6 Horror Magazines You Should Be Reading
I love magazines. Probably more so than anthologies. Magazines possess this special spark that anthologies usually lack. With a magazine, you don’t just get a short story, but something much more personal. When you find a magazine you really love, you stick with it, issue after issue. New content is always being produced. You breathe them in and wait for next season. At least, when they are done right.
Here are some horror magazines that know what they’re doing.
6. CEMETERY DANCE
This one is perhaps the most well known of all horror magazines. It is infamous for publishing many respected writers since 1988, when it was founded by Richard Chizmar while he was still attending college. Since then, Cemetery Dance has gone on to publish fiction by Stephen King, Jack Ketchum, Richard Laymon, Joe R. Lansdale, and Norman Partridge, among many, many others. This is the magazine you go to when you want to start taking horror seriously.
Nightmare specializes in publishing the absolute best of the best. For writers, it is notoriously impossible to get accepted in this magazine—but for readers, Nightmare is a real joy for the eyes. Edited by acclaimed superhero, John Joseph Adams, most of Nightmare’s content can be found online, for free, on their well designed website. Within this magazine’s digital contents, “you will find all kinds of horror fiction, from zombie stories and haunted house tales, to visceral psychological horror.”
4. SPLATTERPUNK ZINE
I have the most fun reading when I have a Splatterpunk Zine in my hands. This small, saddle stitched do-it-yourself mag always brings back good memories of making little comic books as a kid and selling them on the school bus. Except this Splatterpunk magazine is actually entertaining, unlike my Dracula comics, featuring Draven Malone, the greatest vampire hunter in existence. Created by Jack Bantry, Splatterpunk focuses on—you guessed it—the splatterpunk genre. Each issue is only available in a limited amount, so don’t slack off and wait too long to buy your copies. Splatterpunk is full of gritty short stories, reviews, articles, interviews, and sweet gory illustrations that bring the DIY feel to life. This article by Jeff Burk was a recent favorite entry in the Splatterpunk family.
3. SHADOWS & TALL TREES
According to Peter Straub, Shadows & Tall Trees is a “beautiful and courageous journal”. Edited by Shirley Jackson Award and British Fantasy Award nominee, Michael Kelly, Shadows & Tall Trees is an acclaimed literary journal featuring dark fiction typically exploring the themes of alienation and loss. Many of their published stories have been included in recent Best of Horror volumes by Ellen Datlow, who just cannot praise this magazine enough in her annual horror summations.
2. BLACK STATIC
Black Static is perhaps my favorite magazine of fiction available today. It began in 1994 under the name, The 3rd Alternative, and lasted 42 issues before going on a brief hiatus in 2005. It was then relaunched in 2007 under the new title, Black Static. Edited by Andy Cox (also known for Interzone and Crimewave), Black Static is not only full of fantastic horror stories, it is also brilliantly designed. From the margins, to the interior illustrations, to the front covers, this is a magazine you want to hold in your hands. It is beautiful, and Cox’s carefully constructed expertise definitely shows in each issue.
1. JAMAIS VU: JOURNAL OF STRANGE AMONG THE FAMILIAR
Jamais Vu: Journal of Strange Among the Familiar is the new kid on the block in the horror magazine community. Publisher Eric Beebe and Editor-in-Chief Paul Anderson opened their doors last year to writers and published their debut issue in January. Also, disclaimer, Issue #1 did include one of my own short stories. But it’s okay, because my short story (“Video Nasties”) totally kicks ass, and you all should pick up the issue and read it with your eyeballs. Jamais Vu publishes short stories, poems, articles, reviews, and an ongoing column written by Harlan Ellison®. Jamais Vu represents everything I love about horror magazines, and I completely support them and hope them all the best for the future. Judging by the appearance of Jack Ketchum in Issue #2, I have a good feeling they’re here to stay. But you can certainly help make sure they stick around by picking up their product and leaving reviews.
DARK MOON DIGEST/DARK ECLIPSE
Dark Moon Digest is a quarterly horror magazine publishing quality dark fiction. It’s been around a few years now and its fiction has been top notch from the get-go without losing consistency. I only did not mention the publication in the above list because I sometimes serve on the editorial staff, although not as often as I once did. Dark Moon Digest also publishes a monthly e-magazine full of short stories, poems, reviews, and columns called Dark Eclipse. Both are edited by lit phenomenon, Lori Michelle, and her loyal staff of editors and slush monkeys.
Aghast is a brand new dark fiction magazine recently announced by Kraken Press. Not much is known about this magazine yet, but their first issue will be published sometime later this year. I was lucky enough to read a few short stories already accepted for the debut issue, and let me tell you guys, this is a magazine you will not want to miss. Also, the publisher is currently looking for stories to fill the rest of Issue #1. So, writers, get on that.
I don’t make any money if you buy these magazines, but if you’re on the lookout for some good horror fiction, you must binge on all of the entries I’ve talked about in this article. Consider them your guides to the morbid and grotesque. Your introduction to true horror.
Go get 'em.
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