No matter how many times a superhero saves the day, there’s bound to be a time where they don’t walk away completely unscathed, and sometimes the evidence of their battles stay with them forever. Supervillains are often born out of some horrible event, leaving them disfigured and bitter because of their ordeal. Scars have created some of the most iconic characters that have leapt onto the page. They’ve also marked a turning point in a characters’ life, or been a pivotal moment that drove them in a brand new direction. Sometimes, a simple scar can help the reinvention of a decades old character, turning them from ham-fisted foe to terrifying supervillain.
We’ve compiled a list of comic book heroes and villains who own their horrifying scars with pride, and that truly complete their look. It includes fan favorites, one-time appearances and legendary characters that are nearly as famous as the books they starred in. There’ll be villains you might expect, and some you might not. Some heroes who are made by their scars and some characters that are completely changed by them. Be warned, there are some grim tales of how these wounds were earned. Here’s our list of the 15 most grotesque scars in comics.
15. THE JOKER
The Joker has had a few scars over the years. But during The New 52, he took getting a facelift to a whole new level. Allowing himself to be taken to Arkham Asylum, he gets the Dollmaker to remove his entire face from his skull. He then wears it as a grotesque mask over the exposed muscles. It’s all done to show that The Joker has gone through something of a rebirth.
All of this madness leads to the “Death of the Family” storyline in Scott Snyder’s Batman, in which Joker kidnaps the entire Bat-Family and convinces them that he’s cut off their faces too. It’s just one more example of how twisted The Joker really can be. His reason? He thinks Batman’s allies have made him weak. Maybe he’s just jealous that Batman has more friends than he does.
14. HERR STARR
The iconic white suited villain from the Preacher comics has already appeared in the AMC show played by Pip Torrens, and his scars are part of his signature look. His right eye is blinded with 5 lines dragged across it. Forming a basic star. When Starr was a child, he was viciously picked on by older bullies at school because his father was a British officer.
During their torment of the young Starr, they decided to mark him with his own name in a unique way. Using a broken bottle, the bullies cut into his face and blinded his eye. The traumatic event made his hair fall out, and he’s been rocking the supervillain look ever since. It also instilled in him a nature of brutality that he used across his career. Just don’t stare at Starr’s star.
You didn’t think we’d forget about Harvey Dent did you? The iconic villain used to be an ally with Batman in their crusade to rid Gotham of organized crime. The pair worked with James Gordon to get rid of the controlling gangs, as they had influence everywhere. But during a court case, Sal Maroni hurls sulphuric acid into Dent’s face.
This burns away half of his face, giving him his iconic look and name. We’ve seen several live action versions of Two-Face, from the comedic (Tommy Lee Jones) to the horrifying (Aaron Eckhart). The villain has also appeared in many animated shows and video games, with recent adaptations really playing on the horrific nature of his burns. There’ve been two other successors to the ‘Two-Face’ name, but neither were as intimidating as Harvey Dent.
12. PETER PARKER
Oh the “Clone Saga”. It’s an infamous storyline with fans — some love it and some absolutely hate it. But nonetheless, the Ultimate version of the storyline saw a clone of Peter who was terrifying to look at. During Ultimate Spider-Man #99, it’s revealed that MJ has been kidnapped by a clone of Peter, who is determined to make her love him. Except he has a face only a mother could love.
Half of the muscles in his face are exposed with the skin barely holding together over the top. He’s also presumably blind in one eye, as the entire eye is white over without an iris. He’s clearly mentally disturbed after his creation, and experiments on MJ. Which inadvertently turning her into a monster. Who said romance is dead?
11. VICTOR ZSASZ
A mentally disturbed serial killer, Victor Zsasz immortalizes each of his kills by carving a tally mark onto his skin, and his body is covered in hundreds of tally marks. During “Streets of Gotham” it’s shown that Zsasz sees the world in blood red, and everyone as walking zombies. He believes that by murdering someone, he’s actually saving them from their mundane lives.
It’s a truly disturbing philosophy for a killer to adopt, and he takes a lot of excitement and joy from stabbing and slicing his victims to death. He’s reserved a special place for Batman’s scar — the inside of his eyelid. “Every time I blink I’ll be reminded of what an irritating little man you were”. He’s an underrated Batman villain given how enduring he’s been over the years.
10. NICK FURY
Like most comic characters, there’s been a few versions of Marvel’s Nick Fury. The original iteration of the Howling Commando lost his sight in his eye when a grenade detonated near him and the fragments damaged his face. He has lost 95% of his vision out of that eye, and dons the iconic eye patch.
However, the Ultimate version of Nick Fury actually lost his eye completely during the Gulf War, although the scarring is not as prominent on his face. He was saved by Wolverine after losing his eye, one of the many times their paths have crossed over the years. General Fury was based on Samuel L. Jackson, and the actor would go on to play him in the MCU, creating a now iconic look for the character.
9. JONAH HEX
DC’s cowboy hero has a long history in comics and has occasionally been pulled in to the present day to fight alongside other costumed heroes. After he has to pull a hidden knife during a fight to the death, the tribe leader overseeing the fight punished him. He heated up a tomahawk, and pressed it against the bounty hunters’ face.
The scarred portion over his lips actually comes a difficult healing process. The tomahawk brand is known as the ‘Mark of the Demon’, his burnt face signifies him as more than your average cowboy. Whilst he does fight for what’s right, he has more traits of an anti-hero than a typical superhero. The scarred cowboy has been played by both Josh Brolin in his own film, as well as Johnathon Schaech during Legends of Tomorrow.
In The Walking Dead, Dwight is a member of Negan’s group, ‘The Saviors’. He and his wife Sherry joined the group because it gave them a better chance of survival with the state of the world being as it is. Sherry had to join Negan’s harem of women to keep the pair in good favor with the vicious leader. But when Dwight and Sherry had sex without Negan giving permission, Dwight had to be punished for not following the rules.
So Negan took a hot iron and pressed it firmly against his face, severely burning him. It took an understandable toll on his relationship with Sherry before eventually realizing he needed to leave the group. The Walking Dead isn’t known for letting characters stay happy for too long after all.
Billy Russo was introduced during The Amazing Spider-Man #162, but he’s more famous for being a villain for The Punisher. Jigsaw was initially a hitman called ‘The Beaut’. That is until Frank Castle threw the hitman through a pane of glass. The broken glass cut his face to ribbons and took away the good looks he’d been famously known for.
When the wounds had been stitched together, the pieces of Russo’s face were left in a jigsaw-like pattern. Since he’d been known for his good looks before, he decides to be infamous for his bad ones too. Taking on the Jigsaw name, he took to the streets to take revenge on Frank Castle. The grotesque villain has appeared in Punisher: War Zone, and looked pretty horrifying in that too.
6. ULTIMATE RED SKULL
Are you sure you’re ready for the Ultimate Red Skull? His origin is a little shocking. During Ultimate Avengers, we learn that Steve Rogers actually had a son before he was lost and frozen in World War II. The son was born with similar powers to Cap thanks to the serum that was in Steve’s genes.
He was raised on an American army base, and once he realized his strength was at a peak level, he killed every single soldier on the base. And to get rid of any association with his heroic heritage, he cuts off his entire face. It’s a disturbing twist on the character, but it’s also very clever. Once his origin is revealed it flows perfectly with the Ultimate Universe and the alternate takes on different characters.
5. CARL GRIMES
The son of Sherriff Rick Grimes became a hardened survivor during The Walking Dead. But he has to go through the ordeal of being shot in the face first. When zombies manage to get inside their community, some of the survivors try to escape by covering themselves in zombie guts. Douglas Monroe is surrounded by zombies and starts randomly shooting, and accidentally hits Carl in the face.
It takes out a chunk of flesh as well as his eye. Luckily Carl managed to survive, although he lost his memory when he first woke up. He eventually returns to normal, but with a colder attitude to his surroundings. And whilst he occasionally has moments of weakness, he does prove to be efficient at dealing with the horrors of the new world.
Eugene Root. Better known by fans of Preacher as Arseface. Why is he known as Arseface? After unsuccessfully trying to kill himself by putting a shotgun under his chin, the remains of his lower jaw and mouth look like an arse according to Cassidy. But what drove Eugene to put the shotgun under his chin?
Well, he found out that Kurt Cobain committed suicide, and decided to make a suicide pact with his friend, Pube. Fortunately for Pube, he manages to kill himself. Eugene isn’t so lucky, but after his traumatic ordeal — he begins to see his life in a whole new light. Especially after a singing career and finding the love of his life, Arseface sees the positives in things. And with a name like that, you’d have to really.
3. THE NINTH CIRCLE
They’re a fairly new set of villains in DC’s list, but they’ve certainly made their mark quickly. During “Green Arrow: Rebirth”, it’s revealed that Queen Industries is being run by an international bank known as The Ninth Circle. They allow villains to keep their money safe and secure in an offshore facility. But their recruitment process is a killer.
They believe in a cleansing by fire for any that joins their ranks. They do this by submerging each person into a giant vat of lava. This burns the person’s entire body, leaving their appearance horrifically burnt and terrifying. They’re incredibly intimidating, and really stand out with their skulls and muscles exposed all the time. Luckily, Oliver Queen has been taking the fight to them and really hitting them where it hurts: their wallets.
Bruce Wayne. Billionaire. Playboy. Crimefighting enthusiast. He’s been leaping from rooftops since 1939 and has had thousands of adventures. He’s also been in an endless lists of fights, scrapes and near-deaths that have left his body a mess of scars. In a painting by Alex Ross, we see the true effect of crime fighting on a normal human.
His back is filled with lines and disfigured portions from where his adversaries have managed to wound the Bat. But for a crimefighter that’s been going for years and years, it’s not surprising that he’s taken the occasional hit. Let’s not forget that time that Bane snapped his back, that will have left its’ own unique mark for sure. Batman has taken some punches, but don’t forget — he is only human after all.
Wade Winston Wilson. Also known as Deadpool. Since his entire body is one giant scar after his origin story, he’s nabbed the top spot on the list. He is brutal experimented on at the hands of Doctor Killebrew and Ajax during the Weapon X program, and the cancer inside him spread across the entirety of his body. In his own words, he looks like “Ryan Reynolds crossed with a Sharpei”.
The spread of the mutant gene in his cells gave him a regenerative healing factor, but the scars across his body are considerably horrific. Wade is considerably self-conscious about his appearance, although he does manage to constantly make jokes about being ugly — whilst also joking about being beautiful. At least he can see the bright side of it!
Did we miss any other horribly disfigured characters? Let us know in the comments section!
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