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The Darkest Stories in Comics

Updated May 27, 2020 28.0k votes 5.2k voters 1.0m views27 items

List RulesVote up the best dark story storylines in comic books.

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.

  • Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Fair use

    Crossed is a story of a post-apocalyptic world where a plague turns the majority of the population into ravenous zombie like beings that try to rape and pillage everything in their path. Sounds fun!

    The series has given audiences their take on rape, incest, and child murder. Understandably, some readers find Crossed to be a bit dark.

    Is this dark?
  • 6

    Kraven's Last Hunt

    Photo: 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.

    Is this dark?
  • 7

    Alexandra DeWitt Gets Fridged

    Photo: 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.

    Is this dark?
  • Photo: 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. 

    Is this dark?

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