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10 Best Marvel Horror Comics Ever | ScreenRant – Screen Rant

Marvel’s comics have seen a resurgence of horror elements, albeit often blended in with the adventures of their more well-known heroic adventurers.
Before the 1960’s superhero boom that ushered in the modern Marvel Universe, American comic books were well known for their pantheons of horror-themed titles. Beginning in the 1970s, and carrying into recent eras, Marvel’s comics have seen a resurgence of horror elements, albeit often blended in with the adventures of their more well-known heroic adventurers.
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Not all of Marvel’s classic horror comics have stood the test of time, but many of their recent horror-themed stories have dusted off the legacy characters and elements of their past and proven to be among the publisher’s best.
One of the first outings during Marvel’s 1970s horror revival, Tales Of The Zombie told the tragic story of Simon Garth, a workaholic transformed into a member of the living dead after being sacrificed in a voodoo ritual by a disgruntled former employee. Published in a black and white magazine format to avoid the Comics Code (which forbade the publishing of stories featuring zombies), Zombie additionally gained the freedom to explore more mature themes while depicting more graphic violence and gore than other comics at the time.
Garth himself was a revamped version of a character originally created by Stan Lee and featured in a one-off horror story published by Marvel predecessor Atlas Comics in the 1950s, before the existence of the Comics Code. He has since been frequently featured prominently amongst Marvel’s monsters.
Rise of the Midnight Sons was a crossover storyline that brought together many of Marvel’s supernatural characters, including Ghost Rider, Blade, Doctor Strange, and Morbius, the Living Vampire. Banded together against a complete demonic invasion of earth, the event was pure 90s in all of the best ways, with high stakes, over-the-top action, and plenty of angst and attitude.
In addition to assembling the titular team of occult heroes, the storyline also launched one of Marvel’s early comic book “sub-lines”, also called “The Midnight Sons”, which allowed many of their darker characters to coexist and crossover for the next few years in their own corner of the Marvel Universe.
An homage to the fan-favorite “New Fantastic Four”, which consisted of Wolverine, Spider-Man, Hulk, and Ghost Rider, Circle of Four assembled the most recent legacies of each against a demonic invasion of earth. Comprised of X-23, Agent Venom, Red Hulk, and the newest Ghost Rider, Alejandra Jones, the combined heroes were anything but a cohesive team, fighting amongst themselves even as they fought for the fate of humanity.
Culminating in an incredible moment of fan service, Red Hulk, already one of Marvel’s most powerful gamma-powered characters, becomes additionally possessed by both the Ghost Rider spirit and Venom symbiote simultaneously. Completely contained between the pages of Venom #’s 13 and 14, plus a handful of supplementary issues, Circle of Four brought each of these fledgling heroes to the forefront in a spotlight adventure arguably better than its inspiration.
Doctor Druid has often been seen as one of the lamest superheroes to ever claim Avengers membership, not helped by his propensity for being mind-controlled and turned against his teammates. Warren Ellis’ 1995 mini-series Druid used this as its jumping-off point, before taking a sharp turn and depicting a version of the former Avenger unlike any before.
Consumed by the frustration of his failed potential, Doctor Druid slowly loses his sense of humanity while embracing his mystic roots. Determined to prove himself the world’s greatest sorcerer, the story depicts his slow unraveling, as he goes to increasing lengths to achieve his goal, even if it means destroying the world in the process. Ahead of its time, Druid presented a hero’s gradual fall from grace, ironically finally bringing fans an undeniably good Doctor Druid story.
Capitalizing upon the Comics Code’s relaxation of its rules banning vampires, Marvel Comics launched Tomb of Dracula in 1971. After an initial shaky start, the book would find its rhythm beginning in issue 7 under the helm of writer Marv Wolfman, who would go on to script the rest of its incredible 70 issue run.
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One of comics history’s most successful books to ever feature its antagonist as its titular character, Tomb of Dracula crossed over a number of Marvel’s superhero books along the way, establishing the classic literary villain as an existing Marvel Universe character. Before its conclusion, the series also introduced enduring additions such as the vampire hunter, Blade.
Marvel’s mutants have seemingly faced every imaginable threat, and vampires are no exception. In the opening story of 2010’s X-Men #1, the mutant’s island home of Utopia is invaded by vampires, led by Xarus, son of Dracula. After deposing his father and claiming the title of Vampire King, Xarus plans to infect Utopia’s mutant population to build himself a super-powered army. What he doesn’t plan for is Cyclops, leader of the X-Men, who rises to the challenge with some creative strategies.
From his sending unbitable mutants, such as the metal skinned Colossus, to the front lines, to a clever moment in which he has Nightcrawler, an ordained priest, bless Iceman, effectively turning all of his ice constructs into holy water, Curse of the Mutants takes a simple premise and executes it in unexpected ways while reminding fairweather fans that yes, Cyclops is actually pretty cool.
Damnation could be described as a superhero story, but it pulls out all the stops on its way to becoming firmly entrenched in the supernatural. With Las Vegas swallowed into Hell, Doctor Strange assembles a new version of The Midnight Sons to battle Mephisto in an attempt to save the souls of Sin City.
Featuring a group consisting of Marvel’s greatest mystically empowered heroes, this new take on the beloved 90s team faced a massive challenge in their first outing, facing off against a demonically possessed roster of Avengers transformed into Ghost Riders. Utilizing the bombast of traditional superhero fare to its advantage, the series found levity in a few standout moments between Wong and the ghost of Doctor Strange’s dog, Bats, making a strong case against Hawkeye’s dog, Lucky, for the title of Marvel’s greatest canine companion.
When his vigilante past finally catches up with him, Frank Castle, The Punisher, meets his maker in a gruesome battle, with both of his arms and head severed. Luckily, his corpse is reconstructed by the Legion of Monsters, resulting in his reawakening as an homage to Frankenstein’s Monster, dubbed “Franken-Castle”.
Beyond the obvious play on homonyms, Franken-Castle initially feels like a terrible joke taken too far before it crescendos into one of the greatest Punisher stories ever told. A completely original take on one of Marvel’s most perpetually unevolved characters, the storyline sees the now monstrous Frank Castle as possibly his most human while he attempts to regain his mortality and exact his specific brand of justice upon those responsible for his predicament.
Inferno, Marvel Comics’ 1989 crossover event put the publisher’s mutants at the center of its universe. As demons invade Manhattan from the Limbo dimension, the estranged wife of Cyclops, Madelyne Pryor, is revealed to be Jean Grey’s clone while being transformed into the evil Goblyn Queen. Elsewhere, New Mutant Illyana Rasputin fights her own demonic corruption as the Darkchylde, while X-Factor’s students race to rescue a baker’s dozen of kidnapped mutant babies marked for sacrifice.
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Despite its universe-wide fallout, including the demonic possession of the Hobgoblin that would eventually spawn the villain Demogoblin, Inferno is undoubtedly a mutant-centered event. Often cited as one of the greatest X-Men stories ever told, it’s only fitting that they suffered the most tragedy before its conclusion.
Recently translated to the screen in one of the best episodes of the MCU’s What If?, the world of Marvel Zombies is unquestionably their most horrific variant reality. At first a classic tale of survival, the series eventually side-steps into the zombies’ encounter with the planet-eater Galactus, transforming the cannibalistic monsters into the protagonists of their tale of horror.
Marvel Zombies additionally introduced some unique new elements to traditional zombie lore, including each of the zombified heroes retaining their original memories, personalities, and abilities, despite their unquenchable hunger for flesh. The original series was an unexpected success on arrival, spawning at least a dozen spin-offs, in true B-horror movie fashion.
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Drew Beaty is a third-generation superhero fan who was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. He began his collection with hand-me-down comic books from a used book store owned by his father and grandfather in the late 1980s. Today, Drew owns and has read over 50,000 individual comics. He was once ranked “Best In The World” in the Marvel Comics category of the mobile trivia game Quiz-Up and still has the screenshots to prove it. When he’s not reading or writing about masks and capes, Drew spends his time with his wife and cats, or rubbing elbows with Portland’s music scene, where he has performed in the hip hop group Bad Habitat since 2008.


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