Q&A #47 What comic book character really scares you?

In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.

What comic book character really scares you?


Well, to be completely honest, no one in a comic book really scares me. I don’t mean to sound like a snob, it’s not that I don’t think comics can be scary. The fantastic doesn’t personally scare me. I don’t like straight horror films, not because they are too frightening or gory, but because they are boring. I don’t find something created to scare me to be particularly frightening. The Harry Potter series is full of characters who are dark and menacing and evil, but I am not afraid of Voldemort. I am afraid of Hermione Granger. Remember what she does to her parents? To protect them? “I’ve also modified my parents’ memories so that they’re convinced they’re really called Wendell and Monica Wilkins, and that their life’s ambition is to move to Australia, which they have now done.” (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 6) If she ever went bad, the world would be in trouble.

So in that vein, my answer is Professor Charles Xavier, the most powerful telepath on the planet. I am pretty certain he could use Cerebro to take control of every single mutant in the world. But ignoring that, just his Jedi Mind Trick power is good enough to sway absolute power his way. Plus, he’s proved to be patient. He’d do it so we would never know it was happening. Just one day we’d wake up on X-World and we wouldn’t know the difference.


It’s been a while since I read Sandman, but the Corinthian is pretty much every bad dream I ever had:

“A nightmare created to be the darkness, and the fear of darkness in every human heart. A black mirror, made to reflect everything about itself that humanity will not confront.”

Also, teeth where they shouldn’t be teeth. Yeesh.


I was reading Warren Ellis’ Thunderbolts run that I came to a firm conclusion: Bullseye scares the crap out of me.

I remember telling this to Caroline, and she seemed surprised. “Bullseye? Not Venom? He EATS people.” And I just shook my head. Sure, Venom is scary — and if he really existed, I’d be a little worried about being devoured. But Venom is an alien symbiote, and I don’t anticipate encountering one of those any time soon. But a sociopath? A guy with no morals, no patterns, no real goals beyond enjoying himself, who is also really damn good at killing people? That terrifies me. It terrifies me because those people exist, and there is absolutely nothing I could do to stop them from hurting me. I can’t avoid them, I can’t reason with them, I can’t give them something they want more than my death. I can only walk through my life, unprotected, until the day I happen to be in front of Bullseye at the supermarket checkout line and he decides to slice my head off with the packaging from Hostess snack cakes. And that’s absolutely horrifying.


That depends.

I mean, realistically, I should be scared of Galactus or something. Something implacable that will end everything. And I am scared of that, of him, of the world ending as there is no respite, no help, and I just have long enough to try to explain to my kids that nothing can stop me from loving them. But, realistically, I only worry about that scenario about once a month in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep. (I call this “worrying about the zombie apocalypse,” and it encompasses worrying about the walking dead, nuclear war, meteors hitting the earth, Galactus, alien invasion, dimensional gateways, the Dies the Fire series by S. M. Stirling, and environmental catastrophe.)

In an existential-fear sense, I worry about the Joker and his ilk. This is why I can’t watch the Saw movies, because the trailers remind me of the Joker. The Joker is the embodiment of everything I fight. He is chaos and unreason, disorder and whim. In my job, in my parenting, and in my life I work against entropy. I work to establish patterns, to encourage rationality and reason. I work on the side of those who want cause and effect to be predictable. I follow rules, I explain my actions. I believe that the world is comprehensible and can be mastered through knowledge. The Joker violates all of that.

In a very immediate-fear sort of way, though, I am scared of whatever thing or person in a comic is threatening a kid in a scene. Whatever the comic is, whatever the scenario, if there is a portrayal of a scared little kid and a terrified parent, in that moment THAT is what I’m afraid of. I used to be afraid of things like The Corinthian, or Proteus. I have to tell you, a guy with teeth for eyeballs are a walk in the park compared to the things that scare me now.

What comic book character really scares you?

  • Sam

    I like the Joker… he’s not always scary (in the animated universe, for example), but when he’s scary he’s damn scary. The first time he ever scared me was in Tim Burton’s Batman, and I was eight years old and it stuck. And the second time he scared me was when he broke his own neck in Dark Knight Returns. Anyone who could do that… creepy stuff. Oddly enough, Heath Ledger’s Joker didn’t really scare me the way Nicholson’s or the comic joker can. I’m not afraid of anarchy and random violence. I’m afraid of the guy who is so creepy that he kills a hundred people at a circus with cotton candy. I think it creeps me out so much because it’s more based in reality than the Corinthian or other supervillains, and, like Anika, the fantastic doesn’t scare me. The scariest things are the ones that I could see happening in the real world.

  • Purple Man. In theory, ya know.

  • Caroline

    Nice answers– I notice that all of them but mine involve *thought* of some kind. Me, I’m just, “Scary teeth-eyes, get him away!”

    And Paul, Purple Man was my runner up. Arguably, he and Anika’s vision of Hermione or Xavier gone bad aren’t that different.

  • Alan Moore’s version of this legendary character in Swamp Thing.


    My in-laws had these little felt-horse Christmas ornaments in which the horses’ heads were turned around kind of funny? Not in a meant to be scary way at all, just in a “horses look odd as tiny stuffed felt dolls” sort of way. And after this comic I was DISTURBED BY THE TINY HORSIE CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS.

  • And hmmm, apparently I suck at linking. It’s here:


  • The Parasite kinda freaks me out, particularly the Alex Ross version.

  • handyhunter

    Batman and all his villains. Also anything else that hints at being scary (including (especially) “scary teeth eyes”). Except Wolverine.

  • sigrid

    Purple Man / Xavier / Hermione are all *super* scary.

  • I think it’s interesting that nobody mentions being scared by Phoenix or Scarlet Witch or Green Lanter/Parallax — the heroes who might go nuts and take you out. It’s the ones that we think might consciously decide to use their power to subjugate others as a way of doing good.

    I’m not sure I subscribe to that, personally — I possibly have too much faith in good intentions as a barrier.

  • aaron

    I always thought Spiral (The Shiva-like Mojoverse X-men villian) was pretty damn scary. Sort of a frigntening combination of magical and psychotioc…

  • Caroline

    Aaron — I have a Spiral toy lying around somewhere! And yes, she’s creepy as hell. (Who thought that would be a good toy? I also have a Brood which occasionally makes me scream b/c I think it’s a huge bug. But that doesn’t count as a comic book character because it’s just the thing from Alien, drawn by Dave Cockrum.