Top 9 Most Frightening Comic Book Characters
The leaves are turning colors. There’s a bit of a chill in the air. AMC is running their annual Fear Fest movie and television marathon. The neighbors have every square inch of their yard covered in random fall decorations from Hobby Lobby with the soundtrack to Disney’s Haunted Mansion being played at an ungodly volume. Ah, yes! Halloween time. It’s always been a favorite time of year for me, for several reasons. Who can resist orange-colored Oreos and horror movies? I’m a big fan of the scary movies, and I’m not too particular either. Not unusual to find me watching the classic Universal Monster movies or the terrifically cheesy Syfy specials. But the scares don’t have to come just from our screens. We can also look to the pages of our favorite comics and graphic novels to find monsters and villains that can scare the crap out of you. In recent years, some of these characters have made the jump to the big screen and only emphasize how truly terrifying they can really be.
In honor of the season and the Halloween holiday, I thought I’d take a few minutes to compile a list of some of the more frightening characters that grace the colorful pages of our beloved comic books. Now, as I put this list together, I had to picture myself in some dark corner of the world and placed these particular characters at the opposite end of the proverbial alley. I’m pretty sure any one of these would cause me to evacuate myself in an unsanitary manner. Anyway, let’s begin, shall we?
#9- Ghost Rider: The fact that his head is a flaming skull is frightening on its own. Add to that his super strength and near immortality and you have yourself a formidable opponent, despite what ever Nic Cage does. His powers are said to be limitless, doing whatever it takes to seek the vengeance he desires. He’s invulnerable to tradition weapons, with knives pretty much melting away into nothingness and bullets passing right through him. Let’s discuss this little bike of his. Not only is it totally bad ass, but it can travel on any surface. This is a force that many readers under-estimate and those two “movies” didn’t help the situation. Regardless, Ghost Rider, no matter which incarnation you are up against, is not someone you take lightly.
#8- Batman: Yes, you read that correctly. He is one of the most well-known comic book characters in history and we all view him as a hero and really miss the fact that he’s a man dressed as a bat serving up round-house heel kicks to the bad guys. If I had a dude dressed in a bat suit drop down out of the dark in front of me with the notion of justice on his mind and he was about to focus that notion onto me, I’d be a tad panicked. While the look of his silhouette is rather menacing, it’s only the icing on the cake. He’s the master of numerous styles of martial arts and possesses some of the world’s most high-tech gadgetry. AND…he’s a damn genius. That’s a scary list of attributes. Did I mention he’s a grown-ass man dressed as a bat?
#7- Solomon Grundy: This character is likely the first depiction of a zombie in the comic book world. And as the hit television series (and comics) The Walking Dead will show you, zombies can be pretty frightening. Add in the superhuman strength, healing factors and immortality and you have yourself a character that most people would go out of their way to avoid. Grundy has faced some of DC’s greatest heroes, including Superman, Batman and Green Lantern, and was successful. In most iterations, he’s a rather mindless lump of swamp goo that can break a man in half, but there have been instances where he was a very intelligent crime boss. But it’s the former that frightens me the most: something with that kind of power and not many things able to stop him from tearing you apart. I bet he smells, too.
#6- Spawn: A man who was murdered and burned in a fiery inferno, only to return to life after making a deal for his soul. Not many things more frightening than that. Of course, it gets better. Not only does he look frightening as hell, his powers and abilities are terrifying. He’s got the usual superhuman strength and agility, but the necroplasm that makes up his body allows him certain powers brought on via dark magic, including raising the dead, teleportation, phasing and necro-energy blasts. Sounds kinky, right? His K7-Leetha suit, which is bonded to his central nervous system, is able to be manipulated and shaped into various forms. I’d be totally lying to you if i saw this guy headed my direction and didn’t begin to cry uncontrollably and i think you’d be lying to yourself if you didn’t react the same way.
#5- Venom/Carnage: For number five, you get a two-for-one special. Looking at Spider-Man, it’s easy to see why he’s so popular. He’s powerful, smart, agile and friendly. What if you took all of that, minus the friendly, and added in an alien symbiote that enhanced and fed off your hate and aggression? Well, you’d get Venom, a pissed of anti-hero that has proven to be a big pain in the ass. Well, how about we take it to the next level and add in the trait of murderous rage? Your result is Carnage, a character so powerful, it takes both Venom and Spidey to bring him down. Imagine yourself in a dark alley and seeing these two wall-crawling their way towards you? Freaky, right? It’s easy to see why these two are scary as hell.
#4- Kevin: Sin City is ranked among the top comic book movies to date. It was a dark and, at times, horrifying, film. There are a couple of characters that stand out as creepy and scary in this film, but I think Kevin takes the cake here. If you’re a prostitute and you see this kid headed your direction, chances are you’re about to have a really bad day. It’s bad enough that he ties his victims up and torments them, but he then proceeds to eat them, bite by meaty bite. And when it’s all done, he mounts the head on his wall like a big game trophy. But I think what makes this guy so terrifying is that fact that he chooses to be mute, the literal definition of a silent killer. Yeah, no thanks.
#3- Vampires from 30 Days of Night: Let me preface this by saying it is both the comics and the film that influenced this decision. In a time when vampires are depicted as sparkling teenagers with serious commitment issues, it was a bit of fresh air to see this type of vampire show up again. The style and fierceness hearkens back to the look of the classic Nosferatu, with the large teeth and feline-like attributes. With the film, Danny Huston’s portrayal of Marlow will forever be stuck in my mind. Add to that the horrific screeching the creatures use to communicate, it’s hard not to be scared. Thanks to David Slade, that sound will forever be stuck in my mind. Forever. Always. Thank you Mr. Slade.
#2- The Governor: Earlier, I mentioned how terrifying zombies can be and with the hit series The Walking Dead being so popular, more and more people are seeing that. Last season, we got to see the introduction of a new character that has a reputation for being a real asshole, and although we got to see that with the TV version, it doesn’t even com e close to comparing to the version seen in the comics. I won’t go into details here, as I don’t want to spoil anything, but The Governor is one of the most despicable and down-right horrific characters in comics. As we saw in the television series, the man kept his zombie daughter alive in a cage, but what we didn’t see is that he would feed her to keep her going. The food source was usually members of his own town. It’s the things I can’t mention for spoiler reasons that truly make The Governor one of the scariest character we’ve ever seen.
#1- The Joker: I’m not sure if this is much of a surprise. The Clown Prince is one of the darkest and most off-balance characters ever. He has no boundaries or limits and will do anything and everything to anybody. He’s beaten Robin to a bloody pulp, put people in wheelchairs, murdered, maimed and countless other atrocities. I think this is what makes him so frightening: He won’t stop. Ever. His clown-like appearance is scary enough for some folks, but his psychotic and unrelenting mind only exacerbates the fear. The only real-life comparison I can make is to combine bits of John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy and the evening news into one person and you have an equal. I can honestly say, I hope that I never come across a character like the Joker in my time.
Obviously, there are many other characters out there that are the stuff of nightmares: The Sandman, the Crow, the Hulk, Swamp Thing, Dead Man. I could go on for a while. But it’s hard to argue that this group of characters, whether hero or villain, would present a frightening encounter. What characters give you the heebie-jeebies and why? Sound off below!