Given their roots as entertainment meant for children, it’s not surprising that most comic books throughout the ages have been safe for everyone to read — whether it was by your eight-year old little sister or your 40-year old dad. Their family friendly nature is a big part of their appeal, and part of why half the entertainment on television and in theaters for the past few years has been an adaptation of some comic book.
But not every comic can boast that family friendly label, and for this list CBR collects 15 of the most risque, raunchy and violent comics in the business. Never mind “Bang! Zoom! Comics Aren’t For Kids”, these comics aren’t even for some adults! Some of them are light offenders and guilty of nothing more than a little cheesecake on the covers. The remainder, though…have done a lot more to earn their place on this list: the further you go up the list, the more likely you are to see something unsavory, or material that you wouldn’t want to be caught reading. Regardless of the reasoning though, all of them have earned their spot on this list as comics you wouldn’t want your mom to see you reading…or be caught reading in public at all.
15. GRIMM FAIRY TALES
If you follow comics long enough, eventually you hear about the Grimm’s Fairy Tales series. An ongoing series that began in 2005, Grimm Fairy Tales is the flagship comic series of independent comic publisher Zenescope Entertainment. For those who have never read the series before, Grimm Fairy Tales is only known for its fanservice-y covers featuring buxom and/or scantily-clad women, often in very immediate danger from one monster or another.
For those who have read the series though…the series is indeed mostly that. But digging a little further, Grimm Fairy Tales is impressively deep, boasting over a decade of continuity that involves a war between good and evil that spans both our own and several fairy tale worlds. Barely deserving to be on this list in the first place, the worst thing about Grimm Fairy Tales is the absurd proportions of all the women in it.
14. THE FILTH
Something of a spiritual successor to his groundbreaking Vertigo series The Invisibles, writer Grant Morrison teamed up with artist Chris Weston back in 2003 to deliver The Filth. The Filth follows Greg Feely, a middle-aged bachelor living alone in London, who has an obsession with mature material and really only cares about his cat Tony. But Feely’s life is turned upside-down when he’s suddenly introduced into an organization called “The Hand” and brought in to help them with their continuing mission to maintain “Status: Q”.
The Filth is easily one of the more depressing works Morrison’s created. Though there’s not much in the way of lewd activities compared to many of the comics here, with the main character being addicted to lewd material it’s always hovering around the edges of the series, and characters wallow in dark views on life and pessimistic attitudes, usually just before meeting bleak ends.
Hailing from the heyday of Top Cow Publishing, Witchblade was created in 1995 by David Wohl, Brian Haberlin, Michael Turner and Marc Silvestri. Originally a part of the NYPD’s homicide division, Detective Sara Pezzini lived a normal life until a case went sour. Severely wounded, an artifact known as the Witchblade bonded with her, healing her and granting her superpowers.
As a comic, Witchblade is your fairly standard urban fantasy/superhero stuff. It pushes the boundaries a little further than your average Marvel or DC comic, but that’s about it. Witchblade’s placement on the list is actually because of her creators’ penchant for cheesecake. Sara’s adventures frequently leave her near naked or in the buff, with the Witchblade generating improbably steamy armors for her to wear until she can find clothes again.
The ultimate teasing superhero, Empowered is what happens when an artist is forced to draw one too many damsel in distress commissions. Created by Adam Warren in 2007, Empowered is an inspired take-down of the numerous, dubious mature tropes that have infested the superhero genre over time.
Empowered is about a lady superhero named Elissa Megan Powers, who discovers a “hypermembrane” suit that grants her amazing superpowers, but only if the suit remains intact. Unfortunately, as a “hypermembrane”, the suit is amazingly thin and barely fits over Elissa’s curvy figure, and is frequently damaged at the most inopportune times, leaving easily defeated by even some of the most incompetent villains. Filled with intentional gratuitous cheesecake and the occasional soft lovemaking scene, Empowered is the first comic on the list that could be embarrassing to read in public even if people could look past the covers.
11. ZOMBIE TRAMP
One of the most…literally titled comic books that’s on this list, Zombie Tramp is an ongoing series by creator Dan Mendoza and artist Marco Maccagni. Currently published by Action Lab Comics, Zombie Tramp is (loosely) about Janey Belle, a high-class escort who gets betrayed by her cross-dressing madame George Sumero to a crooked cop, which leads to her being killed by the cop’s zombified son. After reviving as a zombie herself, she teams up with the help of a voodoo priestess to get revenge on those responsible for taking her life.
Zombie Tramp’s spot on this list is legitimate. In addition to most of the women in this comic rarely ever wearing more than bra and panties, Zombie Tramp is filled with as much gratuitous violence and gore as one could want, with Janey frequently ripping off limbs and eating faces while wearing as little as possible.
With this list mostly containing risqué titles with cheesecake art you’d be ashamed to let your relatives know you’ve read, Miracleman’s spot on the list might be a puzzling. But this isn’t exactly a comic you’d hand to your mother, either. Like nearly everything Alan Moore ever touched, the second he took over this character in 1982 he created something groundbreaking, taking a rip-off Captain Marvel and making him into a story about the havoc near omnipotent power could wreak upon humanity.
What specifically has this seminal superhero story on the list is Kid Miracleman. Sidekick to the original, Johnny Bates is imbued with the same power as his partner, but becomes corrupted. The final fight between Miracleman and Kid Miracleman is one of the most destructive in comics’ history, containing more frighteningly detailed carnage and death in a single fight than most comics do in an entire series.
Easily one of the oldest characters to make their way on to this list, Vampirella was created by a handful of legendary creators including Forrest Ackerman, Trina Robbins, Tom Sutton and Frank Frazetta for Warren Publishing in 1969’s Vampirella #1.
As comics go, Vampirella’s quite tame — she only manages to outrank Witchblade because of her horror-based roots. The real reason she makes this list is her infamous outfit, a one-piece that leaves her surprisingly close to bare given the era she was created. While she’s had several tasteful redesigns over the years, she invariably drifts back to this classic costume. And since that costume is featured quite prominently on all the covers of her comics and leaves any long-time fan waiting until they’re at home before they even dare to read her latest tale. You know you’ve gotten risqué when even the manga-inspired version of your character shows less skin.
A third of this list could have easily been Garth Ennis comics, but for the sake of diversity we’ll stick to his most noteworthy work. First appearing in 1995, Preacher is the story of Jesse Custer, a preacher who becomes possessed by Genesis, a being that’s the child of an angel and a demon. Gaining the power of The Word, the ability to force any who understand him to obey his commands, Jesse decides to travel America in search of God along with his girlfriend Tulip O’Hare, and the Irish vampire Cassidy.
Featuring incest, heretical takes on God and Christianity, gratuitous amounts of violence, and more profanity than a George Carlin special, Preacher is the comic you give your overly religious family members when you decide you never want to speak to them again.
7. SEX CRIMINALS
Proving the old adage that there’s no such thing as a stupid idea, Sex Criminals is way better than it has any right to be. Created by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky, the story is about Suzie and Jon, a pair of people with the ability to stop time when they climax. While they get to know each other, Jon comes up with the idea to rob banks in order to save the library Suzie works at. Because the first thing you do when you realize you can stop time is start stealing stuff.
Regardless of the ridiculous premise, Sex Criminals is really a vehicle for exploring sexuality, self-love, and the feeling of a new relationship. But explaining all that isn’t going to make you look any better to people when they see the name, the intimate scenes or the glowing “special” areas.
Bill Willingham’s magnum opus Fables wasn’t the first time he dabbled about with the worlds of fantasy and legend. Back in the 1990s, the writer-artist briefly created a work named Ironwood. Ironwood was about Dave Dragavon, a young dragon trapped in human form that gets hired by a woman named Pandora Breedlswight to help her find a wizard who can take a curse off of her.
Published by the now defunct “Eros Comix”, Ironwood was essentially “Dungeons and Dragons for adults”. Though it tried to maintain a plot, Ironwood’s nature as a mature comic often left Willingham to find a way to stuff intimate scenes into each issue so story could fall by the wayside. With so many graphic depictions of…”adult coupling”, it’s probably a good idea to hide this comic not just from your mom, but from any but the most liberal of prying eyes.
Created by Joe Casey and Piotr Kowalski, the series shows the life of Simon Cooke, a superhero who retired after a promise to his partner on her death bed. A fairly classic deconstructionist take on superheroes, Sex is what happens if you were to make Batman quit his job and try to find a social life that doesn’t involve punching people in the face every night. While Simon tries to run his multi-million dollar corporation, the series also shows what the seedy underbelly of his city looks like with no hero there to keep it in check.
Whether it’s the title, the incredibly provocative artwork on the covers, or the fact that every issue features some form of adult act, everything about this book makes one feel like a deviant when reading it in public.
4. LOST GIRLS
Lost Girls is for mature audiences only, pure and simple. That’s not an assumption, that’s what the writer intended for the comic from the very beginning, hoping he could raise the quality of sex as a genre in literature. Written by Alan Moore and illustrated by his wife Melinda Gebbie, Lost Girls takes three characters from fantasy novels — Alice, Dorothy, and Wendy — meeting at a resort hotel in Austria just before World War I. Together, the three of them recount intimate experiences from their past…and sleep with half the residents and staff of the hotel.
Though ultimately it wound up being somewhat overblown, Lost Girls is likely most well-known for the controversy stirred up by it featuring intimate scenes of the women in their teenaged years, with several retailers at the time of its release refusing to even sell it.
3. MENAGE A 3
Something of a spiritual successor to Three’s Company, Ménage à 3 takes advantage of its status as a webcomic to be a comedy series that can delve into relationships and as much mature content as it wants. Created by Gisele Lagace and David Lumsdon in 2008, Ménage à 3 is a series of shorts about Gary Thompson, a young man who suddenly winds up with two lady roommates after his two male ones moved out to get serious about their relationship together.
Oh, and one of them wants to help him lose his virginity by introducing him to as many women as possible…if she doesn’t sleep with them herself first. Ménage à 3’s popularity has allowed it to create its own universe, with a pair of spin-offs that continue all the adult-themed hijinx.
Originally a webcomic on DeviantArt, Sunstone is the creation of husband-wife team Stjepan and Linda Luksic Sejic. Sunstone is about a pair of women –Lisa and Ally — who meet each other online over a shared love of the sadomasochism.
Sunstone is probably a near perfect combination of sexuality and story. What initially begins as a “simple” relationship where two people are finally able to satisfy their mutual desires gradually changes as they realize their love for one another, and try to strike a balance between being lovers and keeping their relationship as a mistress and her submissive. The series knows how to walk the line between titillation and relationship drama, and is one of the most well-written, sex-positive series to come out of the last decade.
1. THE ROCK COCKS
Another husband-wife project, The Rock Cocks is a webcomic by Brad and Leslie Brown that started back in 2014. The comic is about Steg and Suria, a down-on-their-luck couple decides to give up on normalcy together and pursue their dream of becoming a punk rock band.
Taking the first part of the “sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll” mantra seriously, this comic dispenses with needless innuendo or hints of adult relations and just jumps straight into it with detailed scenes of intimate encounters in every issue. It’s literally mature material with a plot and characters that you want to root for. The Rock Cocks makes it way to the top of the list because it is the ultimate comic you don’t want your mom (or anyone) to catch you reading, and yet also one of the best on this list despite that.
Did we miss a comic you wouldn’t want to be caught reading? Tell us in the comments!
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