Out of all the comic book films that have been released in the last ten years, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight series is arguably the darkest. But when you compare those films to the stories that they’re based on, they barely scratch the surface of the darkness beneath. And outside of the comic book world of Batman, there’s an entire history of writers pushing boundaries and inspiring their peers to completely break the rules. The stories on this list are some of the darkest tales that ever graced the pages of a comic book - some of which resulted from shifting trends, others from publishing gimmicks - and we doubt you’ll ever see them on the big screen.
A lot of the stories detailed within this list are NSFW and may be triggering, so if you’re worried about seeing, or reading about something graphic you may want to read one of our lists about fluffiest kittens. The stories on this list come from mainstream and indie comic imprints, but honestly, some of the most shocking story lines come from the majors.
On the lineup, we have shocking character deaths, sexual assaults committed by heroes and villains alike, and at least one account of a character cutting themselves out of another character’s stomach; if any of that piques your fancy then we want to hear from you. After you pour over this list of comic book stories that are too dark to film, we want to know which story you think is the darkest. If there’s a story we missed, leave us a comment and fill us in on the action.
- 5956 VOTES
Mockingbird Raped By Phantom RiderPhoto: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
The “Lost in Space-Time” storyline by Steve Englehart was controversial for a number of reasons: Ant Man tried to commit suicide, and the WC Avengers went back in time where they ran into The Phantom Rider who became infatuated with Mockingbird.
He kidnapped, drugged, and raped her before brainwashing her to fall in love with him. She eventually lets him fall off a cliff (yay!) but then her husband, Hawkeye, divorces her for her actions (BOO!).
- 61,107 VOTES
Kraven's Last HuntPhoto: Metaweb / CC-BY
Kraven was always kind of a B-Team bad guy in the Marvel universe, but this story made him an incredibly interesting character. After years of hunting Spiderman, Kraven finally catches him, kills him (or so he thinks) and then buries him. Kraven then dons the Spidey costume and has fun until Parker can dig his way out of the ground and catch.
Feeling like he already won, Kraven writes a confession to the police before blowing his brains out with a shot gun. The end.
- 7965 VOTES
Alexandra DeWitt Gets FridgedPhoto: flickr / CC0
After Hal Jordan went psycho and stopped being a lantern, Kyle Rayner was tapped to take over as the defender of sector 2814. For the first few issues he and his on again, off again girlfriend, Alexandra DeWitt, worked out the foibles of a new lantern. But soon enough she was murdered and stuffed into a fridge by the super powered hitman Major Force.
Once again, comic writers used cheap violence against women instead of writing actual character development.
- 81,444 VOTESPhoto: Metaweb / CC-BY
This storyline is just grim. In 1988, DC gave fans the choice of whether or not they would like to kill Jason Todd (the most recent incarnation of Robin). Proving that people have always been awful, readers voted en masse for Todd's death.
Jason is killed when he jumps onto a bomb to save his mother, although that sounds sweet, it's kind of a boring way to go.