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The Scariest Comic Books of All Time! – Mikey’s Friend!

A reader named Chris S. suggested that I devote October to the scariest comic books of all-time, as suggested by you readers out there! Sounds like a plan to me! So all October-long, I’ll be featuring 31 comic book tales of terror, based on YOUR suggestions! So e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com your scary suggestions! Here is an archive of all the comics featured so far!

Courtesy of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who is certainly no stranger to scary comic books with his work on Man-Thing and the Stand, we have “Mikey’s Friend,” a disturbing little tale from J.M. DeMatteis and Charles Nicholas that first appeared in Secrets of Haunted House #26.


Roberto actually could not remember the name of the story and actually had not read it since he was a kid. But after describing it to me, I figured out which story he was talking about.

It opens with a young boy living with a foster family who do not treat him particularly well, especially his foster father and his foster sister, Sassy, who mocks him for having an imaginary friend.

Well, things begin happening to his foster family…

This leads to the big reveal…and a dilemma!!

What will Mikey do? What will happen next?

Normally, I would not spoil the ending, but I figure Roberto has (in his words) been “haunted by this comic for decades,” so I will share the twist(ed) ending…

Pretty darn messed up!


What the? Are they human demons or mannequins with gunk in their mouths or what?

I can see why this haunted Roberto, this is some mucked up stuff.

That’s an odd look for Donny Osmond.

That’s a cheery outfit Carol’s wearing, for someone who’s more a living shadow than a human being.

omg looks like mikey made his choice about what to do with carol plus looks like mickey family will not have to earn nicks wrath .perfect fit

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

October 25, 2011 at 7:23 am

Oh, my God, this *IS* the story! I can’t believe you found it! I *literally* have thought about this comic–and had nightmares about it–off-and-on–for twenty-odd years! Now I must find the issue! Thanks so much for bringing some measure of peace and closure to my life, Brian!

The idea of the “real” imaginary friend is always a good one, and always hits some sort of “button” for me.

This story reminds me a little of an old Atlas horror comic, Adventures into Terror #7, where a man makes up an “invisible friend”…only for said friend to start acting on his worst suggestions. (Actually, on review, that story’s more like the “velleity” gimmick from the first Vertigo Lucifer miniseries by Mike Carey.)

In superhero comics, Marvel later gave us the story of Willie Evans, Jr.. Introduced in a one-shot Fantastic Four story as a mutant child with uncontrollable reality-warping powers, Willie got a follow-up story years later in Iron Man Annual #8, where readers met his “imaginary friend,” a little toad-like fellow named Grunt. Though he looked like Michigan J. Froh, Grunt was actually Willie’s negative emotion and repressed hostility to the world. The “friendship” didn’t end welll…and, despite Willie’s demise, may not have ended at all.

At DC, Karl and Barbara Kesel expanded the roster of the Female Furies, Jack Kirby’s distaff squadron of Apokoliptian super-soldiers. Among the new characters they introduced in Hawk and Dove was Malice Vundabar, a little girl modeled on Lewis Carroll’s Alice whose power was her “pet,” Chessure, a grinning maw of razorsharp teeth suspended in a jagged patch of shadow that followed her everywhere and dealt with her foes. (Malice was also depicted as the niece of Virman Vundabar, the snivelling Prussian-styled enemy of Mister Miracle.) Once the Kesels stopped writing DC titles, however, Malice and Chessure vanished from the comics pages.

However, this one is much scarier, honestly. Something about the character being a child, and getting to see the possessed new family at the end makes it unusually freaky. There’s also a first-season episode of Angel that’s similarly about a child witha demonic friend/possessor…but that one ends with a different twist.

And then, of course, there’s The Omen

Roberto: I’m amazed, and delighted (well, if I can take delight in giving you nightmares!), that a short piece I did during my first six months in the business — when I was still figuring out how to put words and pictures together in a coherent form — had such an impact on your impressionable young mind. I wasn’t even sure anybody was actually reading those DC anthology books.

Thanks to you and to Brian for bringing this to my attention. It was worth waiting all these years for the payoff!

Wow that’s great.

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

October 25, 2011 at 11:27 am

Wow, this day gets better and better. Thanks for reaching out, JM, but more importantly, THANK YOU for being such an inspiration and such a great writer! To say I love all your stuff would be a huge understatement, but I will always have a soft spot in my heart for…”Mikey’s friend!” (And I just bought two copies of the comic book–which I believe I first read when I was six or seven–on eBay! After years of trolling bins at conventions, searching for a needle in a haystack, I’m totally gobsmacked!!)

Thanks so much for the kind words, Roberto. If my work has inspired you in any small way, I’m INCREDIBLY grateful. And thanks again for reminding me of a story that I haven’t thought about in decades, (That’s the thing about comics, the work will always come back to haunt you, one way or the other!)

What Roberto said!

I remember this comic, though I don’t know if I still have it. Maybe somewhere.

A few years back I realized 70-80% of the stories that I remembered and loved were written by JMD. Comics would be so much poorer without his contributions.

Thank you, Bryan: VERY much appreciated!

I wish the scary stories would never stop.

I am SO glad to see this on the list. I had to track this issue down on eBay eight years ago.
I don’t know what alchemy made some of those old DC stories rattle around in a ten year old’s brain for all those years, but this one certainly had it!

Great Marshall Rogers cover too:

Wrong choice, Mikey! Too bad about poor Carol, ’cause she looked really hot vacuuming in those final pages. Is Charles Nicholas really Charles Wojtkoski on art using the pseudonym he shared with Chuck Cuidera and Jack Kirby? I’m really curious about that.

As for the story, how can you not love the dialogue? “Chrome-plated death.” LOL! That is a classic.

“Frosted Freaks,” “his swollen bulk,” and “precarious perch” are equally priceless. This is why I’ve been reading J.M.’s work for over thirty years now and enjoyed every single minute.

Spoilerish cover, sadly.

And Carol was quite the MILF! Much more beautiful than her daughter…

For what it’s worth,

Aguirre-Sacasa’s Nightcrawler was some of the best “Veritgo-style superheroics” that I’ve ever seen out of Marvel (with a big horror bent that you might not expect) and is super underrated.

My favorite part of this piece is seeing Roberto and JM connect over the work. :)

Happy Halloween, Roberto and J.M.!! :) :) :)

(PS I loved Nightcrawler too. Will we ever see the big demonic war which was foreshadowed in there?)

Let me echo the praises for the scripting of JMD. His name on a comic book is a virtual guarantee of high quality. Thank you, sir, for the decades of great comic book scripts!

You’re incredibly welcome, Mark!

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