LIST: Need a horror fix? Indulge in these 5 horror manga and manhwa artists!

Jana Torres

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LIST: Need a horror fix? Indulge in these 5 horror manga and manhwa artists!
Warning: Some of these works are not for the faint of heart

Asian horror has mastered the art of the scare. Ghosts, curses, superstitions, and otherworldly monsters are common themes found within its scope, with classics such as The Grudge, Shutter, and more recent hits like The Wailing.

These themes and narratives, though, don’t only exist on the silver screen. Horror fanatics can turn to comics and graphic novels for their daily fix of fear, particularly in the manga and manhwa industries of Japan and Korea. 

This Halloween, indulge yourselves in the spine-chilling stories and illustrations of these five Korean and Japanese horror artists.

Junji Ito

Welcome to the mind of master horror mangaka, Junji Ito. He is hailed for crafting the unthinkable into greatly detailed images.

Ito has published a great variety of works, with some of his most popular being Uzumaki and Tomie. Uzumaki chronicles the events of a town plagued by a “spiral curse,” forcing its inhabitants to become obsessed with the shape. Tomie follows a girl of the same name: an immortal succubus who leads men to commit violent acts for her. 

‘Tomie’ by Junji Ito.

Both of these mangas highlight Ito’s style of storytelling and art. Ito takes particular care in making the environments of his stories come alive, consuming the characters and warping them in horrific ways. Ito does this to convey how cruel human reality is.

Besides Uzumaki and Tomie, newcomers can indulge themselves in Ito’s shorter stories such as The Hanging Balloons and The Enigma of Amigara Fault. For a lighter and more comedic story, read the autobiographical Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu.


If you have bad memories of getting jumpscared by a certain comic called Bongcheon-dong Ghostyou can blame Korean manhwa artist Horang for that. Horang is a well-known horror illustrator who uses audio and visual effects in his online work, especially for scream-inducing jumpscares. 

Bongcheon-dong Ghost by Horang.

In one of his newest works, Horang’s Nightmare: a collection of short, standalone stories that capture that eerie feeling of knowing you’re not alone, Horang uses 3D effects to literally make his illustrations come alive.

In The Ghost in the School Stairwell, there are panels that showcase the rumored staircase in three-dimensional fashion, and the climax of the story has readers screaming out of fear once they see the face of the ghost zooming loudly up to the screen. 

Horang’s work has been featured in other collections with other artists, particularly on the webtoon-reading site WEBTOON. Some of these must-read works are Knock Knock and Ghost in the Masung Tunnel

Kim Carnby and Hwang Youngchan

Horror doesn’t need to be packaged in jumpscares and overly grotesque imagery. The genre is also defined by its ability to build tension and instill a kind of fear that freezes the human body. Kim Carnby and Hwang Youngchan have mastered this art that will surely keep readers biting their nails.

Carnby Kim and Hwang Youngchan are the Korean masterminds behind WEBTOON hits Sweet Home and Bastard. Sweet Home follows high school student Cha Hyun-Soo and his neighbors, who attempt to survive despite apocalyptic monsters roaming their apartment complex. It was recently adapted into a Netflix series. 

‘Bastard’ by Kim Carnby and Hwang Youngchan

Bastard is about a student who lives with his father, a serial killer. The son assists his father in the killings, until he becomes enamored by his father’s next victim. 

The pair makes use of the webtoon format to build heaps and heaps of tension while creating a compelling storyline. It also urges readers to think about their moral compasses and their actions, as if they’ve been transported to the cruel worlds of these stories. 

Shuzo Oshimi

Another notable author who uses psychological thrills is Shuzo Oshimi, creator of the manga Blood on the Tracks.

‘Blood on the Tracks’ by Shuzo Oshimi

Like Kim Carnby and Hwang Youngchan, Shuzo Oshimi leans more towards psychological suspense and thrills to scare his readers. Oshimi is usually inspired by youth and coming-of-age themes. 

Blood on the Tracks follows Seiichi Osabe and his overly protective mother. After a near-death experience, in which he was pushed off a cliff by his cousin, Osabe then witnesses his mother kill this cousin with a sinister smile. The rest of the story focuses on Osabe’s experiences living with a killer mother.

Shuzo Oshimi proves that the scariest evils lurk in everyone, most especially the unlikely ones who hold you close. Besides Blood on the Tracks, Oshimi has published The Flowers of Evil and Happiness, which fall under similar genres. 

Masaki Nakayama

Masaaki Nakayama is a Japanese manga artist who has the ability to make normal human faces the source of all possible nightmares. His distinct art style is highlighted through Fuan no Tane: a collection of standalone, short stories; and PTSD-Radio: a compilation of stories that vary in length. 

‘PTSD-Radio’ by Masaki Nakayama.

Fuan no Tane (otherwise known as Seeds of Anxiety), was released in 2013 and features 72 “short and atmospheric” stories that revolve around urban legends, superstitions, and the supernatural. PTSD-Radio currently has six volumes that are all fragments of a bigger, mysterious story that is centered around a curse. 

Both of these works, and Nakayama’s style in general, don’t develop stories that grip readers until “the big scare.” Instead, his collections profit off of the unknown, the vague, and the horrors of it all.

If you’re more interested in seeing grotesque and disturbing images page by page for entertainment, rather than a story, Masaaki Nakayama’s work is for you. 

Have you read any of their works? Share with us your favorites! – 

Jana Torres is a Rappler intern.

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