Halloween, a time for those who wear creepy costumes as they ask for candy and perform trickery on unsuspecting citizens. But, besides all that, a little known fact is that your favorite major publishers ranging from Marvel to DC to Dark Horse have characters which not only embody the spooky but revel in its aura. These characters have spanned through the paneled page for years, and many have been since forgotten or discarded by the general audience and hardcore fans alike. But, being the comic connoisseur that I am, I would like to shine the spotlight on ten of the heroes who lurk in the shadows and utilize horrific means to take on their opponents. Enjoy!
Ted Sallis, an incredibly talented biochemist, was tasked with recreating the super soldier serum, a formula which created one of the greatest superheroes in the known world: Captain America! But, after being ambushed by a group of mercenaries, Ted narrowly escapes but manages to crash his car into the swamp…. where his formula (and magical forces around him) infuse the swamp foliage with his flesh, thus creating the body-horror imagery of man and plant….. MAN-THING!
Due to his horrific origin story and the horror-based villains he fights in later issues causes Ted to become one of Marvel’s more iconic horror heroes.
Essential Man-Thing Volume One
4. Werewolf By Night
During Dracula’s reign of tyranny against Transylvania, a man known as Gregor tried to get vengeance against the vampire king as his actions had caused the death of his wife. But, instead of killing Dracula, he was bitten by a lycanthropian servant of the bloodlusted ruler. And, due to this curse that had been instilled upon Gregor, he was forced to pass it down among the generations, most dormant until it came to one of his descendants…. Jack Russel!
With Jack, the curse would finally activate and force him to transform into a wolf-like creature by the light of the full-moon which would put him on a collision course with many of Marvel’s street-level fighters such as Moon Knight and Blade.
Essential Werewolf By Night Volume One
Stemming from the planet Drakulon, Vampirella was a part of a race known as the “Vampiri”, an extraterrestrial race who could turn themselves into bats and sucked the life essence from other living things. But, once her race began to die due to a “blood drought”, Vampirella is surprised when an earth-originating spaceship crashes into her planet and once she realizes where the ship came from, she pilots the ship back to earth and becomes a form of vigilante as she devotes herself to the ideals of good while also drinking the blood of those who commit cruel acts.
Transcending Time and Space
The Blood Red Queen Of Hearts
After being summoned to Earth by Grigori Rasputin, “Helboy” (otherwise known as Anung Un Rama) was taken to the United States after a professor known as Trevor Buttenholm found the creature and bonded with him. Due to his upbringing, Hellboy bookmarks the start of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense and, over time, becomes their primary agent. His origins and stories have all encompassed a darker vibe than most tales and the villains he faces are among the most horrifying ever presented in a comic book format.
Hellboy: The Right Hand of Doom
Hellboy: Seed Of Destruction
Hellboy: The Wild Hunt
1. Ghost Rider
A mantle which has been passed down through generations of riders, “The Ghost Rider” is an entity which protects the mortal realm from threats that they can’t even begin to fathom. The mantle of the rider has been passed down from Johnny Blaze, to Danny Ketch, to Alejandra Jones and Robbie Reyes (arguably the most popular of the Ghost Riders due to his appearances on Agents Of SHIELD)
Through their horrific origin stories, villains that each face and the ways they dispatch their opponents through the use of a flaming chain and the penance stare, the mantle of Ghost Rider takes the number one spot as this character was when Marvel started successfully experimenting with mashing up superheroes with other forms of genre fiction.
All-New Ghost Rider
Road to Damnation
Rise Of The Midnight Sons
And, those are my top five horror heroes! Who are your favorites? Let us know in the comments down below!