8 Horror Movies You Probably Didn’t Know Had Comic Book Sequels

I have no problem admitting that I love franchises. I’m completely nostalgic for a time when Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees were unavoidable. I loved when these characters were oversaturated, I really did. Nintendo games, yo-yos, board games, dolls and even toasters. I loved seeing all of it. But my favorite bits of merchandising for any of these movies were always the things that allowed the story to continue. Things like novels and comics.

Even now, when a new comic series gets announced based on a horror movie that I grew up loving, I get incredibly excited. But these things are made for a pretty niche audience, by and large. Many casual fans and even some hardcore ones aren’t typically aware of their existence. Which is why I wanted to take a look back and shine a light on some of these largely forgotten comics. I love seeing new approaches to these ideas and some of them actually turn out very well.

Not all of them, of course. There are always comics that aren’t written by fans of the franchise or that are put together too quickly to make the impact that they should. But every now and then, fans get treated to a pleasant surprise. There are a couple of comic book tie-ins that I have no problem saying are better than some of the actual sequels in their respective franchises.

They’re not always easy to come by, I’ll admit that. But that’s part of the fun of it, seeing what’s out there and what’s attainable. If you know where to look online, many of the older comics can be found dirt cheap. And one of these series is still ongoing.

Some of these are really worth it. Others are just surprising. But both are great in their own ways.

Pumpkinhead

This comic book sequel to Pumpkinhead from original screenwriters Gary Gerani and Mark Patrick Carducci sadly only lasted two issues before its untimely cancellation. Titled The Rites of Exorcism, it tied directly into the events of the first movie, digging a bit deeper into the backstory of the old witch Haggis. It unfortunately met its end just as the new Pumpkinhead started wreaking havoc. It’s amazing to at least have two issues of a comic that digs deeper into that mythology, but it’s hard not to think about what the full mini-series would have looked like.

Pumpkinhead comic by Dark Horse

Child’s Play

Innovation brought Chucky into the comic book world with adaptations of Child’s Play 2 and 3. But they didn’t stop there. They continued on with the story in a 6-part 1991 series simply titled Child’s Play. This series kicks off with a bang, as the first issue revolved around an obsessed horror fan and collector who brings home the doll to show to all of his friends and acts somehow surprised when Chucky actually springs to life and kills them one-by-one.

The most intriguing part of this series, though, is that the main characters were Karen Barclay and Detective Mike Norris. They were two of the leads of the original, but they never made another appearance in any of the sequels. It’s great to see them come back to try and put a stop to Chucky’s pint-sized reign of terror, futile as their efforts might be.

Several years later, Devil’s Due Press would also launch a Chucky comic book that carried on after the events of Seed of Chucky.

Child's Play comic series

Subspecies

I love the fact that there is a Subspecies comic book. I’ve loved that franchise—the original in particular—since I was a kid. I was ecstatic to track down this series. While it’s pretty fascinating from a story perspective, it’s also pretty jarring. It turns out that this comic was launched to tie into the release of the first movie, so it doesn’t really look like anything resembling Subspecies. They didn’t have set photos to go on. I’m pretty sure they only had the original script.

In some ways, that works. The story is set centuries before the events of the film, so it makes sense that things would look a little different. But Radu doesn’t bear any resemblance to Anders Hove and the subspecies in particular look completely different. But the prequel aspects and the origin of the animosity between Radu and his half-brother Stefan are definitely cool to see.

Subspecies comic series

The Thing

Dark Horse launched two comic book sequels to John Carpenter’s remake of The Thing. Both of them, I think, play out better on the comic book page than they probably would have on the screen. It’s great to think about what would happen if McReady survived to go another round against the alien, but that’s ultimately not something I’d like to see on film. I want to be able to preserve the ambiguous ending of the movie.

In a comic, though, it kind of kicks ass. Mac becomes a bit of a pulp hero—similar to his original incarnation in the short story, in that respect—and there’s no limit to the thing’s potential when it’s being depicted on the page. Dark Horse also launched a prequel comic set when the thing first arrived on Earth to tie into the release of 2011’s Thing. That story, which saw the thing go up against Vikings, was excellent.

The Thing comic series

Phantasm

Just like the Phantasm novelization, this comic is almost impossible to find. And when you do, it’s insanely expensive. But hey, this is a list of horror movies you probably didn’t know had comic book counterparts and I had to include it because even I was surprised. It was originally planned as a four-part miniseries, but I believe only one issue was ever produced.

Still, there’s a lot that has me curious and holding out hope that I’ll actually be able to read it someday. The comic digs deep into Mike’s connection with the Tall Man, which was one of the driving points of the series until Ravager wound up abandoning the idea to tell a different story. This issue also seems to give us way more concrete answers than any of the sequels.

Phantasm comic book

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

While there are comics based on the original series—notably the adapation of Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III and the Jason vs. Leatherface miniseries—most of the Texas Chainsaw comics have actually been based on the remake. That could be due to rights issues, but more than likely it’s just that the remake was simply what was popular at the time. Either way, it’s neat to see more Leatherface comics. And some of them are actually very good.

Both the one-shot “About a Boy” and the “Cain and Abel” miniseries show that it’s possible to tell stories within the world of the reboot that don’t feel like exact copies of one another.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre comic series

Puppet Master

I’m not even remotely kidding when I say this: Puppet Master is one of the best horror comics on the market right now. It’s still currently ongoing, so snatch it up. For so long, this has been a franchise with so much untapped potential and an overabundance of continuity errors. This comic uses all of that to its advantage. It turns what could have been hollow attempts to fix plot holes into genuinely emotional stories. More than that, it gives us reasons to care about these characters, especially the puppets themselves.

The second arc, “Rebirth” is the best thing to happen to the franchise since the great Puppet Master III. It poses one simple question: what if the puppets could become human again? But it takes time to explore the question and the ramifications of it in surprisingly emotional and heartfelt ways.

Puppet Master comic book series

Fright Night

I discovered the movie and the tie-in comic virtually back to back. This one was somehow still available when I was a kid and I collected as many issues as I could find. In general, Fright Night is an amazing film with amazing characters and it’s so great to see those characters make the transition to comics, especially when they do it so well.

This series ran for a whopping 22 issues before its cancellation. It felt like a TV series, which I think is its strongest point. It had a monster-of-the-week format before X-Files or Buffy. These were the further adventures of Charley and Peter, and it was great to see the two of them get into increasingly bizarre situations from month to month. And I do mean bizarre. Plus, it brought back Evil Ed as a recurring villain throughout the comic’s run and also resurrected Jerry Dandridge at one point as well.

Fright Night comic series

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Nat Brehmer

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