Content Warning: This article contains references to extreme violence and disturbing content. Most of the comics mentioned contain material that may not be suitable for all readers.
When reading comics, the imagery of Superman punching his fist into the Joker’s chest cavity or having Omni-Man thrust his thumbs into his opponent’s eye sockets aren’t the only things that make for a good story. Comics with little to no violence have always existed alongside their counterparts, many of which have very wholesome stories with happy or sad endings. So when these are discussed, readers don’t often think of sudden deaths.
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Each reader has a different interpretation of what they consider brutal. It is not always necessary for someone to be torn in two or beaten to death. Some may consider these deaths tame, while others do not. It also depends on the content of the comic. So whether it’s your simple everyday life or a superhero trying to play the role of the average Joe, you’ll always have something different, including various forms of brutality and death.
Unlike some of DC Comics’ more violent storylines and comic book crossovers, excursionist is not about superheroes or villains. Brás de Oliva Domingos is the son of an internationally renowned author. He wants to write a novel and writes obituaries for the local newspaper to work on in his spare time. However, this is not an everyday life for the protagonist as, at the end of each issue, the reader can see the protagonist die in several different ways.
There are small moments of violence, but it’s not consumed by that, and that’s not the main focus. The death that would be considered brutal is in issue #7 when he searches for his friend on an island in a ramshackle cabin, looking disheveled and lost. When Brás tries to get his friend to leave, his friend goes after him, stabbing him to death before committing suicide by stabbing himself in the chest.
9 Archie’s Death: A Life Celebrated
First published in 1939 by Paul Kupperberg, the Archie comics are known for their original and upbeat storyline, adventures, and romance. It’s a comic book series that many wouldn’t expect to see a tragic and abrupt death from the content they frequently read.
Archie’s death comic was to wrap up Archie’s story and have him come out as a hero saving a senator from a shooter by taking a bullet to the abdomen. With a story like Archie, seeing Archie shot and lying in a pool of blood could be considered brutal in the eyes of his fans. But even with that conclusion, other great Archie comics that portray him as a superhero are still available.
8 royal city
royal city records the life of a dysfunctional family and a town that has slowly disappeared over three decades. This story follows Patrick Pike, once a famous writer who has fallen into obscurity, his two siblings, his mother and his father. The family is also haunted by their son/brother Tommy who died when he was younger.
Tommy has chronic headaches; his headaches produced hallucinations and were made worse by the radio tower. After being punched by his brother Richie, Tommy is later discovered face down in the small creek in the woods. Presumably the blow to the head and the other factors got Tommy intoxicated and unstable, causing him to fall into the water. It’s a tragic end for the young teenager, one that could be seen as brutal due to the events leading up to it and how it tore a family apart and haunted it for years.
7 Sand castle
In some cases, the comics will be made into a movie. In this case, the comic Sand castle was recently made into a movie Old, directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
On this island, these individuals age rapidly and cannot escape. What makes these deaths and future deaths so brutal in this story is how quickly they die and how the reader sees the children growing into adults, having children, and watching the parents of those children die. Life passes more quickly on this island, and the occupants are trapped and forced to watch themselves die.
6 AD after death
AD after death is a comic book set in the future, and a genetic cure for death has been found. Years later, protagonist Jonah Cooke begins to question everything and must come to terms with his past and his mortality.
The most brutal death hits the reader early on with the protagonist’s mother and an illness she suffered from. She was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a malignant connective tissue that prevents the body from producing collagen, and at the time she was also pregnant with a baby boy. Six months later, her body began to fail, and as her body crumbled, the baby died alongside her mother.
The current story snotgirl is about social media influencer/fashion blogger Lottie Person and the issues in her life and those around her. It doesn’t seem like the kind of comic to have a brutal death, but the reader will be surprised by volume #10.
To like excursionist, it depicts violence, but not all of the protagonist’s deaths are excessive, and violence is not the primary focus. The most brutal death so far has taken place in a motel when Lottie is under the influence. It was shown as a hallucination, possibly some kind of bad dream, but Lottie sees a girl being murdered by an individual by having her head smashed. The full act isn’t shown, but the blood splatter and the act of dropping the blunt object give the reader the idea that it wasn’t a pleasant death.
Before it was a movie, Coraline was first a short story written by Neil Gaiman, who later adapted it into a comic book published in 2009. As many know, the storyline of Coraline is about a girl who walks through the door to a “better” fantasy-like world that ends up desolate and dark. It is also well known that the “other mother” is evil and manipulative and has a reputation for capturing souls.
As the story progresses, the reader is introduced to these trapped souls that the Other Mother has stolen. Once released, the souls are never shown returning to their bodies, but it does show them continuing. It leaves the reader to imagine a potentially deranged and brutal process that could have been worse than simply “sowing” on the pimples that cost the children their lives.
3 Alex + Ada
Alex + Ada is a sci-fi/romance comic involving a man and his android. But before the romance is introduced, the reader sees what can happen to some androids if they don’t follow the android rules.
His grandmother gave Jonathan a female Tanaka X-5 android, this android being capable of intelligent human interactions. These androids can be tampered with and have the ability to think for themselves and feel emotions, and one of them was caught at a concert. The android used a fake ID to gain entry and when discovered, the mob beat and ripped out this android’s limbs, ultimately killing her. While the act itself is not shown, the reader sees the consequences.
2 The sculptor
The sculptor is about a man named David Smith who trades his life so he can sculpt whatever he wants for 200 days. However, David soon finds happiness with a girl named Meg. This makes the ending of this comic both tragic and brutal.
By clearly revealing to Meg his agreement with death, he loses three days. With only 12 days left, David and Meg spend as much time as possible together until the day Meg dies when she is hit by a truck. After his death, David erects one last statue before being shot by a sniper, falling to his death. The last thing the reader will see is the bittersweet end of David’s body on the ground and a giant statue of Meg holding their unborn child in the middle of town.
1 Through the woods
Through the woods is a collection of stories in this singular comic strip. Everyone has a dark ending, but the one with the most brutal ending was the new one. “A lady’s hands are cold.”After a woman gets engaged and lives with her fiancé, she begins to hear a voice in the walls. The woman breaks through the wall to find her future husband’s deceased ex-wife cut into pieces to fit in the small space. He had murdered his ex-wife using a choker he had given her that would tighten and eventually decapitate her. Although this scene is not graphic, the reader sees the corpse and the choker of the woman who led to her brutal death.
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