The 25 Best Scary Comics For Kids (Updated)

Comics Features Comics
Share Tweet Submit Pin
  • kidsscarycomics adventure-time-spoooktakular Adventure Time 2017 SPOook- TACULAR
    Writers: Adam Cesare, Grady Hendrix, Chris Lackey, Alyssa Wong
    Artists: Heather Danforth, Slimm Fabert, Christine Larsen, Kate Sherron
    Publisher: BOOM! Studios

    Since 2013, BOOM! Studios has invited a mathematical team of cartoonists to celebrate Halloween with Finn, Jake and the Adventure Time ensemble. Creators ranging from Ming Doyle and Frazer Irving to Hanna K. have revealed the macabre underbelly of the Land of Ooo, veering from the quirky D&D, cosmic opera elements of the show to spoopier extremes. This year’s holiday special starts on a macabre note with a Peppermint Butler cover from Ian Culbard, the man responsible for 2011’s comic translation of At The Mountains of Madness, which netted a British Fantasy Award. The formal candy occultist doesn’t just grace the cover, though; he stars in three separate tales courtesy Adam Cesare, Grady Hendrix, Heather Danforth and Slimm Fabert, among others. This narrative witches brew retains AT’s mix of daring questing and disarming whimsy, with Pep Buts using the arcane to clean his bowtie and trading spells with adversarial magicians. One of the entries even takes place in the gender-swapped reality of the Ice King’s fan fiction, as Butterscotch Butler squares off against Marshall Lee. Comics like this are one of the rare instances of work appropriate for kids but still wildly entertaining to adults—and an even more uncommon treat in the horror arena. Sean Edgar
  • kidsscarycomics anyasghost Anya’s Ghost
    Writer/Artist: Vera Brosgol
    Publisher: Square Fish

    Self-conscious about her body, her accent and her immigrant roots, teenager Anya could use a friend—which is exactly what she thinks she finds when she falls into a forgotten well and discovers the ghost of a long-dead young woman named Emily. By wearing Emily's finger bone around her neck, Anya can carry her spectral BFF with her at all times. This seems at first to be the perfect arrangement: Anya is never alone, and Emily can use her ghostly abilities to help Anya cheat on tests, spy on classmates and generally get the upper hand in her beleaguered life. Writer/artist Vera Brosgol draws on her own childhood experiences to portray Anya at uncomfortable odds with her history and place in the ever-shifting social hierarchy of young adulthood. Anya's Ghost takes a surprising and thought-provoking turn in its final act, serving up a perfect conclusion to this YA spook-fest. Steve Foxe
  • kidsscarycomics babayaga Baba Yaga’s Assistant
    Writer: Marika McCoola
    Artist: Emily Carroll
    Publisher: Candlewick

    Marika McCoola and Emily Carroll’s recent YA graphic novel Baba Yaga’s Assistant isn’t nearly as eerie as Carroll’s typical work—but it’s not trying to be. Like a modern-day Grimms’ fairy tale, the book's Russian witch teaches as much as she terrorizes. In Masha, McCoola and Carroll have constructed a believably complex young woman to match wits with Baba Yaga astride her chicken-legged house. The scary bits hover just on the acceptable side for younger audiences, with key moments tailor-made for Carroll’s spooky style. Steve Foxe
  • kidsscarycomics callacthulhu Calla Cthulhu
    Writers: Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer
    Artist: Erin Humiston
    Publisher: Dark Horse

    When Paste first chatted with authors Sarah Dyer and Evan Dorkin about Calla Cthulhu, we called it “the first Lovecraftian coming-of-age tale”; a description accurate enough for Dark Horse to emblazon it across the print edition’s front cover. Melding aspects of H.P. Lovecraft’s vaunted, sprawling Mythos with chosen-one tropes à la Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Calla Cthulhu introduces Calla, a green-haired teen girl with a cosmically creepy uncle and a doomed destiny in which she wants no part. The story first took full advantage of the Stela app’s unique vertical format, unleashing artist Erin Humiston to splay tentacled horror across panels optimized for an iPhone screen. Now, with reworking from Humiston and the Dark Horse editorial team, Calla exists in a standard trade format to begin an eldritch second life in print. Steve Foxe
  • kidsscarycomics campmidnight-gn-1 Camp Midnight
    Writer: Steven T. Seagle
    Artist: Jason Adam Katzenstein
    Publisher: Image Comics

    Preteen Skye hates spending the summer with her “stepmonster,” the woman who married her divorced father. So it’s both a blessing and a curse when her parents collectively decide to send her to camp for the warmer months of the year. Not that Skye is going to enjoy the shining rays of the sun—Camp Midnight kicks into gear when night falls, and its residents can reveal their true selves: eight-legged mean girls, surprisingly kind witches and a hunky, skinny-dipping werewolf. Skye is coy about her “true form,” but so is her new best friend, a girl the rest of the camp seems keen on ignoring. Ben 10 co-creator and comics veteran Steven T. Seagle and New Yorker cartoonist Jason Adam Katzenstein craft a spookily fun twist on summer-camp coming-of-age tales, aided by Katzenstein’s expressive cartooning and inspired color choices. Steve Foxe
  • kidsscarycomics castnoshadow Cast No Shadow
    Writer: Nick Tapalansky
    Artist: Anissa Espinosa
    Publisher: First Second

    Nick Tapalansky and Anissa Espinosa join the legacy of the spooky bildungsroman with Cast No Shadow, a graphic novel about a teen who falls in love with a young girl in a dilapidated mansion. The new pair’s troubles run deeper than awkward parental meetings, though, as new GF Eleanor lacks a pulse and non-ectoplasmic body. (At least they’ll never receive the dreaded “talk.”) This is the first major work for the creative duo, marked by an endearing, bubbly descent into afterlife puppy love, with stylized, soft coloring from Espinosa. Sean Edgar
  • kidsscarycomics costumequest Costume Quest: Invasion of the Candy Snatchers
    Writer/Artist: Zac Gorman
    Publisher: Oni Press

    One the best Halloween specials of the past decade didn’t pop up on primetime television, but invited gamers to grab a controller and collect digital candy in the charming RPG Costume Quest. Its creators—adventure gaming icon Tim Shafer, former Pixar animator Tasha Harris and Double Fine Studios—married clever programming with hilarious, spooktacular writing. When Oni announced a comic continuation, expectations ran high for a voice to rival the chops of Schafer and co-writer Elliott Roberts. Zac Gorman, creator of Magical Game Time, more than lives up to the legacy. Invasion of the Candy Snatchers' former game monsters are affable and quirky, embarking on an ‘80s teen romp fantasy with an endearing message to love your friends, no matter their dorky wrappers. Sean Edgar
  • kidsscarycomics thecreeps The Creeps
    Writer/Artist: Chris Schweizer
    Publisher: Abrams

    Like some gleeful hybrid of The Breakfast Club, Scooby Doo and the work of alt-animation icon Craig McCracken, The Creeps series snares readers into its panels with swift storytelling and loving eccentricity. Now in its third volume (The Attack of the Jack-O-Lanters), the comics star misfits Carol, Mitchell, Jarvis and Rosario as they combat Frankenfrogs, trolls and other baddies from infringing on their home of Pumpkins County. Schweizer injects the same breathless tempo found in his Crogan historical adventures, while also reinforcing themes of identity and acceptance for young folks at their most vulnerable. Sean Edgar
  • kidsscarycomics bookcover500wide The Creepy Casefiles of Margo Maloo
    Writer/Artist: Drew Weing
    Publisher: First Second

    Drew Weing’s Creepy Casefiles, with its quirky kids, sympathetic beasties and hand-rendered coloring, reads like a classic children’s title from decades past…if not for the astute, subtle observations on cultural dynamics within cities and the ripple effects of gentrification. Charles has just moved to Echo City (an original locale that blends details of major cities into a brochure-ready whole) and soon discovers that the apartment building his father is renovating contains residents of the non-human variety (specifically a troll who pilfers Charles’ stuffed collectibles). On the recommendation of his record-setting-obsessed neighbor, Charles seeks out the services of “monster mediator” Margo Maloo, a young girl with a knack for navigating the cultural middle ground between the human and inhuman worlds. Weing never forgets: monsters are people, too. Steve Foxe
  • kidsscarycomics donaldduck Walt Disney’s Donald Duck “Trick or Treat”
    Writer/Artist: Carl Barks
    Publisher: Fantagraphics

    Fantagraphics’ Carl Barks hardcover should delight aficionados devoted to Donald's sequential art legacy: “Trick or Treat” presents Barks’ original 32-page vision of the titular story, restoring nine pages originally cut from Donald Duck #26 in 1952. But if you simply like Barks, comics or happiness in general, this attractive tome overflows with classic all-ages fun. Books like these further cement Barks’ imagination as near fathomless, and prove that the auteur could spin sheer kooky fun with only 10 pages and a gaggle of waterfowl. Sean Edgar
  • kidsscarycomics ghosts-front-cover Ghosts
    Writer/Artist: Raina Telgemier
    Publisher: Scholastic Graphix

    Raina Telgemeier is our generation’s comics ambassador, producing touching, funny graphic novels that not only reach a ton of readers, but engage folks who lie outside the male adult demo associated with the medium. Ghosts adds an intoxicating dose of magic to the cartoonist’s masterful grip on character and relationship. Catarina’s family forces her to move to a shady NorCal town to facilitate her sister, who’s diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. Not only does Catarina accept the presence of the playful undead, she also faces her sibling’s mortality. Big issues for a kids comic, right? Leave it to Telgemeier to articulate daunting concepts with kindness and clarity, while packing her panels with a dizzying array of dancing skeletons and smiling ghouls. Sean Edgar
  • kidsscarycomics gothamacademy Gotham Academy
    Writers: Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher
    Artists: Karl Kerschel and others
    Publisher: DC Comics

    Even without the surprisingly scary ghost-story anthology issue, DC’s Gotham Academy maintains a season-appropriate level of spookiness. Olive Silverlock is a student at the prestigious—and totally creepy—Gotham Academy, and she harbors a dark secret that pushes her into a world of ghostly haunts, secret passageways, scaly monsters in abandoned churches, and the next best thing to a swoon-worthy vampire: a swoon-worthy teen Man-Bat. Co-writers Cloonan and Fletcher deftly interweave Gotham lore into this wholly original tale, and primary artist Karl Kerschel lends the book an animated look perfect for readers who’ve exhausted classic Scooby Doo episodes this Halloween. Steve Foxe
  • kidsscarycomics goosebumps Goosebumps
    Writer: R. L. Stine
    Artists: Various
    Publisher: Scholastic Graphix

    Goosebumps nostalgia is a powerful force, one capable of pushing a Jack Black-led film to the top of the box office in 2015. The original books, however…don’t always hold up. Bless Scholastic Graphix for assembling talented cartoonists including Scott Morse, Dave Roman, Jill Thompson, Ted Naifah, Greg Ruth, Kyle Baker, Dean Haspiel and more to breathe new life into R. L. Stine’s iconic middle-grade chillers. The same dummy-and-lawn-gnome stories that terrified ‘90s babies can live on to haunt a new generation, while simultaneously introducing young readers to some of the best cartoonists in the biz. It’s a regular Halloween miracle. Steve Foxe
  • kidsscarycomics gaimancoralinegraveyard The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel Vol. 1 & 2 and Coraline: The Graphic Novel
    Writer: Neil Gaiman
    Adapted by: P. Craig Russell
    Publisher: HarperCollins

    Over decades of collaboration, artist P. Craig Russell has proven that he “gets” Gaiman. The original novels of Coraline and The Graveyard Book already have solid visual identities thanks to Dave McKean’s off-kilter ink illustrations, so it’s to Russell’s credit that he manages to craft adaptations capable of standing on their own. Russell brings his accomplished realism to the pages, expanding scenes with grand visual potential and maintaining chunks of prose when appropriate. While Coraline is a solo endeavor and an excellent showcase of masterful art, The Graveyard Book sees Russell guiding a cadre of killer collaborators including Kevin Nowlan, Jill Thompson and Tony Harris to bring the Newbery Medal winner to funereal life. Steve Foxe
  • kidsscarycomics hilda-and-the-troll---web-1000 The Hilda Series
    Writer/Arist: Luke Pearson
    Publisher: Flying Eye Books

    Luke Pearson’s series of comics about a blue-haired little adventurer isn’t traditionally spooky in the ghosts-and-werewolves sense, but it takes place in a land full of trolls, giants and other supernatural critters. Pearson’s large pages, carefully crafted color palette and gorgeous panel arrangement (lots of variety and overlap) are fun to look at, even if you can't read yet. If you can, you'll be swept up in its spunky protagonist's adventures. Read the comic now before it becomes an animated series on Netflix in the near future. Hillary Brown
  • kidsscarycomics 25f8f445-cfc2-4774-8d6f-35ae142c584f The Itty Bitty Series
    Writers: Art Baltazar/Franco Aureliani
    Artist: Art Baltazar
    Publisher: Dark Horse

    The Itty Bitty series does to horror comics what POP! figurines did to mainstream slashers like Michael Myers and Leatherface: they cute-ify the otherwise terrifying. Whether that’s in the form of witches, cauldrons, skeletons or Hellboy himself, the team has crafted not only an adorable aesthetic, but a meaningful introduction to all things spooky, crafting completely enjoyable tales to share with your kids in the process. Tyler R. Kane
  • kidsscarycomics kitarocover-vol1 Kitaro
    Writer/Arist: Shigeru Mizuki
    Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly

    Drawn & Quarterly has been reissuing small compilations of Shigeru Mizuki's comics about Kitaro, a yokai (monster) boy who helps humans deal with the supernatural world. Provided your kids can handle something a little gross, tempered with plenty of humor, Kitaro is the original Margo Maloo, a mediator between the human and spooky worlds. These small comics are not only a fun way to give your kids some gentle chills, but they’re a fine introduction to manga and Japanese culture. Hillary Brown
  • kidsscarycomics screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-14447-am Little Vampire
    Writer/Arist: Joann Sfar
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster

    Joann Sfar is one of the most wide-ranging comic artists working today, his oeuvre stretching from his very adult material in Pascin to his goofy long-running Dungeon series (a collaboration with Lewis Trondheim) to Little Vampire, a series of books for children about a juvenile bloodsucker and his interactions with the human world. Like much of Sfar's work, it mixes tones to charming effect. It can be dark, but there’s also plenty of humor, and a realistic yet romantic approach to the subject, a light-hearted pessimism that’s rare in the world of kids comics. Hillary Brown
  • kidsscarycomics lumberjanes9 Lumberjanes #9
    Writers: Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson
    Artists: Brittney Williams, Faith Erin Hicks, Others
    Publisher: BOOM! Studios

    Way back at the beginning of 2015, Paste chatted with BOOM! editor and Lumberjanes co-creator Shannon Watters about a range of topics, including the surprisingly spooky ninth issue of the series, an anthology standalone featuring contributions from, among others, Faith Erin Hicks and Brittney Williams. A creator after our own frightening hearts, Watters spoke about the value of scaring kids: “Nothing’s going to hurt you when you’re reading about ghosts and looking at scary illustrations, and there are a lot of things out there that are truly, truly scary. I think it’s good for kids to be a little scared, in the safe space of children’s literature.” This issue, the first following Lumberjanes’ upgrade to ongoing status, more than accomplishes that task thanks to its campfire-tale premise. Who knew that an Appalachian folktale about a tail-less cat could be so unsettling? Readers new to Lumberjanes will find this one-shot to be an enjoyably Halloween-y sampler of the book’s beastly good, often monster-filled fun. Steve Foxe
  • kidsscarycomics overthegardenwall Over the Garden Wall
    Writers: Patrick McHale, Amalia Levari, Kiernan Sjursen-Lien, Others
    Artists: Jim Campbell, Cara McGee, Others
    Publisher: BOOM! Studios

    Former Adventure Time creative director and writer Patrick McHale is probably, most definitely a Halloween fan. Look no further than Over the Garden Wall, McHale’s Cartoon Network miniseries about two step-brothers traveling through a colorful, macabre countryside rooted in Colonial folklore and fairytales. McHale and show storyboard artist Jim Campbell continued that intoxicating journey with BOOM! in a comic special and four-issue miniseries. The books have veered more comical than creepy—bumbling land pirates, FTW—with later issues by an array of artists exploring the darker corners of The Unknown. Sean Edgar
  • kidsscarycomics plantszombies Plants vs. Zombies
    Writer: Paul Tobin
    Artists: Ron Chan, Jacob Chabot, Andie Tong, Others
    Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

    Comics licensed from videogames don’t always have the most creative wiggle room, but a tower defense game about the undead fighting militarized fauna holds a cornucopia of storytelling potential. Credit Paul Tobin, who’s woven far more insidious yarns in Colder, for seeding some wildly fun plots in the Plants Vs. Zombies universe created by PopCap Games. Giant zombie mechs, time travel and monster trucks all collide in a battle arena that pits vine against brain-eating villain. Tobin and an array of artists consistently keep the glee and cherry bombs coming, and these comics offer the perfect alternative for kids who may be zombified by their iPhones. Sean Edgar
  • kidsscarycomics scarygodmother Scary Godmother
    Writer/Artist: Jill Thompson
    Publisher: Dark Horse

    So…Scary Godmother is just Jill Thompson spreading joyous havoc in her own comics, right? Compare the cartonist's wide smile and ginger sausage curls to the titular witchy sprite, and there’s few (if any) differences. Created for Thompson’s niece, Hannah—also a character in the book—Scary Godmother ultimately feels like a personal invitation into a raucous sleepover that never sees the sun rise. The hyper-detailed art remains awe-inspiring for any age, filled with gloriously skewed angles and rampant energy. Bonus points: a protagonist who successfully rocks a frayed ballerina skirt. Sean Edgar
  • kidsscarycomics spookhouse Spook House
    Writers/Artists: Eric Powell, Steve Mannion, Others
    Publisher: Albatross Funnybooks

    The Goon and Hillbilly mastermind Eric Powell wouldn’t be the first cartoonist you’d expect to join the kids comics movement, lest we forget what we’ll humbly call SSB (Google it). But his new macabre jam anthology, Spook House, delivers 23 pages of PG-13 frights in every issue. In the first issue, Powell and guest artist Steve Mannion write a goofy, kitschy love letter to the horror publishers of the ‘50s and ‘60s, mainly Warren and EC. This is the closest we’ll get to another Tales From the Crypt, rendered in inky, retro adoration by a master of the form. And whether you’re in your teens or well past them, Baby Hambone and Mangley Joe’s Chili Pot will still make a cameo in your nightmares. Sean Edgar
  • kidsscarycomics bookcover-waitgp Waiting for the Great Pumpkin
    Writer/Arist: Charles Schultz
    Publisher: Fantagraphics

    In addition to its comprehensive Complete Peanuts volumes, Fantagraphics has been issuing a series of small (in page count and dimensions), seasonally focused books. This 64-pager collects many of the Great Pumpkin strips, which are more about wishing and faith than about candy and goblins. They’re not as syrupy as you might remember, though, which makes them suitable for a wide range of ages. Hillary Brown
  • kidsscarycomics thewitchboy The Witch Boy
    Writer/Artist: Molly Ostertag
    Publisher: Scholastic

    Teens are more likely to feel like monsters than to fear them, their bodies contorting into new shapes, pores oozing and hormones pumping. These years mark a massive shift in identity both corporeal and internal, and that jarring shift is even more severe for Aster, the protagonist of Molly Ostertag’s The Witch Boy. The graphic novel follows a family whose male members grow into shapeshifters and females become witches—with no line-crossing. Yet Aster finds himself more inclined to sling spells than sprout fur, and a new threat emerges demanding his special talents, even if it results in his exile. Ostertag brews a fun and compelling analogy for the grating conformity kids feel as they segue into adults, appropriately constructed around one of history’s most prosecuted groups. Sean Edgar
Recently in Comics
More from Comics