I don't really buy into the whole "Friday the 13th" thing. To me it's just a bunch of silly superstition. I don't think a single bad thing has happened to me on a Friday the 13th. Except for August 13, 2009, when I came home from work to find that my toolshed had been struck by lightning and had caught on fire. Or Dec. 13, 2013, when I got chased through a parking lot by a headless horseman on a Segway. Or April 13, 2012, when my pet basset hound, Snifflez, got her vanity collar caught in the sliding doors at Aldi. Or Feb. 13, 2009, when my (former) friends convinced me to see the Michael Bay-produced reboot of the "Friday the 13th" series.
Come to think of it, Friday the 13th hasn't been especially kind to me (or Snifflez). But this year, I've developed an antidote to supplement my regular Santeria sessions: A list of 13 GoComics features perfect for enjoying on a superstitious occasion like today. Enjoy! (And watch your back).
13: Non Sequitur
It doesn't take much to spark Danae's active imagination, especially to the spooky side of things (she does sleep beside a skull lamp, after all). Read more Non Sequitur here.
12: Cul de Sac by Richard Thompson
Speaking of overactive imaginations, the "haunted cubby" sequence back in September of 2011 still stands out as one of the most frightening mysteries ever to occur at Blisshaven Preschool.
11: Pooch Cafe by Paul Gilligan
And there are few canines out there more fun to watch freak out than Poncho of Pooch Cafe fame. (though this Overboard is a pretty great example as well).
10. Adam@Home by Rob Harrell
Adam@Home is not known for being an especially scary strip. But if you ask me, there aren't many more terrifying subjects than family members who can't take a hint.
9. Political Cartoons (by various)
If you want to really freak yourself out while reading cartoons, look no further than GoComics' roster of editorial cartoons. This Tom Toles strip is a particularly vivid example of the role fear plays in the news/infotainment sector, though I'm sure there's probably a similar strip out there mocking MSNBC for the same thing. I'm not taking any sides, but I have definitely witnessed how riled up Fox News makes my grandparents. The Great Depression, World War II and McCarthyism didn't scare them, but a couple hours of cable news sends them into hysterics.
8. Skin Horse by Shaenon K. Garrity and Jeffrey C. Wells
Now we're really getting into creepy territory... Skin Horse is a strip based on the premise that "Somewhere in this great nation is a top-secret government agency in charge of providing aid to America's nonhuman citizenry." To paraphrase a recent Skin Horse strip, "there's no cure for mad genius." Thank goodness for that.
7: The Worst Thing I've Ever Done by Ted Rall
This serialized edition of Ted Rall's classic crowd-sourced confessions provides a window into the darkness of the human heart and the unconscionable things we are capable of doing when we think no one is paying attention. Most of these stories should have been taken to the grave, but fortunately for us, they've instead been made into cartoons by Ted. The book has since run on GoComics all the way through, so head back to the beginning here.
6. Buni by Ryan Pagelow
Buni is many things — whimsical, spooky, dark, weird, delightful, charming and sad, just to name a few. But my favorite thing about it is that it almost always leaves you with a smile on your face, even (or especially) when something terrible is happening. (Read our "Meet Your Creator" post with Buni artist/writer Ryan Pagelow here).
5. The Conjurers by Brian Anderson
When it comes to GoComics features, it doesn't get much more spine-tingling than The Conjurers. The eerie adventure strip updates each week on Mondays, and also includes behind the scenes notes and character sketches from artist Brian Anderson. Well worth exploring -- if you dare! (cue groans/evil laughter).
4. Lost Side of Suburbia by Kory Merritt
Another large-format feature with frighteningly good artwork and writing is Lost Side of Suburbia, "a land of strange stories and weirdly-spun yarn, where oddities and unmentionables lurk behind every tale." The color and linework in this strip is phenomenal, and once you get pulled in reading it you're likely to stay a while. Don't say we didn't warn you...
3. Scary Gary by Mark Buford
Scary Gary and his friends are the some of the most likable monsters and misfits I've ever seen on the funny pages. Where else can you read about the adventures of a zombie baby and a severed head in a jar? (in the thick of suburbia, no less). In addition to its dead characters and often deadpan humor, Scary Gary has a classic look to it, with colors and composition that would be right at home in the broadsheet funny pages of the past. Fortunately a new Scary Gary strip is online every day at GoComics.
2. Lio by Mark Tatulli
You knew this was coming. The kid for whom every day is Halloween and/or Friday the 13th. Lio exists in a world unlike any other, or rather he delights in trafficking in a world of monsters and spirits that most of us would be terrified by. Heart of the City, also written and illustrated by Mark Tatulli, is also chock full of spooky adventures, such as the Halloween sequence from last year.
1. Deep Dark Fears by Fran Krause
The Deep Dark Fears in Fran Krause's watercolored feature come from readers all over the world, lending it a universal sense of dread built up from many specific moments of real, imagined and anticipated terror. Whether it's fear of a mysterious creature lurking on the power lines or just the dread of accidentally cutting off your fingers with a kitchen knife, Deep Dark Fears has a spooky way of getting into your head.
Now what about you, dear reader? What comics give you the creeps?