Critical Approaches to Horror Comic Books : Red Ink in the Gutter book cover
1st Edition

Critical Approaches to Horror Comic Books
Red Ink in the Gutter

ISBN 9781032195704
Published August 16, 2022 by Routledge
268 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This volume explores how horror comic books have negotiated with the social and cultural anxieties framing a specific era and geographical space.

Paying attention to academic gaps in comics’ scholarship, these chapters engage with the study of comics from varying interdisciplinary perspectives, such as Marxism; posthumanism; and theories of adaptation, sociology, existentialism, and psychology. Without neglecting the classical era, the book presents case studies ranging from the mainstream comics to the independents, simultaneously offering new critical insights on zones of vacancy within the study of horror comic books while examining a global selection of horror comics from countries such as India (City of Sorrows), France (Zombillénium), Spain (Creepy), Italy (Dylan Dog), and Japan (Tanabe Gou’s Manga Adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft), as well as the United States.

One of the first books centered exclusively on close readings of an under-studied field, this collection will have an appeal to scholars and students of horror comics studies, visual rhetoric, philosophy, sociology, media studies, pop culture, and film studies. It will also appeal to anyone interested in comic books in general and to those interested in investigating intricacies of the horror genre.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
John Darowski and Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns

Part I: Horror Comic Books in a Socio-Historical Context

2. From Caligari to Wertham: When EC’s Horror Comics Feared for Their Own Survival
Rui Lopes

3. “Men have Sentenced This Fen to Death”: Marvel’s Man-Thing and the Liberation Politics of the 1970s
Henry Kamerling

4. The Horrors Haunting the City of Joy: Analyzing the Traumas of the Counterinsurgency in City of Sorrows
Debaditya Mukhopadhyay

5. Spanish Creepy: Historical Amnesia in “Las mil caras de Jack el destripador"
Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns

Part II: Race and Gender in Horror Comic Books

6. “A Sight to Dream of, Not to Tell!”: Orality and Power in Marguerite Bennett and Ariela Kristantina’s InSEXts
Lauren Chochinov

7. Gendered Violence and the Abject Body in Junji Itō’s Tomie
Tosha R. Taylor

8. Lily Renée’s The Werewolf Hunter and the Secret Origin of Horror Comics
Blair Davis

9. The Wolf Only Needs to Find You Once: Food, Feeding, and Fear in the Dark Fairy Tales of Emily Carroll
Alexandre Desbiens-Brassard and Gabriella Colombo Machado

10. Borderland Werewolves: The Horrific Representation of the U.S.–Mexico Border in Feeding Ground
Anna Marta Marini

Part III: Adaptation in Horror Comic Books

11. Flesh and Blood: Zombies, Vampires, and George A. Romero’s Transmedia Expansion of the Dead
Trevor Snyder

12. An Alien World: A Comic Book Adaptation of The Willows by Algernon Blackwood
Yelena Novitskaya

13. Horror Transformed: Tanabe Gou’s Manga Adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft
Andrew Smith

14. Mutant Gothic: Marvel’s Mainstreaming of Horror in Uncanny X-Men
Joseph J. Darowski

15. Franken-Castle: Monster Hunters, Monstrous Masculinities, and the Punisher
John Darowski

Part IV: Horror Comic Books and Philosophy

16. Dylan Dog’s Nightmares: The Unheimlich Experience of the Doppelgänger in Dylan Dog’s World
Marco Favaro

17. Messages of Death: Haunted Media in “Kaine: Endorphins – Between Life and Death”
Ingrid Butler

18. Heterotopia and Horror at Show’s End
Christina M. Knopf

19. The Hell Economics of Zombillénium
Annick Pellegrin


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John Darowski is a PhD candidate in Comparative Humanities at the University of Louisville, USA. He has edited an essay collection on Superman adaptations (2021) and has published several essays on the history of superheroes.

Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns (PhD) works at the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA), Argentina. He teaches courses on international horror films and has authored a book about Spanish horror TV series Historias para no Dormir (2019) and has edited a book on James Wan's films.


This collection on horror comics does the essential work of bridging the gap between the well-beaten path of EC horror and the much-needed study of independent and international horror. The dominant orientation in the chapters is effectively based in cultural studies but they also make overtures to other theories—demonstrating an aspect of this collection that is very welcome. Finally, Darowski and Pagnoni Berns’ organizational scheme highlights a rightly expanding focus of horror comics studies (on race and gender) and enlarges the general discussion in a truly important way (with horror and philosophy). Scary good and strongly recommended.

Terrence Wandtke, author of The Comics Scare Returns: The Contemporary Resurgence of Horror Comics, 2018

The greatest plus of the book is the strong international focus; a gripping study, not necessarily for comic book fans only.

Dr. A. Ebert,