Top 10 Most Violent Comic Books
VOICE OVER: Dan Paradis
Written by Michael Wynands
They might look like cartoons to the untrained eyesâ€¦ but they most certainly are not for kids. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today weâ€™ll be counting down the Top 10 Most Violent Comic Books.
For this list weâ€™re looking at the most over the top violent comics to ever get published. Manga, however will not. Because letâ€™s be honest... with the level of violence in some of those books, they really deserve their own list.
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They might look like cartoons to the untrained eyes… but they most certainly are not for kids. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 Most Violent Comic Books.
For this list we’re looking at the most over the top violent comics to ever get published. Manga, however will not. Because let’s be honest... with the level of violence in some of those books, they really deserve their own list.
Invincible is a superhero comic like few others. Under the creator-owned Image comics banner, writers and artists have the opportunity to really push the envelop and take risks in ways they never could with the “Big Two”. In Invincible, Robert Kirkman draws heavily on classic superhero tropes such as the teenage main character, an alien origin story resulting in near godlike levels of and more. He then proceeds to show just how gruesome battles involving such figures could realistically become. Think… Kryptonians NOT holding back mixed with a “Kill Bill” level of exaggerated bloodshed. When Battle Beast fought Thragg… “violent” was putting it mildly.
Another Image comic… another grisly display of comic book violence. While Spawn has... spawned a couple of adaptations over the years, neither the film nor the award-winning animated HBO miniseries managed to recreate the grotesque violence of their source material. The HBO series was certainly dark, never shying away from sexuality or violence, but even it had to dial things back. In the gritty 90’s, “dark” and “extreme” themes were the order of the day, sometimes at the expense of storytelling. Well-known characters were suddenly overly-jacked, wore insanely pointy costumes and seemingly growled constantly. The thing is… Spawn managed all of the above in a truly genuine way, and brought quality storylines to justify the carnage.
#8: Evil Ernie vs. Superheroes
While Spawn does plenty of maiming and dismembering… it’s often his villains who really bring the bloodshed. Lucky for him, Evil Ernie, the insane supernatural mass murderer, published by Chaos Comics, is not in his rogues gallery. Because when Ernie’s involved… printing presses run out of red ink. Created by Brian Pulido and Steven Hughes in 1991, Ernie is pretty much evil incarnate. And in this comic series, the embodiment of evil looks a lot like a 80’s metalhead… but you know, genocidal. Of all his various miniseries and one-shots, “Evil Ernie vs. Superheroes” is the most memorably violent. It’s essentially an orgy of destruction, with Evil Ernie hilariously ripping apart generic knockoffs of the most popular superheroes.
#7: Judge Dredd
The less said about the Stallone adaption...the better. But if you’ve seen the 2012 film adaptation of this comic series, you know just how violent the streets of dystopian “Mega-City One” can get. With the law enforcement officers, known as “judges” serving as judge, jury and executioner… justice is swift and typically rather explosive. The comic has a long history of violence, with the chronicles of Judge Dredd and company spanning countless series, one-shots and mini series since their 1977 debut in 2000 A.D. issue #2. Judge Dredd is can be counted among a select few comic books to ever show the titular hero punching through the head of a villain. It’s a violent world full of violent people.
#6: Sin City
In a comic book world made up almost exclusively of high contrast black and white, color is used sparingly to great effect. And more often than not… the color of choice is red. Arguably the greatest neo noir comic ever made… Sin City revels in violent imagery. Death is common in the pages of this Dark Horse publication, and people rarely meet their demise in a clean or swift fashion. But even when the series explores the most sadistic of displays, the highly stylized artwork results in a finished product that is equally disturbing and beautiful.
#5: Punisher Max
Forgive us for stating the obvious here but… the Punisher has earned his name. Since making his debut in the Amazing Spider-Man #129… he’s killed COUNTLESS criminals. But for most of his publishing history, the character has felt constrained or sold short by his place in Marvel Universe, where age appropriate content is key. Realistically though… the dude’s a killing machine who uses knives and bullets - that’s inherently gruesome content. Finally, with Punisher MAX, we got to see Frank Castle in all his glory. We got to witness what Frank does behind closed doors. The MAX imprint is R-rated Marvel content, and boy did this series earn that rating. Torture, headshots and brutal hand to hand combat… oh my.
#4: God is Dead
Even the best comic book writers are entitled to a mistake or two. Jonathan Hickman has given us great comics like “The Nightly News”, “The Manhattan Projects” and “East of West”. “God is Dead”, on the other hand, was largely hated by fans and critics alike. That being said, what it lacks in substance, originality and storytelling it more than makes up for with gratuitous violence. The gods of various religious essentially throwdown in a royal rumble. Published by Avatar Press, a company known for it’s particularly gory ongoing series… it delivers carnage of epic proportions. Forget the Nile… the entire planet is running red with blood in this comic.
This comic requires little introduction. While violence is a prerequisite for this particular list… Kick-Ass deserves a special nod for being the only title to really focus on children as the primary agents of carnage and mayhem. These kids are superheroes without powers, so they just pummel, slice and dice their enemies instead. If you’ve only ever seen the film adaptations… we highly recommend you pick up one of the trade paperbacks of this infamous series by Mark Millar. The films, which garnered so much controversy amongst the press, were honestly tasteful compared to the source material. Issue #2 hilariously included the caption “SICKENING VIOLENCE: JUST THE WAY YOU LIKE IT!” on its cover. Classic Millar.
#2: The Walking Dead
Robert Kirkman makes a second appearance on our list with his post-apocalyptic modern classic. After more than a decade of success and over 150 issues, The Walking Dead remains one of the bestselling monthly series, despite the fact that it has (with a few notable exceptions) killed off every character we’ve grown to love. In a future where the dead walk the earth, as you can probably imagine, few people leave this world peacefully. While we’ve largely grown numb to the human on zombie and zombie on human violence, it’s the brutal human on human violence that has really kept things interesting after all these years. This title proves that you don’t need ANY color to achieve gory results.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
The Strange Talent Of Luther Strode
Sometimes… the competition for our #1 spot can be fierce. Other times… one candidate just blows all others away. In the case of Crossed however, it more likely maimed, mutilated, tortured and disembowelled the competition. Created by Garth Ennis, who has given us such violent masterpieces as Preacher, The Boys and the aforementioned Punisher Max series, comes this dystopian tale of a world perverted beyond repair. A mysterious disease doesn’t turn people into zombies, but rather “the crossed”... utterly depraved psychopaths who kill, rape and torture everything in their path - man, woman, child or animal... regardless of relation. Everything is shown in graphic, stomach-churning detail. Here’s the trophy Crossed… you certainly earned it. Now we need to go puke.