To quote the Silver Shamrock advert used in Halloween III Season of the Witch (best underrated second sequel to a major horror movie franchise): "Five more days to Hallowe'en, Hallowe'en, Hallowe'en."

So, it seems appropriate this week to suggest the best examples of the horror genre in comic strip form.

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In the past, horror has been at times a problematic genre for the comics industry. In this month's Fortean Times, for example, the cover story looks back at the 1954 congressional subcommittee hearing into juvenile delinquency with a special focus on comic books.

The fuss around horror comics was a precursor to the 1980s video nasty hysteria in the UK and it led to similar restrictions, in this case the setting up of the Comics Code Authority and the end of EC Comics' horror line (including titles like Haunt of Fear and Tales From the Crypt).

But the horror comic - like the most persistent ghost - has always returned to haunt the form. What follows is a list of comic strips that have left me shivering.

1: Unknown vampire story

Come with me back in time, through mouldering piles of now damp comics to the 1970s. Back then in your local newsagent you could pick up Marvel reprints, DC imports, British comics still extolling Second World War stiff upper lips and, when you'd read all of those, there were always Alan Class Comics.

ACC titles such as Sinister Tales and Creepy Worlds reprinted American stories from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Some of the stories were okay. Some were hackwork.

But one - the story of a vampire in America - has stuck with me down the years. Not for the story or the artists particularly. But for its last panel. In it the vampire is flying towards Europe. When I read it I thought: "I live in Europe. I live in Northern Ireland. That's between America and the European mainland. What if he comes here first? What if he comes to my town, my street? What if that noise outside is ..."

The thrilling fear of that idea has stayed with me ever since. It's why I love horror comics.

2 Fatale, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, Image Comics, 2012 on

(Dis)comfort reading. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips's ongoing series mixes up Mickey Spillane-style hardboiled thrills with Lovecraftian horror in a story of evil cults and extreme violence.

The result is slick and nasty. What grips most is Phillips's Hollywood-flavoured art, all clean lines and blood-red colouring. And while the octopus-headed villains don't bother me the sharp teeth do. They bother me a lot.

3 Jack Chick Comics, 1961 on

Okay, here we have to define our terms. When I say "Most frightening" that's not always necessarily meant as an endorsement.

Over the last 50 years these fundamentalist Christian tracts published in comic book form have railed against Muslims, Roman Catholicism, drugs, homosexuality, video games and Harry Potter, seeing a Satanic plot in all of them. Satan and Jesus are the recurring characters in these crudely drawn strips. You can find them laughable or see them as a truly disturbing reflection of fundamentalist thinking.

4 Teen Plague, Charles Burns, Raw, 1989

A dry run for his later masterpiece Black Hole, this early Big Baby story still has a power to it. Most of that resides in Burns's meticulous, disturbing black and white imagery.

But for anyone who grew up in the 1960s and 70s and was steeped in a stew of B movies and pulp fiction, this has a bite to it that allows you to laugh off the silliness of the giant eyeball monsters, while tuning in to its horror vision of sexually transmitted diseases.

Burns always used the character of Big Baby to look at adult concerns through the prism of pulp fiction. Here that means an alien invasion. He's sure his babysitter and her boyfriend have been affected. He might be right, but not in the way he thinks.

It's the teen plague that has taken them. And it's the teen plague that truly chills (the cleanliness of Burns's art somehow makes it worse).

Reading it conjured up all-too-uncomfortable memories of teenage acne. Wasn't it Stephen King who argued in Danse Macabre that many of those 1950s monster movies were inspired by bad skin?

5 Sandman issue 25, Vertigo, April 1991, Neil Gaiman and Matt Wagner

"It was the skeletons of birds, falling from the sky. They crunched underfoot as I ran. And Then I saw that they were trying to move ..."

Boarding school. School bullies. a corrosive loneliness. Death. And the terrible truth that death changes nothing. My favourite issue in Neil Gaiman's much lauded series is an MR James-flavoured ghost story. The result is very English and deeply sad.

6 Dead Boy's Heart, Hellblazer 25, Vertigo, Jamie Delano and Sean Phillips

Another entry for Sean Phillips and a choice that may throw the cat among the pigeons for John Constantine fans perhaps. Mostly because it's not scary. At all.

But this flashback to the eight-year-old Constantine is a huge personal favourite, a beautifully written account of childhood and its imperfect understanding of the adult world that surrounds it. The best thing Jamie Delano has ever done?

7 The Nesting Place, Emily Carroll, from Through the Woods (Faber), 2014

The best story in this year's best graphic horror collection. Emily Carroll's Grimmer than Grimm fairy tales all have a charge to them, but this one re-imagines a child's fears about her new stepmother as a vision of body horror.

Carroll is an expert in the disturbing small detail and the full-frontal horror close-up. And best of all her narrative has a creeping insidiousness to it that speaks of rot and wrongness. She talks - as she says of one of the monsters here - with a "sweet, wet voice" and you can feel that wetness on your skin. Sorry, I'm going to have to turn on the lights.

8 Uzumaki, Junji Ito, 1998-1999

One of Emily Carroll's favourites too, as she told me last week: "My favourite horror creator in comics, by a landslide, is Junji Ito, whose "Uzumaki" series chronicles a small town haunted by spirals. Though the protagonist is constant throughout each instalment, every chapter is able to stand on its own as a creepy - sometimes outright gory - examination of how spirals can be used (in some very novel ways) to torment the increasingly isolated townspeople."

Japanese manga are full of fear and horror. This may be the most disturbing of them. It's a comic that is both disturbing in atmosphere and full of gross-out horror moments (the school children morphing into snails is the bit I struggle with).

And like Carroll's strip, it's a story that is both rich and strange and recognises that horror is, in its own way, compelling. You just can't look away.

9 Dr Spitzner's Wax Museum, Andreas and Francois Riviere, Escape Magazine, 1989

Here is the best - or should that be worst - horror comic strip I can think of. I first encountered it in Paul Gravett's long-lost comics magazine Escape, though it's also been republished in Heavy Metal and actually originated in the French magazine A Suivre in 1978.

But it deserves to be much, much better known than it is. Its European creators take the idea of a wax museum and tap into the unease we all find in them.

It's a six-page story. Each page is broken down into discrete black and white images with panels of text which tell a story about a man who visits a wax museum and sees the figure of a recumbent woman on display. She seems to be breathing.

Things escalate from there in a truly unpleasant manner. It's a story about our desire and distaste for human simulacra. And it is all cloaked in an atmosphere that reeks of desire and disease. Some kind of masterpiece, I'd say. Someone please reprint it.

10 Well, I'm too scared now.  What would you suggest completes the Top 10 list? Please use the Comments box below.