The Darkest Stories in Comics

Voting Rules
Vote 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.

  • 1
    2,174 VOTES

    Batman: the Killing Joke

    Batman: the Killing Joke
    Photo: flickr / CC0
    Originally, The Killing Joke was meant to be an Elseworlds version of the Batman tale, but for some reason DC decided to make Alan Moore's SUPER GRAPHIC story of the Joker paralyzing and physically abusing Barbara Gordon in front of her father canon. 
    2,174 votes
  • 2
    1,614 VOTES

    Wolverine: Old Man Logan

    Wolverine: Old Man Logan
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY

    The entire "Old Man Logan" storyline is a killer comic that will probably be adapted some day, but the revelation that Wolverine slaughtered his friends and family in the X-Mansion under the hypnotic spell of Mysterio is probably too horrendous to commit to celluloid.

    There's also the tidbit about Wolverine carving his way out of the Hulk, that might be a bit too much for some viewers to stomach.

    1,614 votes
  • Sue Dibny Raped By Dr. Light
    Photo: Patrick Peccatte / Flickr

    Not only is this storyline super dark, but it's also one of the most unnecessary stories in comic book history. The story opens with Sue being murdered, and the Justice League going on an adventure to find the murderer. It's revealed that Dr. Light teleported to the JL Watchtower, where he found Dibny alone where he attacked and raped her.

    Not content with simply sending him to jail, the League and Zatanna neuter his mind as punishment for his actions.

    1,122 votes
  • 4
    813 VOTES
    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.

    813 votes
  • 5
    873 VOTES

    Mockingbird Raped By Phantom Rider

    Mockingbird Raped By Phantom Rider
    Photo: 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!).

    873 votes
  • 6
    1,018 VOTES

    Kraven's Last Hunt

    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.

    1,018 votes