that he also keeps jokerfied Robins on chains like pet dogs? *shudders*
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