10 Comics Fates Worse Than Death

Most reasonable people would prefer the sweet release of death rather than suffer these fates...

Ghost Rider Penance Stare
Marvel Comics

When a character dies in the comics, it's not usually a permanent problem, which makes death less of an issue for super-people than it is for the regular folks. Typically, when a character bites it, it's a significant event, but there are fates far worse than death, and comics have depicted some doozies.

Depending on the character and the creative team bringing them to life on the comic book page, a fate worse than death can be almost anything. It could be ending up damned without dying, or being tortured and resurrected over and over again.

Because comics are illustrated, it's really up to the artist and writer's imaginations, which means there aren't many limitations when dealing with a character's demise.

People can wind up reliving their most frightening moment, or they could simply be left to die in a universe devoid of life — there really aren't many taboos about the subject, so people have gotten creative over the years.

The fates worse than death listed here are the ones where any reasonable person would prefer to just end it all rather than go through with them. Of the many fates worse than death depicted in the medium, these ten are, by far, the worst.

10. Immortality

Ghost Rider Penance Stare

For most people, the concept of immortality seems like the perfect way to use one of their three wishes, but if you stop and take a moment to think about it, it's one of the worst fates a mortal can suffer. This has been addressed time and time again, in comics and other media.

In most depictions, immortality is a curse, as it means a person is left to watch everyone and everything they care about die and turn to dust. Over time, immortality would surely drive anyone to madness, and this is often the case.

In the Sandman books, it's handled in two interesting ways. Hob Gadling befriends Dream of the Endless, and through a deal with his sister, Death, he is given immortality. Gadling chooses to embrace life, and never seeks death, but he is a rare example of immortality being a gift and not a curse.

The other way this is handled revolved around Dream's son, Orpheus, who attempted to bring his beloved back from the dead via a deal with Hades. When it goes south, Orpheus loses his wife and is damned to spend eternity without her - but that wasn't the end.

A short while later, Orpheus was torn apart by the bacchante, and only his head remained. He didn't die, though, and continued to live as a disembodied head for millennia before his father finally gave him the gift of death.


Jonathan is a graphic artist, illustrator, writer, and game designer. Jonathan retired from the U.S. Army in 2017 and enjoys researching and writing about history, science, theology, and many other subjects. He writes for ScreenRant, CBR, NerdBastards, Listverse, Ranker, WhatCulture, and many other sites online. You can check out his latest on Twitter: @TalkingBull or on his blog: jonathanhkantor.com