10 Times Comic Book Art Got a Bit Too Weird For Us
Comic book art has been used for years to offer us an escape from a daily life that sometimes feels a lot less heroic and super than the stories on the printed page. What makes this escape different from a lot of literature is that comic book art uses illustrations to act out stories, using a one-two punch of action and dialogue. Perhaps that’s what’s so disconnecting about these 10 examples when comic book art got a bit too weird. Some of these images and stories were too surreal while others may have not seemed distant enough from the problems of real life. Comic book storylines are often delving into uncomfortable or taboo areas as evidenced by an incestuous relationship between siblings Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch or Superman’s paranoid oppression of Lois Lane. But few comics married story to comic book art to such absurd or disturbing effect as those in this list.
1. Ant Man Keeps Beating His Wife
A perfect example of times when comic book art may have felt a bit too real for readers looking for an escape, Hank Pym seemed unable to refrain from physical violence against women. It will be interesting to see if this is addressed at all in the Marvel Ant-Man movie, though chances are they’ll refrain from any scenes of Paul Rudd backhanding his love interest.
2. Wonder Woman Gets a Job in Fast Food
Technically, it’s not flipping burgers but it’s safe to say a job at Taco Whiz is gross misuse of Wonder Woman’s abilities. There are few moments in comic book art as uncomfortable as the image of Wonder Woman beaming with pride over her quick assembly of a breakfast taco.
3. Avengers Assemble…on the Set of Letterman
This one’s a bit less of a stretch, although Letterman’s promise that “we’re going to have more fun than Earth’s mightiest heroes should be allowed to have” comes off more like the threat that we’re going to have more eye roll moments than Earth’s most cynical readers should be allowed to have.
4. Peter Parker Remembers That Time He Was Molested
Again hitting us with a storyline with a bit more real-world impact than Green Goblin lobbing pumpkin bombs, Spiderman recounts a time when he faced one of his creepiest villains…Skip. Aside from having one of the creepiest leers in comic book art, the child molester Skip served as a warning to children about real life creepers. The story also allowed abused children to take solace in the knowledge that even Spiderman could fall victim to such perversion but ultimately persevere.
5. The Walking Dead’s Governor Passionately Kisses His Undead Daughter
If you thought the governor was messed up on the television version of The Walking Dead, he was absolutely unhinged in the comic…as evidenced by the passionate kiss he’s planting on his reanimated dead daughter in this panel.
6. The X-Men’s Jubilee Gets Crucified
Writer Chuck Austen took the Uncanny X-Men into some controversial territory, delivering one of the most striking images in comic book art with the crucifixion of Jubilee. But Archangel’s subsequent revival of Jubilee took away a lot of that sting.
7. Mr. Hyde Rapes the Invisible Man to Death
Unlike its film counterpart, Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was masterfully presented, relying heavily on Kevin O’Neill’s intricate and moody comic book art. The duo worked together to reimagine a Victorian-era Justice League with dark storylines, such as Mr. Hyde’s brutal raping of the Invisible Man, resulting in the latter’s death.
8. The Punisher Goes to Archie’s Prom
With the absurd crossover involving the Punisher crashing Archie’s sock hop prom at Riverdale High, it’s hard to determine who’s being punished the most. Hint: it’s the readers.
9. Ant-Man Brings Us the Most Absurd Sex Scene in Comic Book Art
Leave it to Ant-Man to make it onto the list twice, this time proving he’s as controversial a lover as a fighter. Here’s some thankfully not-too-graphic comic book art of our hero shrinking down to pleasure his woman. Yeah, I’m not sure how that works either.
10. Doctor Destiny Massacres a Diner for the Hell of It
Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman consistently presented horrific art and storylines. Adding to the unsettling atmosphere was Gaiman’s use of underutilized superheroes and villains from the DC universe to grotesque effect. In the series’ first story arc, Doctor Destiny busts loose from Arkham Asylum and decides to graphically torture a diner for fun, involving a night of self-mutilation, cannibalism, and necrophilia.
For the most part, comic books continue to offer fantasy that pulls us away from our realities yet never quite immerses us in the ridiculous or terrifying. Yet as these examples prove, that balance can be broken when story connects with comic book art to laughable, cringeworthy, or masterfully disturbing results.