Women in Horror: Comics Edition

Hello lovely people, I hope this blog finds you well and that you're enjoying the spring somewhere in the world. The trees are finally blossoming around here and good vibes are in the air, so let's hope that washes away some of the stress of the world we all are probably feeling.

This month on the blog project, I am highlighting women who create horror work in the comics field. I am a huge indie comic book fan and am excited to bring some comics that I have enjoyed in the past here today. My partner and I are actually working on a queer horror comic together ourselves. I am doing the writing and color work and he will be creating the pencils/inks. I will be doing a separate blog about it when we have finished the first installation of it, so keep them eyes peeled for an announcement closer to June.

Without further ado let's get into some creeptastic comics!

Abby Howard

Abby Howard has been a long time favourite of mine, ever since my partner and I saw her on Penny arcade's talent show Strip Search. She has and continues to make several comics and also just released an awesome Dinosaur book. While she is primarily into creeping people out with her comic nightmares, she also does a funny called Junior Science Power-Hour. Its dark sense of humour is something I really enjoy, especially since her horror work has started to seep into her funnies. Nevertheless, I’m here to discuss her horror work and there are several to choose from. First of all, she made a long-form webcomic named The Last Halloween, which follows a little human girl and her group of monstrous companions on a quest of survival when the walls of reality come down and the monsters, who used to abode in the shadows roam freely in the world of humans.

My personal favourites though, are her short stories and among those my absolute front runner: The Door in the Kitchen. It seems like Abby herself “stars’ in this haunting tale, in which she discovers the dark secret of her own home. It speaks of the invasion of ones comfort zone, the disturbance of a safe space, like a break-in. It is incredibly disturbing in its subtlety and the suspense created such an unsettling air, while she tries to ignore what is going on, right up to her inevitable confrontation with what is going on.

Insexts comic created by Marguerite Bennett and Ariela Kristanina

Regular readers might recall me covering Ariela Kristantina’s artwork in this comic extensively a couple of blogs back and if you are not familiar I highly suggest you check it out, but let me just say that I absolutely adore her work, to the point where I actually went and splurged on an original page from this comic, which currently resides on my living room wall.

So, since I’ve covered the art in this comic already, I think this time around I should focus on Marguerite Bennet’s writing.

I should begin with the introduction. Normally I don’t even care much about intros, but Bennet has distilled the feelings that I and probably most women have had that living as a woman* is inherently body-horror into a single page. This intro and subsequently the comic itself deal with the oppression women face towards their bodies every day and gives it a cathartic release in the shape of two women who turn the rage that had been inflicted on them back outward by transforming themselves into monsters, to reject the rules which shackled them and go out to live freely, even if it means to literally rip through those that try to hold them. Paired with amazing art by Ariela Kristantina, it is a modern day queer horror story, that not only feels out the fantastical gore, but also portraits the love of two women in spite of the archaic social conventions around them and – full disclosure – a lot of NSFW moments, which make me love this comic even more.

Endzeit by Olivia Vieweg

Is a beautifully coloured story about zombies, that’s rendered in a style which closely leans on manga, told from the perspectives of two very different female characters. While it holds up some tried and true traditions of zombie stories, it is the characters perspectives that make it fresh and interesting, because rarely do you see a spectrum of female identifying characters at the front of a story where the dialogues are completely about themselves and not about some random dude.

It is refreshing to see a story told from two very contrasting personalities. These are two young women who are thrown into an incredibly traumatic experience and the sometimes opposing ways in which they deal with their situation is the dynamic that shapes this tale of survival. The art and colors make an otherwise grim and grisly story beautiful to look at and give the story an added depth.

Originally it was written in German, but you can find it in English online at Webtoons or as your local comic book shop to order it for you!

Emily Carroll- Through the Woods

This is a collection of short stories, with a unique art style and graphic storytelling. Emily Carrol tells a range of stories in the tradition of gothic writing dating back to the likes of Shelley and Poe. She masterfully employs foreboding and claustrophobic atmosphere interspersed with a sense of being lost out in the dark wilderness, swept up by forces beyond our control. Her Characters often bring about their own predicaments in a variety of blood curdling ways.

What really gets me though, is the artwork. The contrasts of vivid watercolors and meandering graphic elements against borderless panels that show their subjects in ghostly white line work on pitch black or blood red backgrounds, almost like a photo negative, give Carrol's storytelling an immensely individual touch. There really isn’t anybody out there who does it the same way and her bold shot-picks and warped perspectives give these stories a nightmarish quality.


Lastly I would like to give mention to one more book, which I feel I can’t dedicate a full section to, because it is not entirely made by female identifying creators. It is Outside, an anthology with a diverse cast of creators and a very unique overall look, edited by Doron Hamburger and Amir Naaman.