Over the years, the comic book world has seen its fair share of gruesome deaths, with countless independent publishers making a name for themselves by ramping up the gore quotient to ever greater heights of bloody carnage. However, when it comes to the big two — Marvel and DC — things have tended to be a little more straight-laced and sedate, with DC in particular having adhered pretty faithfully to the family-value-encouraging Comics Code Authority until relatively recently.
That being said, over the years even the big two have still found the time to throw some truly disturbing (and gore-filled) moments our way, which means that it's well past time to ask...
Are These The Six Most Horrifying Deaths In DC Comics History?
Well, ultimately only you're going to be able to decide that — and do make sure to point out the glaringly obvious examples I'm sure to have missed down below in the comments — so, without further ado, let's get started.
6. 'Preacher' Drops a Guy From a Helicopter, Turns Him Into A Puddle
Now, while Preacher may technically hail from the DC imprint Vertigo, that still technically makes it a DC comic book, meaning that when writer Garth Ennis had a character dropped out of a helicopter (back in Issue 24), that totally counts. Which, seeing as Allfather D'Aronique was pretty much liquidized by the fall, comes in at a tough-to-clean-up No. 6.
5. Rorschach Burns A Guy Alive
Admittedly, Watchmen's Rorschach had just discovered that the guy in question had cut up a small child and fed them to his dogs. But even so, there's something about him walking out of the building, covered in blood and watching it burn that's fundamentally... horrifying:
Imagined limbless felt torsos inside; breasts blackening; bellies smoldering; bursting into flame one by one.
Sometimes you don't have to see the horror to feel it.
4. The Midnighter Uses A Jackhammer For Something Other Than Its Intended Purpose
Another piece of (largely implied horror), this time from another DC imprint (WildStorm). The Authority's Midnighter was never exactly known for his subtlety, but after facing off against a government-backed group (heavily based on the Avengers), he found himself facing off with a heavily wounded analog of Captain America — who just so happened to be a serial rapist. Note, by facing off against, I of course actually mean that he physically violated the "hero" with a jackhammer. To death. Writer Mark Millar has rarely been more Mark Millar-like in his Mark Millar-ness.
3. The Joker Skins A Guy Alive
If you thought the mainstream DC Comic Joker was bad, it's worth bearing in mind that Brian Azzarello's 2008 version in Joker was way, way more horrifying. Take, for instance, that time where he skinned a guy alive. Because, y'know, that's not a fundamentally unimaginable awful thing to do or anything.
2. That Time Superman Punched The Joker Through The Chest
Of course, this was back in an Injustice: Gods Among Us prequel comic book, so it's a long way from canon, but even so. Superman totally just crushed the Joker's chest cavity. I mean, sure, he'd just murdered Lois Lane and Superman's unborn child, but even so...
1. The Joker Bludgeons Jason Todd To Death
Now, sure, we might not see the actually blood splattering everywhere, but there's arguably been none more shocking death in DC history than that of Jason Todd being brutally beaten (and technically explosioned) to death by the Joker back in 1988's Batman Issue 427.
Sometimes you don't need blood to be absolutely horrifying, after all.