In the bone-chilling world of horror manga, Junji Ito reigns supreme, but there are other authors daring to give him a run for his money. From spine-tingling art to heart-stopping stories, these manga maestros know how to get under your skin. If you’re eager to dive into the darker side of manga, you’ll want to explore the works of these five authors who are seriously challenging Ito’s crown. And if you’re just starting out with horror manga, don’t miss our recommendations on the Top 6 Horror Manga Series for Beginners to Read.
Here are 5 Best Horror Manga Authors giving Junji Ito serious competition. If you love horror, you should check out the work of some of these mangakas.
Note: This list will only include authors who strictly only write manga of the horror genre.
5. Masaaki Nakayama
- The Number of Manga Series Published: 10.
- Famous Manga Series: PTSD Radio, Fuan no Tane, Fuan no Tane+
Masaaki Nakayama is a veteran manga artist who has done inconsistent publications throughout the years, probably due to health issues. But the breakthrough manga of Masaaki came out recently titled “PTSD Radio“. But unfortunately, this manga was creepy enough that the writer’s mental and physical health started going down, so he had to leave it too.
Masaaki Nakayama’s PTSD Radio manga shows off his talent for subtle art and making things feel really creepy. He also likes drawing body horror, just like Junji Ito. Nakayama has a way of making you feel empty inside with his work, which is pretty cool for a horror manga artist.
4. Suehiro Maruo
- The Number of Manga Series Published: 20
- Famous Manga Series: Shojo Tsubaki, The Laughing Vampire, The Strange Tale of Paranormal Island
Suehiro Maruo is pretty infamous for his twisted storytelling and graphic content. You might recognize Suehiro Maruo from the name “Midori“, as this was the live-action adaptation of one of his first works, Shojo Tsubaki. It features some grotesque horror scenes, which are not for the faint of heart. While he’s not as famous as the cannibal mangaka, Maruo’s creepy art style sets the stage for some seriously chilling stories.
Suehiro Maruo’s art style is pretty simple, giving off the vibes of cartoons. Not everyone can draw magnificently like Junji Ito, but this child-like art style has perks. His manga always gives a negative vibe from the cover, even if it is not about something depressing.
3. Hidoshi Hino
- The Number of Manga Series Published: 25
- Famous Manga Series: Panorama of Hell, Horror Anthology Comic Shikaku
Hidoshi Hino is a manga legend who wrote most of his series until the 2000s. His work is like a fine wine that only gets better with time. People mostly have a hard time adapting to the art style of Hidoshi Hino, as it is pretty vague and does not look like horror at the start. But once you get addicted to it, there is no going back.
Hidoshi Hino’s art style showed glimpses of his suffering when he migrated from China to Japan. Most of his manga series display such negative aura and distorted faces, making the reader feel what he is trying to say. Compared to other horror manga artists, his manga series’ stories are pretty mature.
2. Kazuo Umezu
- The Number of Manga Series Published: 22
- Famous Manga Series: The Drifting Classroom, Orochi, (God’s Left Hand, Devil’s Right Hand)
Kazuo Umezu’s impact on the world of horror manga cannot be overstated. He is considered one of the best manga artists in the horror genre. Junji Ito started drawing manga after getting inspired by reading one of Kanou Umezu’s manga. Although Umezu’s art style and stories might not be as appealing to contemporary manga fans, his vintage style has its charm.
His work, such as “The Drifting Classroom” and “Orochi,” continues to be popular, with English publications available.
1. Furuya Usamaru
- The Number of Manga Series Published: 26
- Famous Manga Series: No Longer Human, The Music Of Marie, Picasso Hallucination
The direct rival of Junji Ito, Furuya Usamaru, is a bright gem of this generation. He gave “No Longer Human (2nd best-selling manga in Japan)” a manga adaptation just like Junji Ito, and both manga adaptations did exceptionally well. Usamaru began his career studying sculpture and 3D art, which are evident in his drawings. If Junji Ito were to vanish, Usamaru could fill the void.
Usamaru’s art style is both realistic and aesthetic. Each panel in his manga is like a picture, with each picture telling a thousand words. His art style is similar to Junji Ito’s but more diverse and detailed. Among all horror manga artists, his storytelling ability is top-notch, even though horror can be challenging for storytelling.
What do you think about this list? Did we miss any of your favourite horror manga artists? Share your thoughts in the comments below!