10 - I LUV HALLOWEEN
Written by: Keith Giffen
Art by: Benjamin Roman
Publisher: Tokyopop Yeah, it seems kind of incongruous to start out a list of manga with not only an American book, but a comedy as well, but we could think of no better book that captures all that is truly great and fun about every candy-lover's favorite holiday. Determined to make the most of the few hours granted to them each year, a trio of particularly gruesome kids who'd give the South Park gang a run for their money gather together to fight off everything from zombies to aliens in an attempt to get the one thing they're truly after…a decent haul of candy. There's a lot of very, very dark humor in this book, which gives it just enough of a creepy edge to warrant inclusion on this list. Artist Benjamin Roman's success story is one to give hope to any budding manga creator, and gave him a chance to work with no less a comic luminary than Keith Giffen to create a book that's reminds us that while Halloween is fun, it's also a time when downright scary events can take place. And if you don't understand the appeal of something like that, may the Chonk'lit monkeys come and play Duran Duran in your underwear (Read volume two…it'll make more sense).
9 - DARK EDGE
Written by: Yu Aikawa
Art by: Yu Aikawa
Publisher: Dr. Master Fans of this series were left hanging around volume six when ComicsOne, its original publisher, folded. The good news is that Dr. Master, the company that took over from ComicsOne, is starting the series up again right where it left off with the publication of volume seven. You might have to do a little hunting to find the first six volumes of this series, but the hunt will be worth it if you like schoolyard dramas involving a little bit of vampires and a whole lot of zombies. When a student enrolls at a local school run by his father, he doesn't realize what's in store for him as people begin to turn up dead, then turn up in class the next day…but perhaps a bit different.
Equal parts Nosferatu, Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Night of the Living Dead, Dark Edge at times reads like one of those great teen horror films, where a gang of teens band together to ward off an ancient evil, and you're spending most of the time figuring out who's going to make it and who isn't. In any event, the renewal of publication for this series is a welcome sight for fans who felt they wouldn't see the continuation of it.
8 - MONSTER
Written by: Naoki Urasawa
Art by: Naoki Urasawa
Publisher: Viz So you're a brilliant surgeon and you have enough ethics to want to save a young boy who's dying rather than a higher-profile patient that might mean more publicity for the hospital. But what happens when that kid you saved turns out to be an evil mastermind who just might bring about the end of the world? This is the problem presented in Monster, a book that is perhaps not a "horror" book in as much as it's a suspense-filled story in the Hitchcock vein of storytelling.
Despite the title of the book, there are no true monsters in this book, but it would seem that humans can be the worst monsters of all at the end of the day. Creator Naoki Urasawa provides characters with enough quirks to make them completely unforgettable, like "Human computer" Inspector Lunge and the title character, Dr. Tenma, a doctor sworn to save lives, now finding he may have to take one in order to protect the world.
7 - SCARY BOOK
Written by: Kazuo Umezu
Art by: Kazuo Umezu
Publisher: Dark Horse If Osamu Tezuka is truly the "Father of All Manga", then Kazuo Umezu may very well be the "Father of all Horror Manga". Surely his work has inspired Junji Ito, another creator who appears later on this list, as well as a horde of other manga-ka who prefer their stories to have a bit of a scary bent. A series of short graphic novellas, Umezu's work may seem a bit dated to recent manga converts, but in fact these books lay the basis for a lot of books that have followed them. They're also great books to help convert your friend who thinks manga is a big waste, but also grew up on a steady diet of House of Mystery or other great American horror comics.
When a girl is replaced by her reflection in the mirror (a few decades before a certain Ms. Larter signed on to be on Heroes), it's a race against her own clock to rectify the situation before she's replaced permanently. In another book, a prank letter turns out to be completely unfunny when the events written into it turn out to be true. Whether or not you're a fan of horror stories, these are books a true manga-phile should be willing to check out.
6 - PET SHOP OF HORRORS
Written by: Matsuri Akino
Art by: Matsuri Akino
Publisher: Tokyopop If you like your Twilight Zone with a bit of a bishonen flair, this is your series. Count D runs a pet shop in Chinatown that deals in rather unusual pets. Each pet that goes out of his shop comes with a story, and many of those stories have a bit of a twist to them. You'll find tales of the supernatural, tales of terror and yes, on a few occasions things actually turn out okay for the people who buy his pets.
Underlying all these tales is a plotline involving the nature of the Count's origin, a policeman determined to get to the truth behind the strange occurrences that surround the Count's pet shop, and a treatise on the nature of man's treatment of animals throughout history. Sound a little heavy handed? Well, perhaps a little toward the end, but by that time you've been thoroughly entertained by the many stories about humans and the pets who own them. Yes, you read that last part right.