For the last 10 days, I’ve been talking about some great spooky comics to whet your appetite for the horrific holiday that’s coming up, but with 3 days left, I’m going to be getting a bit more personal. For the next 3 days, I’m going to be talking about the three comics that scared me the most as a kid, from least to most. Prepare your ridicule cannons as you gaze into the fractured psyche of a comics reading child!
Alright, it’s time. Halloween Eve, and I guess it’s time to face my demons by talking about the comic that scared me the most as a child.
Uncanny X-Men Annual #7
Written by Chris Claremont
Drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz
So, before we get into it, lemme give some context for why this terrified me so much. When I was around 3 years old, I lived with my mom in a small house that we shared with a housemate. Housemate was a huge old school horror buff, and would watch a lot of Universal monster movies, but he was an even bigger fan of Dracula. From Bela Lugosi to Christopher Lee all the way to that dude that played Nosferatu, he had them all. Which meant that, through no fault of my own, I saw a crapload of movies that might not scare any of you jaded horror buffs (or me now, for that matter), but terrified me. I spent years being scared of vampires, and tried my best to avoid anything that had them in it.
Ok, fast-forward a few more years, and I’m reading the Uncanny X-men Essential trades (big blocks of 25 issues or so, repackaged in black and white), and I’m doing great when BAM! I get that cover right there. It actually seems pretty cheesy now in color, but the black and white cover made it seem a little scarier, since, without a red background, the (now black) blood was highlighted more. Also, I got a crappy copy, so the page bled a little, looking really dark.
Anyway, this comic was horrifying. Opening pages are of a Van Helsing descendant dying and being turned into a vampire, and then Storm dreaming of killing the other X-men and making Drac-love with Dracula (which, years later, is actually the scariest thing to think about, since Claremont thought about it, wrote it, and then forced Sienkiewicz to draw it. Here’s some panels for your nightmares.
Then Kitty turns into a vampire and possesses Colossus and my little kid mind remembered the “Once a Vampire, always a Vampire” rule, and I flipped the F out when half of the X-Men turned into vampires. I didn’t know that in pop culture, vampires stop being vampires all the time! All I knew was that Dracula was being an ass, and there was a bunch of monster X-Men.
And yes, we all know that Claremont has a bit of labored prose, but jeez, Rachel’s little speech there is effective, isn’t it? Anyway, obviously, the good guys win (Even though Dracula doesn’t die), and then Wolverine kills a woman. Because the story needed some pathos, and Ziah needed more nightmares.
What can we learn from this awkward trip down memory lane? Well, first, kids are stupid, and can get scared by just about anything, even things that seem goofy later. Second, Claremont had some really weird fetishes. Third… I don’t know. Cyclops is super good at Judo?
Here’s the archive if you want to some comics that might actually scare someone who isn’t 8 years old: