A Panel To Kill

Halloween has come and gone.  The windows once adorned with pumpkins and witches are now home to Christmas Trees and Santa- yes they’re trying to skip Thanksgiving again (more to come on a future post)!   Regular readers to my blog know I’m an avid comic book reader and collector.  I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying thousands of stories featuring adventure, action, drama, comedy, and sometimes horror.  I asked a select group of comic book artists, store owners, and fans what the scariest story they’ve ever read was.  Warning, some of these posts reference stories not meant for young readers.

Here is what they said:

Ryan Henry – comic book fan and aspiring creator.

Batman vs The Red Hood !

I don’t think I have read that many but one comes to mind. There is a batman comic where he is lying beaten in an alleyway and people who may or not be there come up to and talk to him. It was scary and creepy at the same time. I don’t remember the comic name, but I think it was from the early 90s







Ilan Strasser – owner Mighty Moose Comics in Bellevue, WA

COMIC classics illustrated war of the worlds
Not to be confused with the Tom Cruise War of the Worlds

Probably the single scariest comic story I’ve ever read was the Classics Illustrated War of the Worlds comic!! Because I was young when I first read it and I was of the generation that grew up on 1950’s sci-fi movies, it seemed very possible to me that it could happen. It was scary as hell for a 10 year old!!


In the Bellevue area? Learn more about Mighty Moose Comics here!





Jan Marc Quisimbing – Comic book artist, writer, and creator 

2 favs: Batman Gothic, art by Klaus Janson and Gotham By Gaslight. Great reads that still give me chills. If you don’t own them, you should. Also Batman The Cult. Great stuff 
King of Hellbatman-the-cult-1Gotham by Gaslight

Jan Marc has created spectacular comics of his own including Pogi Boy and Big Brown Monkey.  For some of his ridiculously creative and awesome art, check his website out here.  If you are in the Sedona area, look for the Janimal around the local art scene and comic book shows.

Scott Hughes – Owner, Highlander Games and Comics in Boonton, NJ and Fat Moose Comics in Whippany, NJ 

When I think of the ‘Scariest’ Comic story, I of course try to think of some story of horror. Perhaps my favorite Eerie or Creepy book. But, when I think of the books that I loved when I was younger, the books that braved the trail of realism, it is hard for me to think of a ‘scarier’ story than Kraven’s Last Hunt. A story that single-handedly changed how Spider-Man was written. It’s haunting imagery, the fear in Mary Jane’s eyes, the desperate actions of Spider-Man, created a dark tone and realism that I had not read before in Amazing Spider-Man. The eventual ending and suicide of an iconic Spidey Villain left me with a sense of loss that, years removed, I can still feel the twangs of.


For info about Highlander Games & Comics click here

For more info on Fat Moose Comics ( my comic book store of choice and a truly great store for all things fun) click here 

“Philtastic” Phil Maenza – That’s me! 🙂

Admitting I’ve never been into horror movies or comics.  As a kid I preferred Godzilla to Jason any day of the week and as an adult I’d watch Pan’s Labyrinth or The Shining before a single episode of The Walking Dead.  I can recall two distinct comic book stories that creeped me out big time.  The first is Scott Snyder’s modern day classic Batman story: The Court of Owls.


The idea of a cultish secret society quietly occupying the dark corners of Gotham City was enough to terrify anyone including Batman himself.  It’s the first time I ever noticed the character was afraid because the master detective who was smart enough to out think criminal minds like the Riddler, Penguin, and Joker was surprised and literally stopped by the shocking finale. In the end it didn’t take a super powered homicidal maniac to scare Batman, it took a group of well off socialites in masks.

The second scariest tale I’ve read wasn’t a complete story it was one single panel.  The first time Marvel’s Ultimate Universe almost ended (not really the universe, just the quality stories (except Ultimate Spidey), the body count was high.  Seminal heroes like Daredevil, Beast, and Nightcrawler met their untimely fate- some off panel.  Although many of the deaths were shocking and unexpected the most gruesome and surprising was the beloved Wasp.    For the first time in my long history or reading comics, I made an audible gasp as I turned the page to see the longtime Avenger half-eaten by the Blob.  The villain was in turn bitten in half by Hank Pym but I’ve never forgotten Ms. Van Dyne’s fate.




What is your scariest memory from either comics or literature?  Let me know and I’ll recap some of the best ones – phil@successphil.com

Philip A. Maenza aka “Philtastic Phil” is an entrepreneur, consumer behavior professional, and lifestyle expert.  His interests include art, film, music, stand up comedy, fitness, and comic books. Phil is also a dedicated community volunteer and always open to connecting with like-minded optimists.  The Joker’s appearance during End Game came in at a close third for me. 

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