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The 5 Darkest Graphic Novels Ever

Updated on March 28, 2012

Who Said Comic Books Were For Kids?

Who said that comic books were for kids? While there are plenty of lighthearted, childrens comic books out there, there are also plenty of graphic novels oreintated towards older generations. Some of these can be funny, some can be romantic, but here I've compiled a list of some of the darkest, grittiest and more thought provoking graphic novels.


Written by Alan Moore, "Watchmen" is set in an alternative world, where reality deviates from our history around the 1920s, when a few people start wearing costumes and become vigilantes, in order to combat rising crime levels. After numerous generations, these costumed crime fighters have been banned, and these "heroes" try to live normal lives.

The story starts with the murder of a shady character called "The Comedian", which soon raises suspicions of a plot to take out past costumed heroes. The beauty of this story is that the majority of the heroes have no superpowers, and they do not all have the unshakable morals of "Batman" or "Superman". This graphic novel questions everything, from authority, to ignorance as well as being a damn good story.

Sin City

Frank Miller's "Sin City" is a graphic novel series that follows a number of different characters stories, that often intertwine with each other, all based within a west American setting, called Basin City. These stories are very dark and gritty, and manage to really bring out that black and white, noir style. Often climaxing in unmerciful endings, these tales contain enough substance abuse, prostitutes, violence and sin to disgust you as well as keep you wanting more.

The Dark Night Returns

Another Frank Miller classic, this is a different Batman. Set in a decaying Gotham city, Bruce Wayne no longer fights crime after the demise of Robin, and now the metropolis is running riot with gangsters. But when Batman's old arch enemies start to make reappearance, he realises that he must return to the spotlight as well.

"The Dark Night Returns" is another brilliant story, with an unusual realism for a superhero story, similar to "Watchmen". This graphic novel is for Batman fans and thriller lovers alike.

V for Vendetta

"V for Vendetta", by Alan Moore, is set in an isolated London, that is being run by a fascist leader, who keeps a strong grip on the English population, in a world that has been destroyed by a nuclear war. The hero in this story is "V", an anarchist terrorist, who's only aims are revenge, and to unite the people and smash the governing state. This story explores freedom, fear and also serves as a warning, as well as controversially starring a terrorist as the protagonist.


"Persepolis" is the autobiographical graphic novelisation of Marjane Satrapi. While this may not be a very "Dark" graphic novel, it is particularly chilling as it is a true story. It follows the life of Satrapi from a young age, as she grows up in Iran during times of revolution and war, up until she is a young woman.

It is beautifully illustrated, in a way that may be considered unusual for a graphic novel, but none the less works extremely well. When she is younger, the frames show much more vibrant and wild images that go hand and hand with her young imagination, but then becomes less vibrant and playful, and much more serious as she gets older. This is a novel not to miss out on.


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    • Lessthansteve profile image

      Lessthansteve 5 years ago from Ireland

      That would be Watchmen.

    • profile image

      FunkyWinkerbean 5 years ago

      What book are the above panels from?