Manga and comic books in general are in a unique position to deliver horror to their readers in a way that no other medium can, blurring the lines between prose that fuels the imagination and films that fling terror at you full force.
You only need to read some of the best horror manga to understand what I mean, as the writer’s words get under your skin and their art deliciously complements those words. The best horror manga can be more effective at instilling fear in your mind than the best horror novels or films. However, separating the truly essential horror manga from the mediocre can be difficult. You can click here to read manga online without sign up.
Here are some of the best horror mangas you can read:
- The stories in this Junji Ito manga collection are all distinct and stand alone; they demonstrate the breadth and depth of Ito’s artistic and narrative abilities to an astounding degree. Hanging Balloons is one of my personal favourites among these horror manga short stories. This story depicts a world invaded by massive balloons, each bearing the face of a real person. Your balloon is stalking you, a noose attached to its bottom, and if it catches you, it will hang you.
- Uzumaki’s story takes place in the fictional Japanese town of Kurozu-cho, which is shrouded in fog (literally Black Vortex Town). A curse involving the spiral symbol has afflicted this town. Uzumaki follows a young couple, Kirie and Shuichi, as they witness other townspeople succumb to the spiral curse. This curse causes a mind-boggling state of paranoia and obsession, which eventually leads to death.
- Tokyo Ghoul
- Tokyo Ghoul is perhaps the most famous horror manga on this list. This is due in part to the popularity of its anime adaptation, which should be avoided. Trust me on this: read the manga. Tokyo Ghoul, unlike Junji Ito’s works, is a long-running serialised seinen horror manga set in an alternate Tokyo populated by hungry vampire-like ghouls that hunt humans.
- The Drifting Classroom
- The titular drifting classroom is a school that is struck by an earthquake, mysteriously transporting it and its students to a post-apocalyptic future. In this sudden and impossible situation, devoid of hope and understanding, insanity quickly takes hold of the school’s adults, those who should be caring for it. After murder and immolation have taken care of the adults, the children are left to fend for themselves in this world.
- Chainsaw Man
- It’s a shounen story about a poor teenager gaining power, learning to be good, and doing brave things. However, Chainsaw Man is also a horror manga, with grotesque imagery, gallons of blood, and themes of death, loss, fear, and trauma. While Chainsaw Man may not frighten readers in the same way that Junji Ito’s manga does, it is a horror manga. It revels in blood and gore, and it isn’t afraid to make the reader feel lost, lonely, and scared at times.
- I Am a Hero
- I Am a Hero also rewrites the zombie formula by depicting a world transformed by a disease that transforms humans into monstrous, flesh-eating beasts. While not technically zombies, they adhere to the zombie apocalypse formula while also twisting it nicely. Hideo, our protagonist, is a loser. He is unprepared to deal with much of real life, let alone a zombie apocalypse.