Comic books can be a little campy from time to time. Some of the original pioneers in the medium created gruesome horror comics. Even Batman used to shoot people with guns. Comic books have always been a violent medium. Whether it’s the subtle violence we get today with Aquaman punching Superman or the hardcore violence of a man stabbing his wife to death in the Criminal books, comic books contain violence. There are some instances of comic books where you are reading a comic book when this violence occurs unexpectedly. It’s moments like these that catch us off guard and startle us. It’s moments like these that connect with us and elicit an emotional response. The emotions are occasionally fear or amusement, but you’re always left a little shocked. It is in this vein that I bring you, the “Top 5 Most Violently Shocking Things That I Have Seen In Comics To Date.” Please be advised that there are spoilers in the following post.
5. The Strange Talent Of Luther Strode…The Whole Thing.
Luther Strode is a comic book character that has a strange talent if I’ve ever seen one. While not explained down to the smallest detail, the basic gist is that Luther Strode sees how to destroy people. It’s not x-ray vision, but he has an acuity to be just a dude that tears people down to sinews and bones. His story is relatively simple. Nerd gets picked on, reads book to learn defense, becomes “super” with super strength, precognition, durability, and enhanced reflexes. The Strange tale of Luther Strode goes on that he murders lots of people in gruesome fashion earning it the genre title of “mega-violence.”
4. Alien Shreds Lion In “Parasyte”
Many of you read my write up of my experience with the manga, “Parasyte,” and so you know how odd the whole process of reading it was. From start to finish, it had moments both weird and wild. There was, however, only one really “shocking” moment. Iwaaki draws a very good Japanese-styled human figure. There is a particular body type always present, but he nails the facial expressions and body language. It’s very good, but the characters could be drawings in nearly any manga. I write all of this to say that his characters have a prototypical appearance. So, it is startling to see a nearly perfect photo-rendered lion in the middle of the book, yet there it is. There is a scene where a lion escapes and is killing people while an inner monologue about being a predator plays in the background. We find, in this emotionally gripping scene, that although the lion is a great predator, the “Parasyte” is it’s better. The scene’s tense emotions simultaneously reinforce the power that the Parasytes have and create fear for the human populace around. It subconsciously leaves you with the thought, “If it did that to a lion, what could it do to me?”
3. Oliver Murders The Mauler Twins In “Invincible”
Oliver, or Kid Omni-Man as he prefers, is a young humanoid extra-terrestrial from the “Invincible” series by Robert Kirkman. Filled with youthful exuberance, boyish charm, and an alien understanding of the world, Oliver is a conflicted young man. He wants to honor his father and make his brother proud. He longs to fight evil and his world view is juvenile. Enter, the Mauler Twins. Bad guys since the beginning of Invincible’s story, the Mauler Twins have been both casually and intimately involved in the nefarious plots that Invincible has thwarted in his short career as a crime fighter. Robert Kirkman does a wonderful job building fictional worlds where you get the sense that they live and move, even when you aren’t looking at them. That’s the case with the Mauler Twins…they are always up to something. The Mauler Twins are always a little comedic and often entertaining. As Oliver coldly finishes murdering them, in what he sees as an efficient solution to the problem, the crowd of heroes stands astonished. It’s not every day that you see the equivalent of a 13 year old boy covered in the entrails of his lovable enemies.
2. Lucille Meets Glenn In “The Walking Dead”
When “The Walking Dead” issue number one hundred came out, those who know Robert Kirkman knew that someone was gonna’ bite it. It has been discussed on this blog that “The Walking Dead” is a pop-culture phenom that simply does a few things really well. One of those things is gruesome death. People die in “The Walking Dead” regularly. It takes something extra-horrific to make it memorable and we have to make issue #100 memorable, don’t we? Glenn was a series favorite, a tent pole character since the early days. We had laughed with Glenn and cried with him. It looked like Glenn was moving on to happiness. A new baby on the way and a change of scenery were going to protect him from the hard life that he had been living and we all wanted that for Glenn. We all cheer for Glenn. Enter new villain Negan and his lover Lucille. Now, Lucille is his love in the fact that he dances with her and has a deep emotional connection to her. The odd part that must be factored in is that she is a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire. Glenn is singled out from the group in a gripping and dramatic scene and beaten to death in front of his pregnant wife. The beating is twisted and slow and you, the reader, are forced to chew on every last morsel. It’s terribly unpleasant, but that’s what sells and “sell” is exactly what issue #100 did.
1. Giraffe’s Head Explodes In “Pride”
“Pride of Baghdad” is a high concept, fictional allegory about zoo animals, specifically four African lions, escaping into the streets of Iraq’s capital city during American bombing in 2003. The lions did really escape, but they didn’t talk, that’s what makes it fictional. The story has a broad scope and gives these animals very human emotions. “Pride” is certainly a feather in the Native American headdress of Brian K. Vaughan as it won the IGN award for Best Graphic Novel of 2006. It is the kind of inventive and engaging stuff that you can expect from DC’s Vertigo imprint. So after saying all of that, you are probably thinking two things. One, “why is he featuring two things about lions on a top five list?” and two, “how does this independent art house style comic book make this grotesque list ahead of Glenn’s grisly murder?” Well, I will answer both of those with three words “Exploding Giraffe Head.” At one point in the shelling, some stray explosive hits a giraffe in the head and it explodes. It’s such an odd and shocking moment that it stuns you. I mean, it makes sense that animals might get hit by stray military ordinance, but there is something about an exploding giraffe head that just gave me pause. That’s why it is the number one Most Violently Shocking Thing That I Have Seen In Comics To Date.
So that is that. We hope that this New Year finds you well. To those of you who read this website, THANK YOU! Stay tuned for all kinds of new content that we will be bringing you this year and share us with a friend.
~ Scott Deaux ~