Immediately recognizable mask and costume?
A tragic story?
All of these attributes describe some of cinema’s greatest slashers, the likes of Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees and, of course, Ghostface, returning to theaters this year. Scream.
But before black christmas, the Italian gialli and even those of Alfred Hitchcock psychology, these were the attributes of comic book villains. Drawing their influence from the gritty world of pulp fiction, the comics often featured costumed killers whose flair-filled approach to murder stood up to anything Chucky or Michael Myers could come up with.
So if you ever find yourself answering phone calls from Ghostface, and that particular vision wants to go deeper than asking about your favorite horror movie, here are some of the greatest slashers in comics. . This knowledge could well save your life…
Mr. Zsasz (Batman, DC Comics)
While the Joker may hold the crown of killers in the DC Universe, Gotham City’s finest pure slasher is Mr. Zsasz. A creation of writer Alan Grant and artist Norm Breyfogle, Victor Zsasz debuted in a 1992 arc Batman: Shadow of the Bat. In his earliest appearances, Zsasz was a decidedly Hannibal Lector-esque figure, visible only as a mouth inside an isolation chamber. When he escaped, Zsasz revealed a body covered in scars, one for each of his victims.
Over the years, Zsasz has become one of Batman’s main antagonists. In fact, the character made it to the big screen twice, as a minor criminal in 2005. batman begins (played by Tim Booth) and as the sadistic henchman of Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor) in Birds of Prey or the fantastic emancipation of Harley Quinn, played by Chris Messina. But Zsasz works best on his own, a creepy figure still looking to scratch another scar on his body.
Maniac Harry (New York Maniac, Aftershock Comics)
At first glance, Maniac Harry, the titular killer in New York maniac, isn’t the most unique slasher on this list. With his white mask, inability to speak, and ubiquitous machete, Harry clearly remembers Mama Voorhees’ baby boy, Jason. From this familiar starting point, writer Elliott Kalen, artist Andrea Mutti, and scholar Taylor Esposito craft a story about the inefficiency of government bureaucracy and our collective acceptance of avoidable evils.
The five-issue series focuses on mayoral aide Gina Greene, the sole member of the mayor’s purely ceremonial Maniac task force, and Zelda Pettibone, a detective who was blacklisted for violating the blue veil from the silence of the NYPD. Through the perspective of these characters, Kalan, Mutti and Esposito bring slasher tropes into the real world, where Harry is just another destructive force allowed to thrive by selfish officials and a brainwashed electorate. .
Christine the Leather Slasher (Slasher, Floating World Comics)
To the average observer, data entry specialist Christine is a nondescript young woman. She works an unsatisfying job, has a strained but loving relationship with her mother, and a budding new romance. However, as Christine pursues the relationship, she discovers that only the sight of spilled blood can arouse her sexually. The revelation prompts Christine to don a jumpsuit and travel across the country as Leather Slasher.
Created by Charles Forsman, winner of the Igntaz Prize, slasher looks at horror tropes through an indie comic book lens. Forsman’s fine, edgy line art makes people both sympathetic and grotesque. With its methodical rhythm and simplistic coloring, slasher is a surprisingly moving and downright disturbing psychological drama.
Whisper (The Flash, DC Comics)
Whether it’s Barry Allen, Wally West, or even Bart Allen behind the mask, the Flash is generally considered a kind and understanding superhero. His gallery of rogues is one of the best in the comics, but Barry, Wally, and Bart treat the antagonists with respect, acknowledging their basic humanity.
This is not the case of Michael Armar alias Murmur. Despite his successes as a surgeon, Armar couldn’t silence the voices in his head. When his spirit was finally shattered, Armar became Murmur and embarked on a mission to calm the world. In addition to sewing his own lips shut, Murmur cuts his victims’ tongues, allowing him to do his torturous work in sweet silence.
Deadpool (Marvel Comics)
Okay, I know Deadpool is a mercenary who sometimes acts heroically, but he earns his place on this list thanks to two recent miniseries.
In 2012 Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, writer Cullen Bunn, artist Dalibor Talajic, colorist Lee Loughridge, and letterer Joe Sabino give Wade Wilson’s self-awareness a nihilistic twist. Realizing he’s in a comic book and that readers love shocking deaths, Deadpool murders all of Marvel’s heroes and villains in graphic (and, frankly, unlikely) fashion. The creative team (with inking Goran Sudzuka and Miroslav Mrva taking on Loughridge colors) returned for the 2017 D title.eadpool kills the marvel universe again. This time, Captain America’s villain, Red Skull, brainwashes Deadpool into seeing light hijinks as he murders members of the cape-and-tights mob.
If there’s any truth to the rumors that actor Ryan Reynolds wants his next big screen appearance as the character Deadpool Kills the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Deadpool can finally get the respect as a slasher he deserves.
Bullseye (Daredevil, Marvel Comics)
A master assassin who never fails, Bullseye is more than just a mean version of Hawkeye. Bullseye takes real pleasure in the suffering of his victims, making him a sadist on the level of cinema’s greatest slashers. The character was a direct antagonist when writer Marv Wolfman and artist Bob Brown debuted the character in daredevil #131 (1975). But during his legendary run on daredevil, writer and artist Frank Miller has reinvented Bullseye, making him something truly disturbing.
Nowhere is this clearer than in the defining question of Miller’s race. In 1981 daredevil #181 (written by Miller, penciled by Miller and Klaus Janson, inked and colored by Janson, lettered by Joe Rosen), Bullseye escapes from prison and exacts revenge on Daredevil by murdering Man Without Fear’s lover, the assassin Greek Electra. Even before Bullseye impales Elektra on his sia, he leaves a bloody trail of bodies in his path, killing people with everything from guns to playing cards.
Slasherman (random acts of violence, picture comics)
More than a few observers have pointed out the misogyny of stories like daredevil #181, in which a woman suffers in a fight between two men. In their 2010 graphic novel Random acts of violence, writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, and artists Giancarlo Caracuzzo and Paul Mounts explore this and other aspects of violent comics. The graphic novel, which was made into a movie in 2019, deals with the deadly consequences of an indie comic.
The comic in question is Slasher-man, a brutal series dedicated to a killer in a welder’s mask who poetizes art and suffering by skinning various women. Despite concerns that writer Ezra is using the stories to vent on his ex-girlfriend, the series becomes a hit and he and its artist Todd are celebrities among the bloodiest members of the comic fandom. After a poorly written promo challenges readers to design their own kills, Ezra and Todd see their creation in the flesh.
Jason, Chucky, Leatherface (various independent comics)
Although this article begins by pitting classic movie slashers against comic book killers, the fact is that there is no truth to this dichotomy. Jason, Michael Myers, Chucky, Leatherface, and many other cinematic slashers have made the jump to comics. There’s no need to choose one medium over another, as both are well suited to the hyper visceral tropes of the genre.
Now, if anyone just wanted to put Ghostface in a comic…