Teens are no strangers to odd and unexplainable events. For example: where did this new hair come from, and why do I smell so weird all of a sudden? Puberty can feel like a paranormal transformation. The stress of your body and mind changing so quickly is compounded by the fact that it feels like everyone is watching. It can feel both like it’s happening all at once, or you’re flagging behind your fellow puberty-filled monsters. Paranormal comics for teens confront these monstrous feelings directly.
Some of the most popular media for teens involves paranormal and supernatural elements. Shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teen Wolf, and Stranger Things connect with people because there are so many other forces that feel heavy and otherworldly in adolescence. Besides the paranormal transformation of puberty, social interactions can also feel as high-stakes as encounters with monsters. These shows also use demons, monsters, and other paranormal creatures as manifestations of issues that teens encounter all the time, like mental illness, self-doubt, and friendship issues.
Young adult comics also wrestle with this dramatic transformation. Paranormal comics can display the horror and weirdness of both adolescence and the supernatural with dramatic, gripping illustrations. You might be able to find all of these paranormal comics for teens on Lydia Deetz’s night table.
I Myself Am Strange and Unusual
Artie and the Wolf Moon by Olivia Stephens
When Artie discovers that her mom is a werewolf and she has the same powers, she’s overcome with joy. Being a werewolf is exactly what she thinks she wants. When she joins the community of werewolves that her mom is a part of, she’s felt she’s found her people. She even has a crush on fellow teen werewolf Maya. However, she soon discovers that werewolves aren’t the only paranormal beings to fight in the forest.
Stars, Hide Your Fire by Kel McDonald and José Pimenta
Andrea and Darra live in a small town in New England and are desperate for anything to get them out of the boredom of their daily lives. When they come across the spirit Carmen, it seems like the perfect escape for Andrea when Carmen offers her the chance to live forever. However, when the girls meet Liam (who died a century ago), it becomes clear Carmen is more insidious than she originally seems. Ultimately, Andrea and Darra have to rely on their friendship to save them.
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
This collection of five short stories all center on creepy creatures that come out of the woods. With stunning artwork, each story confronts some kind of fear that many of us face through the lens of dark fairytales. References to Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, and body-snatching make this the perfect unsettling read for horror fans.
The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag
Morgan lives on a tiny island she’s desperate to escape. One night, she almost drowns, but is saved by a selkie named Keltie. She’s able to walk on the earth again, and starts to meet Morgan’s family and friends. In addition to keeping the secret that Keltie is a selkie, Morgan is hiding the fact that she and Keltie are falling in love. Even though lying feels like the right option for Morgan, hiding details about herself and Keltie hurts more than just her.
SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki
Even with magic and mutant powers, high school is still a weird, difficult social experiment. The school itself has its own drama and politics heightened by the magic powers and mutant abilities. This serialized webcomic weaves through various characters and their issues with school, crushes, and their hopes for the future. The reading experience of this collection mimics the randomness of everyday high school, with the heightened paranormal reality of magic and mutants.
Coming Back by Jessi Zbarsky
In the village Preet and Valissa grew up in, everyone can do magic. Unfortunately, Valissa is the only one who can’t. To prove herself worthy of their magical enclosure and Preet’s love, Valissa steps into a mysterious fog to fight the strange force attacking their village. Preet ends up getting exiled from the village because of its rigid rules that preserve the magic. Preet and Valissa have to find their way back to each other and embrace the magic.
Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Lisa Sterle
Going to a new school and immediately joining the popular friend group seems like the best possible outcome for Becca at her new school in San Francisco. When she goes out one night with the girls under a full moon, she discovers they’re all werewolves. In a move I find very relatable, Becca becomes a werewolf to fit in with her new friends. As a member of the werewolf pack, life becomes even more complicated.
Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker, Wendy Xu, and Joamette Gil
Nova works at her grandmothers’ bookshop and is a fount of magic and supernatural knowledge in their small New England town. Nova runs into her old childhood friend Tam Lang in the woods after following a white wolf. She helps Tam defeat a horse demon and the two former crushes are set on a magical journey together.
Diving into Paranormal Worlds
Adolescence and paranormal activity go hand in hand. Encountering so many new things for the first time even in the non-magical world can be scary and confusing. It was always easy for me to imagine that demons, werewolves, and vampires were around the corner at my high school as often as awkward social interactions.