Incorporating two genres that are so polarized can be difficult, which is why these books are so brilliant. Comic horrors have a frightening and eerie plot line, perhaps set somewhere creepy too but often involve characters that are witty and sarcastic, creating a hilarious tone through which to tell a dark and scary story.
Comic horror is not a huge genre, so there’s a market there if you think you can write one! But those that have been written have been adored by fans and critics alike. These books are extremely well-constructed, creating a brilliant blend of fear and humor.
These books can be either simple or complex in theme and can be imbalanced when incorporating comedy and terror. So, you can find a horror book that is predominantly scary but with a hint of humor to help lighten the overall tone, or you can find a book that is primarily funny and only flirts with elements of horror.
Although this genre is smaller than others, it is varied enough for you to find a book that corresponds with what you’re looking for, whether that’s a hilarious novel set in a creepy house or a terrifying novel that is occasionally funny.
John Dies at the End is an interesting novel, often labeled as ‘weird’, ‘thought-provoking’, ‘dumb’, and ‘intelligent’ – you can tell it’s complex in its construction! It’s a hugely varied book, appealing to many different readers. However, the premise is sometimes considered too silly for fans of intense horror books.
This is a clever and unique book with lots going on – you’re guaranteed to stay interested, regardless of what you usually read.
The general plot line is based around a drug called Soy Sauce that has become extremely popular. This drug allows people to have out-of-body experiences and explore different dimensions and times. If this wasn’t weird enough for you, the story soon turns to chaos as a supernatural invasion hits, and a hero is needed to save the day.
This book is multidimensional, incorporating numerous subgenres and following a skewed plot line. Readers are often left confused but some things are for certain – this book will make you laugh, creep you out, keep you engaged, and will satisfy your internal weirdo.
If this sounds like something you may enjoy or if you’ve read John Dies at the End and loved it, stay tuned for 20 additional book recommendations that combine both horror and humor.
Gil’s All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez
A vampire and a werewolf discover Gil’s All Night Diner, a restaurant in the middle of nowhere, open 24/7. But upon entering things take a turn for the worst. They discover that the diner is subject to supernatural activity, hauntings, and zombie attacks.
Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
Meddling Kids follows a group of detective wannabes who started solving mysteries when they were teens. All now grown up and living across the country, they suffer with one common memory – what happened on their final night in the haunted house.
This team must reunite and face their common battles, each bringing something different to the table. They must unpack that night together and decide to go back to the scene.
I Am Providence by Nick Mamamatas
Colleen Danzig is a horror writer, who arrives at the Summer Tentacular convention in Providence for the first time. But when she arrives she realizes that she really doesn’t fit in. Everyone else seems twisted and they’re all looking for collector’s items – books bound in human skin.
When Colleen’s temporary roommate is murdered and the skin on her face is carefully removed, Colleen really starts to panic. But everyone else seems unphased. So, Colleen takes it upon herself to try and solve this murder case. I Am Providence is a great book with a twisted premise, guaranteed to keep you gripped.
The Doom Stone by Paul Zindel
Jackson’s aunt is an anthropologist and always welcomes him when he wants to join her on her digs, wherever they may be.
This one is in Stonehenge in England and he jumps at the invite, excited to see the famous formation in person. But when people start disappearing and he witnesses his aunt getting ferociously attacked, Jackson must find and destroy the beast that lurks in the countryside.
The Doom Stone is a brilliantly constructed book, merging humor, horror, and adventure.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
It’s 1988. Abby and Gretchen are best friends, they tell each other everything and know each other inside out. So when Gretchen starts acting weird and strange things keep happening when she’s around Abby does some digging.
But what she finds is horrific. Gretchen has been possessed by some sort of demon and so Abby must go to great lengths to try and get her friend back.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism is a highly-rated novel written by one of the most famous names in this genre. Guaranteed to make you smile, laugh, and make your toes curl, this is a must-read for any comic horror fan.
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth
This is a complex story that merges timelines, covers multiple character arcs, and tackles the macabre deaths of two girls back in 1902.
Plain Bad Heroines is creepy, hilarious, and unpredictable. A brilliant read for anyone, regardless of genre preference!
The Unnoticeables by Robert Brockway
This is a brilliant choice, one that blends urban fantasy, humor, and horror. Set in a society watched by ‘angels’, Carey is fed up with the way the system works. These angels watch over communities, examining patterns and eliminating redundancies.
Carey, living in the 1970s, and Kaitlyn in 2013, must join forces to destroy this unfair system that simplifies society in all the wrong ways. The Unnoticeables is a funny, dark story that spans time and generations.
Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
Mila and Riley are best friends. Unapologetically themselves and with an attitude that won’t quit. When Riley and two other girls die under suspicious circumstances, everyone believes it was just a tragic suicide pact.
But Mila refuses to accept this explanation and brings the three girls back to life. Although none of them can remember what happened, they must now all group together to find the murderer, before they strike once more.
Undead Girl Gang mixes fantasy, humor, horror, and even detective fiction to create a brilliant tale that will make you fall in love with the characters and engross you in the mystery.
Eat Your Heart Out by Kelly Devos
This is a YA story about a zombie attack that follows a group of teens tasked with killing the attackers.
Eat Your Heart Out is hilarious and creepy from the very beginning, perfect for the younger reader.
This Book is Full of Spiders by David Wong
Written by the same author who wrote John Dies at the End, This Book is Full of Spiders follows the insane concept of internal spider infestations. The book goes into depth about the symptoms, causes, and results of a spider living in your skull and will persuade you that you’re a victim.
Hilarious, creepy, and toe-curling, this book will be a hit for anyone who enjoyed Wong’s other books.
Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink
Welcome to Night Vale is set in a town deep in the American outback, far away from other civilizations and reality. Instead, this town is known for encompassing aliens, angels, and ghosts, and is the home of many conspiracies.
Faced with a mystery of her own, 19-year-old Jackie must uncover the secrets behind a strange man who makes her super uneasy. He merges the supernatural with reality and exposes the secrets people have spent years guessing.
Allison by Jeff Strand
Allison is a great story merging humor, horror, supernatural elements, and emotion. Allison can break your bones by simply thinking about them and cannot control her powers. So, she has spent years avoiding people, afraid of the damage she can do.
But now Allison risks being taken advantage of, Daxton and Maggie have a plan to use Allison’s powers and expose her for what she is.
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman
This is one of the most famous stories belonging to the genre, written by one of the giants of fantasy and made even more popular by a television series adaptation featuring David Tennant and Michael Sheen.
As the apocalypse looms, the opposing forces of good and evil are preparing. Satan and a fussy angel have lived among mortals for thousands of years and have no intention of stopping now.
Good Omens is a hilarious book and TV series, guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. It is not overly scary but its premise is dark and it incorporates intense fantasy themes.
Bunny by Mona Awad
This intriguing story follows the questionable mind of Samantha, who drops her best friend at university in favor of popularity. But as she integrates, she realizes the dark reality of the group she’s joined, uncovering sinister secrets daily and intertwining herself in a twisted system that can only end one way.
Bunny is a fantastically funny, powerful, and dark story that will keep you hooked until the last line.
What the Hell Did I Just Read by David Wong
This follows on from John Dies at the End making it one of the best recommendations on this list.
Again written by the twisted mind of David Wong, this is a dark and strange story, unsurprising to many Wong fans.
Incorporating shapeshifters and multiple dimensions, Wong creates What the Hell Did I Just Read, a fantastic story that blends fantasy with psychology and gore.
Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore
The souls of the dead usually linger and so when they begin disappearing, heads start to turn. Someone is stealing souls and no one knows how or why.
Charlie Asher is a death merchant, trapped in the body of a 14-inch-high ‘meat puppet’, patiently waiting for his girlfriend to find him a new host body. He takes it upon himself to solve this mystery, alongside some other unusual characters.
Secondhand Souls is wonderfully weird and fantastically mysterious, all told through a witty and funny narrative.
Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix
Another brilliantly strange story from the brilliant mind of Grady Hendrix is Horrorstör, frequently labeled as one of the best stories within the comic horror genre.
When weird things begin happening in a furniture store in Cleveland, 5 employees volunteer to take on a night shift and witness the dark and terrifying things that take place.
This is one of the best contemporary horror stories told through a unique and funny narrative.
Fat White Vampire Blues by Andrew Fox
Told through an unusual and hilariously constructed protagonist, Fat White Vampire Blues follows Jules Duchon, a fat vampire who has roamed the streets of New Orleans for generations.
As his neighborhood declines into chaos and a new vampire looking to take his job, Jules is at risk and must find a way to keep his normality.
The Last Final Girl by Stephen Graham Jones
The Last Final Girl is an absurd and dark horror story set in Texas. Merging fantasy and the supernatural with reality, this story brings a frightening story of murder, mystery, and high school.
This is a great horror that has a really easy-going feel to it. Simultaneously intense and light-hearted, this is a fantastically varied story that will keep you on your toes.
Suburban Hell by Maureen Kilmer
Suburban Hell follows Amy and her group of girlfriends as they help Amy move in and renovate her new home in the suburbs. But as strange things start happening and things start feeling odd, they realize that Amy has accidentally released demonic forces through her renovations.
As things get weirder and the hauntings begin spreading, the girls must try and contain the forces before the suburbs completely go to hell.
Hopefully, this has given you some hilariously creepy book recommendations. Any of these 20 books are guaranteed to send a shiver down your spine and make you laugh out loud, perhaps all on the same page.
What is comic horror?
Comic horrors are books that intertwine both the horror and comedy genres. They provoke fear and laughter and mostly have a whacky premise.
What is the best comic horror out there?
Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix is one of the most highly-rated humorous horrors ever published. A good starting point if you’re new to the genre.
Is John Dies at the End scary?
There are some scary passages and some parts of the book, including the ending, are dark and twisted but this book is primarily humorous.
Who wrote John Dies at the End?
Many people get confused about the author of this novel because he uses both his real name and a pseudonym to publish his work. The author is Jason Pargin but he frequently uses the name David Wong to release his books.
How many books has Jason Pargin written?
He has written 4 books and is expecting to release a new one in October 2023.