What does it take to be a god? Is it asking your biggest fan to kill his oldest son just to see if he would be down for it? Transmogrifying oneself into an aquatic bird to trick your crush into getting some swan love? Letting a prostitute wash your feet? At the risk of sounding iconoclastic, the gods of our world can get pretty freaky, and comic book deities are no different. We scoured comics to produce this perturbed pantheon, whose madness-inducing physical forms, overpowered power-sets and peculiar paramour proclivities are “interesting,” to say the least.
Like many deities, this listicle has an arcane and often contradictory set of rules that deems one worthy of freaky-deeky godhood. Does your deity enjoy doing the horizontal monster-mash with gigantic spiders and other attractive eldritch abominations? Would He/She/It be a shoe-in for a Lovecraftian tale, with or without all of the abject racism? Does your deity utilize their great and terrible reality-bending powers just to settle their petty scores? Then yeah, they totes qualify. So, whether your gods have forsaken you during final exams, or you’ve reached cosmic apotheosis by eating the wrong kind of brownie, may our perturbed pantheon guide your wobbling spirit into some sweet sanity-bending sacrilege.
15. GOD (GODZILLA IN HELL)
In the aftermath of a Kaiju-fight that destroys the planet, Godzilla awakes in Paradise in 2016’s Godzilla in Hell. As if the title didn’t tip you off, Godzilla’s heavenly tenure is temporary, as God – a flapping, thousand-eyed nightmare mountain flocked by a choir of Mothra-winged angels – repeatedly screeches at Godzilla to “Submit to peace!” Godzilla’s reaction is to effortlessly smoosh an angel, causing God to cast Godzilla into damnation.
After buffing Godzilla to defeat his proverbial frozen Satan, SpaceGodzilla (one word, two capital letters), God asks the walking reptilian allegory for nuclear war to join Heaven’s army. Godzilla delivers a thousand-eyes-full of holy atomic breath in retaliation, ostensibly killing God. The demons and angels praise Godzilla as their new savior, but Godzilla walks away without even a “Skreeonk.” Ultimately, The King of the Monsters trumps The King of Kings.
14. THE WICKED + THE DIVINE
Almost every member of The Pantheon from The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie is sacrilegiously sexual, but which god is the freakiest? Is it Amaterasu, whose concerts are literally pure climax? Maybe Sakhmet, the Rihanna-cat-lady whom Lucifer warns not to make eye-contact with, “unless you have no further uses planned for your pelvis?” What about Woden, the Daft Punk God with his all-Asian army of Valkryies? Perhaps Inanna, the Prince-inspired god whose congregations are a writhing mass of flesh and banging?
We’re gonna go with Woden. While most Gods indulge in carnal pleasures themselves, Woden prefers “to watch,” crafting perverted scenes too gross for us to describe in detail, as well as voyeuristic jewelry to peep on the Pantheon. Incidentally, Woden’s Valkyries are all Asian not only for aesthetic purposes, but also to form an inexplicably buxom lady-Megazord.
Sitting in Metron’s Moebius Chair, Batman gains omniscience in The Darkseid War Batman by Peter J. Tomasi and Fernando Pasarin. You may think that someone with the moral convictions of Batman would handle New God technology with care, but nope. Batman, or “Bat-God” as fans erroneously dubbed him, uses his cosmic Wikipedia powers to preemptively strike against crime, teleporting a gang to Antartica before dumping a wife-beater in Themyscira.
Bat-God’s greatest feat, however, comes in tormenting an imprisoned Joe Chill: “Imagine the power of a few simple words whispered from cell to cell, in the cafeteria, across the rec yard, in the work rooms, the showers, on the lips of all the inmates I put behind these prison bars. Joe Chill created The Batman.” Bats wipes Chill’s memory of their encounter, yet Joe remains scared for reasons he will never understand.
12. EMPEROR JOKER
Joker tricks the fifth dimensional imp Mr. Mxyzptlk into giving him 99.9% of his reality-warping powers during “Superman: Emperor Joker,” wasting no time in remaking reality. Emperor Mister J’s cubed world straddles the line between zany and morbid, from making all the New Gods say “wazzzup” to playing poker with three dead Robins. Joker also traps Batman in a constant cycle of death and rebirth – like Prometheus but with batarangs – in what honestly should’ve been the primary focus of the series.
Adding to the Joker’s divinity is the fact that there are actually three Jokers, not unlike some sort of unholy clown trinity. Likewise, one Joker is essentially un-killable thanks to the Dionesium coursing through his veins, using his super-insanity to play the part of sorta-savior in Dark Knights Metal.
We would consider Enchantress freakier than her Asgardian homie Loki, who despite his tricky tenure in both genders, never had to bang three Dwarves “from moonrise to sunrise” for a necklace, like in Thor: Reign of Blood by Matt Fraction. The necklace, which is the one thing hotter than the Goddess of Love, vexes Amora to enter the underworld to perform “that most ancient of transactions.”
Amora flaunts her bauble at Odin’s feast, causing the cuckolded All-Father to recognize the dopest accessory from Dwarftown. Odin asks how she obtained the necklace, wherein Amora reveals that she is the Goddess of Savagery: “How do you think?” Calling her a trollop, Odin strips the necklace from Amora. Infuriated, Enchantress casts a spell that raises an army of the dead, which makes one wonder why she didn’t just use her necromancy powers to claim the necklace in the first place.
10. OGDRU JAHAD
The Seven Who Are One, neither male nor female, The Dragons of Revelation, The Ogdru Jahad is a colossal, multi-headed snake/crab thing, trapped in a crystal prison throughout the bulk of the Hellboy series. Much like their puzzling forms, the intentions of the Ogdru Jahad remains uncertain. Some, like Rasputin, believe that Ogdru Jahad transform humanity into frogmen, which may or may not be the next step in humanity. Mystic Russians, extraterrestrials and Iron Maiden Snake Goddesses all agree, however, that the coming of the Ogdru Jahad is directly linked to Earth’s fiery downfall of Raganrok.
Likewise, there is the Ogdru Hem, the 369 children of the Ogdru Jahad, each of whom are Lovecraftian Demi-Gods in their own right. Take the Conqueror Worm, a gigantic nightmare worm summoned by Nazis before Hellboy killed it with a bag of explosives.
9. THE KING OF TEARS
God of The Subtle Realms, The King of Tears is a multi-eyed tentacled horror who primarily interacts with our Universe through his emissary, Johnny Sorrow. Johnny, whose head appears to be a floating mask, is so cosmically ugly that viewing his face is enough to cause instant insanity/death – even effecting blind individuals like Dr. Midnight. Sorrow’s death-by-ugly gaze doesn’t work on avatars of death, however, allowing Spectre to swallow The King of Tears, crying him out into a special flask in 2001’s JSA #18.
Oddly enough, Johnny Sorrow isn’t immune to his own ugliness, as witnessing a recording of his own visage causes reality to lag just long enough for Jay Garrick to deliver a hit-and-run sucker-punch with such velocity that it not only banishes Sorrow back to The Subtle Realms, but also throws Jay backwards through time.
On a faraway world there exists a machine called The Arrrgh. Touching it grants one omniscience, while also causing the user to immediately leap to their doom while screaming the machine’s name. Nigh-omnipotent mutant Alfie O’Meagan watches a Borborygm touch the machine in Nth Man The Ultimate Ninja #13, shrieking “M’Gubgub!” before killing himself.
Megalophobes beware, because despite having the powers and stature of Galactus, Alfie is dwarfed by M’Gubgub. We only see M’Gubgub’s humanoid form, which is “a single follicle protruding from a minor pore” of his true self. M’Gubgub is so massive that he must spread himself beyond the known boundaries of space in order to prevent his own gravitational field from engulfing the universe. Alfie elaborates: “If you drew me two inches tall, you’d need a page the size of Canada to show M’Gubgub.” If Galactus is the planet-eater, then M’Gubgub is the galaxy-eater.
7. THE INCREDIBLE HERCULES
Hercules once banged a spider-monster. Now to be fair, it went down during 2011’s Herc #8, wherein Hercules and like, all of Manhattan had been converted into spider-monsters. Likewise, it wasn’t just some spider-monster, but Arachne, The Spider Goddess, who is basically a Spider-Mermaid. So, Herc essentially hooked up with the eldritch abomination equivalent of Beyoncé. Regardless, “mating with an arachnid horror” remains at the top of our hard-pass list, as the X-Men trapped in a nearby web are forced to watch in horror.
Oh, also Speed Demon once got revenge on Hercules by setting him up with a “cape-chaser,” who happened to have chlamydia in The Superior Foes of Spider-Man. Now, we’re not 100% certain that Greek Demigods can actually get STDs, but if the clap burns at least half as bad as Lernaean Hydra venom, Herc surely felt something.
At the start of creation, when God said “Let there be light,” He created shadow as well, specifically The Anti-God known as The Decreator in 1990’s Doom Patrol #32-33 by Grant Morrison and Richard Case. Worshipped by The Cult of The Unwritten Book – which is such a great name that they probably broke their cardinal rule of illiteracy – The Decreator is an unsettling gigantic eye whose unblinking gaze unmakes the unnaturalness that is reality.
As Decreator is summoned, his Grotesqueries serve as his eldritch vanguard, featuring flying disembodied grins, Whispering Jack who whispers indecent recipes to unmarried women, and a man who speaks only in anagrams. Technically, The Decreator is unstoppable. Instead, Decreator was slowed down to such a terrible pace that his ever-creeping erasing gaze is hardly noticeable, erasing one cigarette, lost sock and grain of sand at a time.
5. RED JACK
A fan of Vivaldi remixed with women’s screams and butterfly wings, Red Jack lives in a sprawling mansion with no doors, abducting the comatose Rhea to be his bride in 1989’s Doom Patrol #22 by Grant Morrison. Crazy Jane cuts a stack of books into ribbons, scattering the remains to perform the seance of random phrases needed to enter RJ’s domain. With a floating mask-face, Red Jack reveals his many monikers, including Saucy Jack, Spring-Heeled Jack, Jack The Ripper and God.
The loony lepidopterist claims that for staining “the beauty of perfect nothingness with gross matter,” They demanded that Jack be punished. Who are They? “Oh, don’t try to confuse the issue! I imprisoned myself.” If Jack really is God, whose life-force is pain, then His last words are particularly unsettling: “I have learned a horrible truth of existence…some stories have no meaning.”
4. THE LOST YEAR
The Authority awakens in an alternate Earth, possibly our Earth, without their powers in The Authority: The Lost Year by Grant Morrison, Keith Giffen and Gene Ha. Entering the dreams of his teammate to investigate, The Doctor comes to the horrible conclusion that there is a cosmic parasite present within our dreams, feeding off of our collective subconscious. Even worse, Doc’s inception has interrupted this cosmic jellyfish’s slumber. As the great and terrible jellyfish stirs, humanity begins “circling the sanity drain,” reflected in mass suicides, impromptu Purge nights and screaming at babies.
Trying to kill God, The Authority accidentally wakes the Jellyfish, killing everyone on the planet in the process. The Authority escapes oblivion by slipping in-between universes on The Carrier, which we should mention is technically the corpse of God from The Authority’s universe. Yeah, The Authority killed God once, no big deal.
The (actual) Bat-God, The True Father of The Batman, The Hyper-Adapter Barbatos has hunted Batman ever since Darkseid hit him with the Omega Effect, propelling Batman back into caveman times. Barbatos saw some resemblance in the time-displaced Batman’s symbol, deciding to turn Batman into a vessel for the Dark Multiverse, utilizing the Tribe of Judas to manipulate Batman into performing The Mantling. When treated with five divine metals – Promethium, Electrum, Dionesium, Nth Metal and (ugh) Batmanium – Batman pulls Barbatos and his gang of Dark Multiverse Batmen into our world in Dark Nights Metal.
Though he typically uses bats as familiars – including the bat that inspired Batman to become Batman – Barbatos’ corporeal form is essentially a gigantic wizard Batman. Notably freakier, however, is Barbatos’ henchman, The Batman Who Laughs, a Cenobite-like Batman infected with Joker toxin who utilizes three rabid Robins as his attack-sidekicks.
2. THE EMPTY HAND
The Empty Hand is from our universe, and is the father of The Gentry, a mind-bending species that assimilates the DC Multiverse, threatening to spread into our reality, aka Earth-33. The Hand’s proverbial fingers are the Gentry, who use their reality-altering powers to kill Nix Uotan by crushing him with the actual comic book panels of The Multiversity #1 by Grant Morrison and Ivan Reis.
The Multiversity isn’t so much a comic as it is a gateway into our world. Apparently, just reading about the very concept of the Gentry is sufficient enough to summon them. Nix Uotan makes this mistake by reading about The Gentry in a DC comic, while existing within a DC comic that actually warns you to continue from reading on. Wait, so… does that mean we are all in a comic, right now? Probably, yeah.
Inspired by Japanese mythology and probably the God of War video-games, Amatsu-Mikaboshi, or The Chaos King from Chaos War, seeks to restore reality to before the beginning of existence, destroying reality pantheon-by-pantheon until only Chaos remains. Amatsu kills Zeus – who is strong enough to whoop the Hulk – the Slave God of the Skrulls and The Lord of Dreams.
Pluto releases every dead God from Hades to be led by the literal God of War for round two, only for Amatsu-Mikaboshi to reveal that he hasn’t even reached his final form, re-killing the resurrected non-denominational pantheon. Does a double-dead God go to, like, Under-Hell? Nope, they join Chaos King’s army of “God-Slaves.” Even Eternity, which is the personification of the Marvel Universe itself, refuses to take arms against the literal Anti-God.
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