I remember reading this short story that I hope you can help me identifying. It was a short story in a comic book, Dark Horse Comics if my memory doesn't fail me.

It starts with some explorers in an alien world finding a deer-like creature with an octopus-like parasite/symbiont attached to its head. One of the explorers chases the deer, and not long after she comes back with one of these parasites attached her head too.

The story progresses with her trying to convince them that this symbiotic relation is actually a good thing (something about enhancing the senses or sharpening the mind), and that they should get an alien attached to themselves too. One by one they get caught by these creatures. The hosts also acquire a phobia of some flying creatures after getting the parasite, which later they discover is the parasite's natural predator.

The few remaining without the parasites fight to remain free, and they all get rid of the parasites when the flying creatures attack. At the end it's ambiguous whether they really had something special going on, or if their feelings were actually being manipulated by the aliens (i.e. not sure if it was a symbiosis or a parasitism), and they all leave the area in a bad mood.

I think it was in a comic from Dark Horse because I remember reading HellBoy and Concrete at the time. But I didn't have a physical copy, I think I read them online, so it's possible that it's not related to Dark Horse at all. The art reminds me of Paul Chadwick's Concrete though.

  • Was it a short story in the form of a comic, or a prose short story included in what was otherwise a comic book?
    – Adamant
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 20:49
  • @Jonah It was a short story in the form of a comic.
    – raphael
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 11:13
  • Sounds like something from Skin Horse or Narbonic.
    – Joe L.
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 12:06

4 Answers 4


You were correct: it's Paul Chadwick. A "The World Below" story entitled "Zombies!". Comic below, click to enlarge.

whole comic pasted

It originally appeared in The World Below: Deeper and Stranger no. 2 (2000).

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. This question already has an accepted answer, so I'm not sure what you're saying is "correct" since the accepted answer isn't The World Below. It sounds like you're just commenting on the question, but if you're trying to make an alternative answer you need to include details that explain how it matches the question.
    – DavidW
    Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 21:46
  • 1
    @DavidW In a comment to the accepted answer the OP said: "This wasn't the one I read, but it's strikingly similar. So much that I think the one I read was a remake or something..." Yet accepted anyway. Skimming the answer here, this answer does seem plausible -- and as you said, needs more in the answer justifying it.
    – bishop
    Commented Jul 29, 2019 at 2:37
  • YES! That's the one! Sorry I'm a little late, almost five years haha. I just changed the accepted answer to this one. Thank you!
    – raphael
    Commented Feb 22 at 17:13

"The Brain-Bats of Venus"?

This was a classic sci-fi horror comic story, illustrated by Basil Wolverton, which first appeared in Mister Mystery #7 (1952).

It's a story of two astronauts landing on Venus and encountering creatures who have octopus-like creatures sitting on top of their heads. The same thing happens to one of the spacemen, and he, or rather the alien talking through him, tells the other astronaut that it is "a good symbiotic relationship", or something like that. This classic has probably been adapted multiple times over the years. Here are some images from a post on The Horrors of It All.

Images of the entities swarming the astronauts (click to enlarge)

  • This wasn't the one I read, but it's strikingly similar. So much that I think the one I read was a remake or something, I don't know. The idea was the same, but there were some other elements such as the natural predators, and the group (four or more astronauts) survived at the end. I don't think I'll find the story I was looking for, so if no one comes with another answer I'm going to accept yours as the correct one.
    – raphael
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 13:50

I know you already got your answer, but this reminded me of issue 18 of Invincible published by Image Comics.

In this issue, a team of astronauts travels to Mars and encounters the Sequids, a race of octopus-looking parasites that control their host by attaching to them.

From nerdlush.com:

Invincible 18

Marks latest mission is to protect some astronauts as they head to Mars, as the Martians are not a very friendly race. Upon landing the astronauts are captured, Invincible goes after them and as he opens the entrance to the underground facility a bunch of small squid like aliens known as Sequids attack Mark but cannot penetrate his skin.

Mark is taken to the Martian leader who explains the Sequids are a race that rely on hosts, otherwise they are mindless. If you’ve seen Stargate, these things are basically the Gu’ald. The Martian leader explains to Mark that the Sequids crash landed on Mars centuries ago and the Martians used them as slaves are the Sequids cannot attach themselves to the Martians due to their shape shifting ability, however with the astronauts, he Sequids can take control of them which could lead to the Martians being overthrown, so the astronauts will be executed,

Mark breaks the astronauts out and they make a run for the space shuttle and get out of there while Mark holds the Martians back. Unfortunately not all the astronauts made it, one is left behind and has been taken over by the Sequids.


Honestly it sounds a bit like Ridley Scott's Alien franchise, the octopus like Aliens sound quite a bit like the alien creatures known as "Face Huggers" that jump at your face and induce you to fall asleep and laying Alien Eggs inside you which grow at a rapid rate, eventually when they grow big enough like a very thick 3 foot long snake, they burst out of the host's chest (killing them obviously) and the "Chest Burster" eventually matures into a fully grown Alien.

  • 2
    This is very likely not the correct answer. However, if you add more detail to explain the similarities, it probably will not get deleted.
    – Adamant
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 22:33
  • Not anything from the Alien franchise indeed. I'm not sure I should have called the aliens parasites, they were more like symbionts since they didn't seem to cause much damage (or any damage at all). Bigger than facehuggers, not so scary, and with big eyes. Attached to the host like hats, laying on top of their heads.
    – raphael
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 11:17
  • 1
    At no point in the alien franchise do people with face-huggers argue that it is a good symbiotic relationship. Nor are there flying predators of the aliens. The only similarity is a parasite on the head.
    – Trenin
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 16:58
  • @Trenin the answer was before the post was edited back to the point where it was only talking about the octopus parasites...
    – Fox-Chan
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 19:37
  • @Fox-Chan The post was only edited once and the original version also included text about the flying creatures attacking the parasites, and that those affected extolled the virtues of the symbiotic relationship. scifi.stackexchange.com/posts/124840/revisions
    – Trenin
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 16:28

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