Movies & TV / Columns

Comics 411: The Scariest Comic Book Moments

October 20, 2021 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Joker Killing Joke

Welcome back! I’m Steve Gustafson and if you enjoy discussing anything comic book related, you’ve come to the right place. Each week we cover something in the industry and I always enjoy your input in the comment section below.

Previously on…

Last time we discussed Scariest Comic Books Here’s what some of you had to say:

Excollector: “I would say Severed was a truly frightening comic and once you start thinking about the lore behind it and fully fall into the world of Wytches it runs a very close second.”

JackOfClubs: “I remember a Captain America story during the height of post 9-11 islamophobia and paranoia, there was a villain who took a church hostage and wired it and everyone in it to blow. People ready and willing to blindly die for something that just requires you to either fear or love it is ultimately foreign to me and something that makes me want to never leave the house, let alone cause nightmares.”

BiggMcLargeHuuge: “- agree on Crossed, at least with the stories by Ennis & Jason Burrows and Ennis & Raulo Caceres; they had other good stories from writers like Jamie Delano, David Lapham, Kieron Gillan, & Si Spurrier during the run of the title but by-and-large most of the non-Burrows or non-Caceres art was fairly terrible, which was unfortunately typical of most books by Avatar (interesting stories for the most part and some really great covers, but also usually accompanied by some really awful interior art); one of the characters in Ennis’ stories mentioned that the population of Britain had been broken down into 95% crossed or killed by crossed and only 5% normies remaining – translate that stat to the entire world and it puts the infection down as apocalyptically lethal as the superflu from Stephen King’s The Stand

– agree also on Neonomicon; Alan Moore’s cycle from The Courtyard/Neonomicon/Providence was one for the ages, probably one of the best overall stories in the entire Lovecraft mythos; the development of Jacen Burrows on those books from being a good artist at the start of The Courtyard to a truly great one by the end of Providence was a lot of fun to follow; for anyone interested in more Burrows he did a story at Marvel with Ennis called The Punisher: Soviet, where Frank Castle teams up with an old Russian veteran from the Afghan War to cause some mayhem – unrelenting and grim, and set in Ennis’ Punisher Max millieu, so it wasn’t tainted by any association with the regular Marvel superhero universe”

Some awesome comments last week! Go and check out the rest, if you can. Thanks for the input and keep it coming!

This week we discuss…

Scariest Comic Book Moments

Here we go! Halloween is almost upon us and as we continue the “scary” theme, what better way to get ready than talk about some of the scariest moments in comics?

Let’s begin with a couple of moments from the creepiest guy in comic books…the Joker! We could include such moments like when he killed Robin in ‘A Death in the Family’. Shocking and brutal, it showed Joker in a sadistic light.

Topping that has to be when the Joker terrorized, shot, and molested Barbara Gordon in ‘The Killing Joke’. I still remember reading it for the first time. Breaking into Jim Gordon’s home, the Joker beats him, then proceeds to shoot Barbara in the stomach, paralyzing her. It gets even worse as he strips her naked and takes pictures of her suffering. Gut-wrenching.

Of course I’m going to throw in when he cuts off his own face and then wears it as a mask. Thinking about it, the Joker could have his own scariest moments Top 10 list. Seriously, I have a rough draft of that but it’s too much.

Batman’s not too shabby with his own creepy moments. One that stands out to me is the Batman & Dracula trilogy. The third, ‘Crimson Mist’, gave us a vampire Batman draining and decapitating all of his old enemies. A vampire Batman is not someone you want to cross.

Neil Gaiman’s ‘Sandman’ saga is another list by itself. To pick just one is almost impossible but I’ll throw in the scene of Dr. Destiny going into a diner and using his reality-bending powers to control the patrons there to become his deviant minions. Sadistic and disturbing.

Add another Doctor to the list with Doctor Light. ‘Identity Crisis’ showed us that Doctor Light had raped Sue Dibny, the wife of Elongated Man, on the JLA Satellite. It showed us a more dangerous Doctor Light and changed the way we view him forever.

Where to begin with Kid Miracleman’s story and his London rampage? The sad, tragic tale of Johnny Bates is a must read for mature readers but the battle between Kid Marvelman and Marvelman, Marvelwoman, Firedrake, and the Warpsmiths with the ravaging of London and the horrific murdering of much of the city’s population will never leave you.

Another scary and disturbing moment in comics can be found in the pages of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen between Mr. Hyde and the Invisible Man. The Invisible Man beats Miss Murray savagely and then is confronted by a true savage. Hyde grabs the Invisible Man and has his way with him, tearing him apart. Not for the faint of heart. Trust me on this.

Preacher has a number of disturbing scenes but early in the series run we meet Si Coltrane, a friend of Cassidy’s, who is an investigative reporter on the trail of the serial killer known as the Reaver-Cleaver. We first see the Reaver cut off a man’s face and then nail the removed skin mask upside down to the still living victim. A lasting impression that stands out among many.

Another comic with a plethora of scary moments is The Walking Dead. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve held my breath while reading but nothing made me gasp louder than when Lori and the baby get shot and killed. Even Negan’s beating of Glenn didn’t get me as much as that moment. Pure horror.

Another zombie moment comes from when we’re first introduced to the Marvel Zombies. In the pages of Ultimate Fantastic Four, Ultimate Reed Richards finds himself in a strange universe, one that appears to be the Silver Age 616. Except it’s not even close and when we first see the Marvel Zombies for the first time, it’s a jarring and creepy moment.

One of my favorite horror comics is Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith’s vampire tale 30 Days of Night. In the second issue, head vampire Niles provides a poignant and dark moment when he states, “This is how it’s meant to be. Humans like bottles waiting for their caps to be popped.” The visuals accompanying this scene still linger with me.

When I tried to think of ONE scene from Swamp Thing to include…I couldn’t pick one! Too many moments to pick from but trust me, the series is worth a read.

Wrapping up, back in the 1990s, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner gave the industry one of the most shocking and scary moments in mainstream comics when Rayner’s girlfriend Alex DeWitt was found murdered and stuffed in the fridge by the hands of Major Force. A shocking twist and horrific moment.

Sorry, I won’t even mention “A Taste of Cherry” out of common decency.

What are some of your scariest moments in comic books?

That’s all the time I have. See you next week!

That’s all the time I have. See you next week!