Oh, the horror! Scott Snyder is probably best known for his run on Batman, but did you know he is also a master of horror? Horror stories are tricky to make legitimately scary, but Scott Snyder has no fear when it comes to giving you the chills. He takes tired, worn out monsters and revives them while blending them with real-world fears we all have. Below are five series that prove Scott Snyder is one of the best horror writers in comics.
Vampires should not sparkle. They’re bloodthirsty, vicious creatures that feed on humans, something Scott Snyder understands and embraces. In this DC Vertigo series with art by Rafael Albuquerque, he takes readers on a decade-hopping epic with a new breed of American-born vampire. He takes these creatures that have become stale and re-energizes them by expanding vampire mythology and weaving these creatures into our human history.
Snyder throws vampires into moments of history and uses them to examine darker points of our history over the decades, making American Vampire even scarier. One story you can’t wait for a vampire to get staked, the next you’ll be cheering for the vampires chewing on evil humans. It’s an exciting approach for readers to view history from a different perspective and making us question who exactly are the real monsters?
Why do movies like Jaws scare us? It’s because of the beasts lurking just below the surface of the water, ready and waiting for a tasty snack of human flesh. That is until we swim back to the safety of the shore. In Scott Snyder’s 10-part horror/sci-fi series from DC Vertigo with art by Sean Murphy, a group of scientists are brought to an underwater government facility to examine, probe, and understand a mysterious creature found in the depths of the sea.
What makes The Wake particularly scary is the question Snyder poses in the comic: what happens when humans get bumped off the top of the food chain? We’re still discovering new species all the time, many of those come from the sea, it’s a mysterious world we haven’t fully explored. Snyder takes this idea and spins his version of an apocalyptic nightmare where humanity’s doom comes from creatures in the water. People aren’t afraid of the monsters in the sea if there is dry land to save them, but what happens when all that land becomes water? Cue the Jaws theme.
You know witches, right? Pointy nose, cauldron, broomstick, all that. In his ongoing Image Comics series with art by Jock, Snyder turns these silly, cliché monsters into something truly terrifying. He does away with the typical version of witches and turns these new versions into something far more wicked then you’d ever imagine. But these witches follow one rule and will only attack you if someone has pledged you to them.
What is done so well in Wytches, much like American Vampire, is that Snyder puts the readers into the shoes of these characters and makes them wonder, what would you do? If you could make that one person who is making your life miserable disappear and receive a reward for it, would you?
Snyder then examines the flip side of that question and makes you wonder how you would feel having a monster stalk you because a friend or family member chose to sacrifice you. While this is all set in a world of fantasy, the comic series asks: are people willing to sacrifice each other to monsters to get what they want?
We all know the age-old rule: don’t stray from the path in the woods otherwise the hungry wolf will get you. In this 7-part Image Comics series from Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft with art by Attila Futaki, Severed takes this simple idea and applies it to tell the story of a young boy running away from home, only to find the road he’s travelling has a hungry wolf hiding in the trees.
What’s unique about this comics is that it isn’t a traditional horror story, it’s written more like a fairy tale. Not a Disney fairy tale though, but more like a dark Grimm-style fairy tale. We’ve all made rash decisions that have backfired and left us in some pretty dire situations. Snyder and his partners take this relatable notion and spin a story about how one wrong choice can put you on the menu for a monster. It’s stories like these that make you second guess yourself before making impulsive decisions.
What happens if the only way to save the world is to keep it in balance? When malevolent forces threaten that balance and cause everything to become unbalanced, terrible things will happen. In his 18-issue run of DC’s Swamp Thing with art by Yanick Paquette, Scott Snyder delves deep into the mind of Alec Holland/Swamp Thing as he faces an enemy of rot and death who’s threatening that balance.
Where Scott Snyder injects the horror into this story is the reason why Alec has to become the Swamp Thing. Where there is life there is also death, and someone has to keep that in check. Unfortunately, the only way to do that is by becoming a monster yourself. When you strip away swamp monsters fighting reanimated bone monsters, what Scott Snyder boils this story down to is one dark decision. Alec has to doom himself and everything that makes him human to become a monster that has to save a world that is constantly unbalanced, something that will never change.