|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
- In 1994, the Disney Adventures Magazine ran a 5 part comic series titled The Legend of the Chaos God, where each chapter featured the characters of a different Disney Afternoon cartoon series (Tale Spin, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, Goof Troop, DuckTales, and finally Darkwing Duck), where they try to prevent an ancient sorcerer from escaping his crystal prison. Initially, the sorcerer is imprisoned in a ruby, fully conscious, while his magic powers are imprisoned within a gold setting where the ruby fits. The two are kept separate by being encased in a block of jade, but are taken out for examination. Eventually, through body possession, the sorcerer escapes, but is shortly put back in the Ruby. This time, he's buried at the bottom of Scrooge McDuck's Money Bin, "never to be opened, cataloged, only to be lost and forgotten, hopefully forever."
- The Hideshi Hino graphic novel Panorama of Hell featured the Narrator's older brother, a "fight freak" gangster who becomes comatose and later becomes a mewling, "moving bag of flesh". The book ends with the Narrator killing his family to save them from hell. They all turn out to be dolls and puppets -- except for the brother, who is the corpse of a pig.
- Carnage, a rogue of Spider-Man, was turned by the Silver Surfer into a statue that still lives and thinks, but cannot move, in order to arrest the rapid encroachment of stomach cancer into his body without the symbiote.
- In The Uncanny X-Men, Doctor Doom once turned Storm into an organic chrome statue. She could not move but could still think. This turned into a case of Unstoppable Rage because she is severely claustrophobic, and being unable to move made her completely insane. And her mutant powers were still working, so the claustrophobia manifested as a deadly storm over Latveria. Which expanded until it was a hurricane covering roughly half the planet. (By that point, even after Storm was freed, it was too large for her to control.)
- Joss Whedon concluded his run on Astonishing X-Men by permanently fusing Kitty Pryde with a gigantic bullet made of alien metal, after she phased it through the Earth in a Heroic Sacrifice. The first issue of S.W.O.R.D. reveals that, over a year later, she's still alive and conscious, and getting further and further from home at apparently superluminal speeds. Although eventually she did get back to Earth thanks to the actions of Magneto. She still can't scream.
- Done in Boom! Studios' Fall of Cthulhu. Nyarlathotep's servant Connor is selected to be "the vessel of Gith," which involves removing his brain and eyes from his body. Due to Nyarlathotep's magic, Connor can survive this procedure, and as payment for his services, he will be placed in a jar with a cloth over it, so he remains in a coma-like state during his out-of-body experience. Connor, unfortunately, has a moment of doubt and tries to duck out, which Nyarlathotep does not approve of. As punishment for his lack of faith, he removes the cloth, and places Connor in front of a mirror, so he is forced to stare at his disembodied brain for years. As Nyarlathotep so evilly wonders aloud: "I wonder if you will have any semblance of sanity when you return."
- In the same series, a character is invited by the Harlot to live forever in a tiny wicker box. At the end of the story arc, after he has gone mad, he accepts her offer, and the panel shows untold thousands of people living in an expanse of tiny wicker boxes that stretch to the horizon.
- In the last issue of Young Justice, Slobo was transported to the 853rd century by Darkseid's Omega Beams, and turned to stone in the process, so he showed up in the "Young Justice Hall of Statues". The Future versions of Robin, Superboy and Impulse noticed the statue was new, and Robin said they would check it out after their mission. Slobo showed awareness when he thought "Oh frag," to himself. Luckily, Future Robin keep his promise and checked out the statue, used future tech to analyze it, saw that it was actually Slobo, and reversed his condition.
- The Flash exacted revenge on teenage supervillain Inertia (the killer and clone of the previous Flash) by essentially turning him into a living statue, putting him on display in the Flash Museum, facing a statue of the Flash he killed. Inertia is still perfectly conscious and aware, and is unable to even close his eyes. Eventually, he recovered, although it's made him rather Ax Crazy. Wally also did this to Zoom, albeit unintentionally; he thought Zoom was just in suspended animation, not fully conscious and constantly reliving the worst moment of his life.
He won't have a gun. Trust me, Ashley... He won't have a gun. Trust me, Ashley... He won't have a gun. Trust me, Ashley... He won't have...
- Idle Minds is a strip by Ian Samson, about a girl who volunteers to become a statue so that she can spy on the Big Bad dictator Draco. But while she's standing there motionless the helplessness and boredom begin to prey upon her mind. Can she remain sane? ...And the question is answered: no. She goes completely apeshit crazy. And then... she is restored to sanity by an imaginary friend she created to try to relieve her boredom. Didn't see that one coming.
- A stand-alone comic in the magazine Fantomen featured a young man who somehow finds out exactly when he will die. As it's far into the future (he'd be about a hundred years old), he starts partaking in high risk sports and generally taking extreme risks. He ends up in a hospital bed, his entire body broken beyond healing... all too aware that he'll stay that way for decades, with nothing to do but count the seconds.
- This happened to Thanos in one of the classic Marvel Universe storylines.
- The Alpha Flight villain Master of the World was a caveman dissected cell by cell by an alien Living Ship, and his mind trapped in the ship's computer for forty thousand years, conscious the whole time, before he got control of the ship and had a new body grown.
- The short story "The Forever Box" in the fourth Flight anthology was about a girl who voluntarily did this to herself. After losing her family and everything she cared about, she locked herself in the eponymous magic safe where time completely stops for those inside. Unfortunately, she's buried under a landslide. Fortunately, she's rescued sometime in the distant future and finds love. Unfortunately again, the final illustration reveals that she's just dreaming, and that possibly millions of years have gone by and the box is now several feet beneath the ruins of the former city.
- The Sandman's sister Delirium condemns one man to forever feel the sensation of insects crawling all over his skin. He's seen later strapped to a bed in an asylum, not daring to scream because he does not want the spiders he can feel crawling on his lips to fall in. What makes all of this worse is this isn't some sociopathic baddy that the series generally has in spades; it's just a random traffic cop who was unfortunate enough to be the one to pull Delirium over.
- In Ultimate Marvel, this is eventually revealed to be Thanos' Evil Plan, on a galactic scale: he wants to make death something only he is allowed to experience, leaving the rest of the universe in an And I Must Scream state.
- In the Elseworlds storyline, Batman: Vampire, Batman fights Dracula and is turned into a vampire to be able to fight him on equal terms. However, eventually Gordon and Alfred are forced to stake him, as he begins to become more and more monstrous. Because they failed to chop his head off, the staking only paralyzes him... Batman remains conscious and aware even while his body decomposes. Needless to say, he's not happy when they unstake him.
- In another recent Batman story arc, The Joker does this to Dr. Hurt, who is immortal and has already pissed the Joker off on more than one occasion. Not only does Hurt accidentally slip on a banana peel and break his neck, Joker then injects him with Joker Venom and buries him alive. It gets even more disturbing when you remember precisely what Joker Venom does to its victims besides outright killing them. And since Hurt cannot die and the toxin presumably never wears off, he's stuck Buried Alive while slowly going insane from the effects of Joker Venom, forced to laugh at himself for all eternity despite the pain he's in.
- At one point in continuity, all Marvel Universe Skrulls lose their shapeshifting ability... and are stuck in whatever form they have at that moment, even those squeezed inside really tiny cracks and crevices... One sleeper agent was in the shape of a lamp when the weapon was activated.
- New character Greymalkin from Young X-Men has this as his origin story. He was buried alive by his abusive father roughly 200 years ago. The trauma caused his mutant powers to appear, and it just so happens said powers are superstrength and invincibility except in total darkness. The poor guy was buried alive, immobile, for 200 years until he was freed. Beast comments that it's amazing he kept his sanity.
- Completely averted in IDW's Transformers Spotlight: Arcee. The inmates of the prison of Garrus-9 have their sparks removed, leading to awareness without sensation. Arcee finds this state relaxing and soothing.
- Justice League of America: After a Time Travel mission gone awry, Plastic Man is left shattered into pieces and scattered across the ocean floor 3,000 years in the past. While the rest of the JLA get a direct route back to the present via magic, Plas has to take The Slow Path. When his teammates finally retrieve him and put him back together, he reveals that not only was he conscious the whole time, but that the only sensation he felt was a constant itching.
- Plastic Man was once forced into a pressurizing machine that held him in place and prevented any shapeshifting - or escape.
- Behold the tale and sad fate of Captain Granbretan, involuntary superhero.
- After meeting Gert's time traveling parents in the distant past and revealing to them what happens to them and their daughter, Nico casts a spell on them that renders them unable to speak about or act upon the knowledge they learned from the kids and then sends them back to the time they left from. She even highlights it with the quote:
"On the outside they will be their normal selves but on the inside they will never stop screaming."
- Later, Molly is attacked by a super villain who is getting revenge for something her parents did to him. It apparently was some sort of attack with their psychic powers, which left him completely paralyzed (unable to even blink) and lasted until they died. In other words, he spent seventeen years in a hospital, unable to move, and at the complete mercy of the hospital staff.
- In Jack Kirby's Fourth World, aka the entire mythos surrounding Darkseid and the New Gods, anyone who attempts to penetrate the great wall that separates the universe from the Source aka God is imprisoned on that wall as a hundred foot tall 'Promethean Giant'.
- The final fate of Carrick Masterson in No Hero. He was dropped into space, where he freezes and was left there. Because he is immortal, he will float forever, and possibly feel never ending cold and suffer from starvation and suffocation.
- Magus from the Infinity Gauntlet and Adam Warlock / Thanos fame / infamy ended as this. Due to reality altering energies being unleashed as he held the incomplete Infinity Gauntlet, he ended up as an intangible, invisible, inaudible apparation. He can see others but not interact with them. Scream, but never be heard. ...Until Genis-Vell with his cosmic senses comes along, and a Timey-Wimey Ball gets involved.
- DC Universe. One of the many and varied punishments of that comic book's Hell is being turned into building materials. Every chance you just might be the fifth brick from the left staring down the line of demon urinals for the next billion and a half years.
- Sonic the Hedgehog. In addition to robotization, this is the fate of Dimitri, when Lien-Da usurps his position as Grand Master. She disables his ability to move, leaving only his robotic head, then sticks him in a box, gleefully telling him his battery will run down in a few months. He does eventually get rescued.
- This happened to The Juggernaut at the end of Amazing Spiderman # 230, when Spider-Man buried him in tons of concrete.
- In Superman comics of the Silver Age, the original version of the Phantom Zone fell into this trope. Phantom Zone prisoners couldn't even touch each other; they were condemned just to watch the material world until their sentences expired.
- The Deacon is paralyzed in the last issue of Ghost Riders: Heaven's On Fire. Total paralysis. He'll never move again. And he's going to spend his days in prison with the All-New Orb. Surely, this is a fate worse than death. This was actually intended as the ultimate punishment - rather than killing him and having him join his master Zadkiel, having him suffer through a pathetic life.
- In Green Lantern #50, it is revealed that Sinestro could still think while imprisoned as pure energy in the central battery.
Sinestro: Do you know what it was like inside the battery, Jordan? Reduced to less than a thought in that limbo? It's like having a maddening itch you can never scratch... Because there's nothing there. There's no you. That's what it was like, Jordan. And it wasn't... very... PLEASANT!
- In the Blackest Night storyline, this is the fate of all the resurrected heroes who have been claimed by Nekron. They're trapped in their own bodies as the Black ring uses them as a puppet, forcing them to destroy their friends. And all the while, their living form is being slowly eaten away by the death energy, turning them into a Black Lantern for real.
- Nekron's ultimate fate also counts. With his link to the living world sundered and cut off from the Anti Monitor's power, he was once again banished to his limbo dimension as a powerless spirit shrieking in the void.
- DC megavillain Krona tends to end up this way after defeats. Given his godlike powers and utter indestructibility, there's not much else you can do with him.
- In Mutopia X, two of Kaufman's henchmen are walking inside a warehouse belonging to one of Kaufman's deposed drug gang rivals. One of the henchmen is talking about the deposed drug lord. The other henchman says, "What a terrible way to end your life." To which the other henchman replies "Who said anything about him being dead?" He is being suspended on top of the warehouse by chains, and later gets horrific revenge on Kaufman in a method that is left to the reader's imagination.
- Zera, the formerly drop-dead angel from David Hine's Spawn, was so loved by God that she could never die. She is later reduced to a floating head in a jar and then devoured by vicious dogs.
- In the alternate Marvel Universe Ruins, the Gamma Bomb that turned Bruce Banner into The Hulk instead turned him into a huge mass of gigantic tumors and horrific maiming all over the body, which Rick Jones claims is still being kept alive in a CIA facility.
- In a Ghost Rider annual written by Warren Ellis, the Scarecrow (not the Batman villain) creates a haunted house sown together with live human beings. Upon defeating him, Ghost Rider breaks every bone in the Scarecrow's body, then twists every bone in the Scarecrow's body so the bones will not heal properly, thus leaving the Scarecrow as a permanently paralyzed and disjointed mess. He later got better.
- In the Infinity Gauntlet mini-series, Thanos turns his daughter into a floating corpse who is an intermediate between life and death, not being allowed the luxury of death.
- In the Judge Dredd story arc "The Day The Law Died," Judge Cal's method of getting rid of the "worry wrinkles" of his closest aide, Judge Slocum, involved injecting Slocum with a paralyzing agent and, while he's still conscious, molding a permanent wide grin on his face before dropping him in a sealed vat of vinegar for preservation... and the whole time we get to read Slocum's thoughts of sheer horror being beset on him while seeing him with such a stupid, big smile on his face.
- In the comic WITCH. the girls can produce astral drops which replace them when they need to transform and help people. They start to have their own emotions and lives. Then one of them is shown crying, stuck in the heart surrounded by darkness. And this is when they're not being used, which is a lot.
- New Mutants: How do you deal with a sadistic evil blonde that can control people with her voice? Simple. Use dark magic to completely remove her mouth, reducing her to a broken, weeping mess. Do not mess with Doug Ramsey. Seriously.
- DC Comics' Superboy is, surprisingly, responsible for one of these, in his first ongoing. After Amanda Spence killed his first love Tana Moon, Superboy struggled with his desire to kill her on several occasions. The last time they fought, Spence had been technologically and biologically augmented to essentially be completely indestructible, and now no longer even needed to breathe. After Spence killed a clone created with some of Tana's DNA, and told Kon that she planned to have an endless supply to kill just for kicks, Kon flipped out, and launched her out of the ship they were fighting on and into space at about mach eleventy billion. Given how ridiculously vast outer space is, and the sheer unlikelihood of Spence ever being found by anyone or coming into contact with anything, and the fact that she essentially can't die and that her biology might make it so she can't freeze, it means that she's probably still floating around in the cold, vast emptiness of space alone and might do so for all of eternity. place shows Odin that he isn't abandoned. Odin stays, but he knows he's not alone and affirms the eternal struggle as the best possible Norse afterlife.
- This Batman comic scan. A fate worse than home movies.
- The sixties weird-humor comic Plop! had an odd case. A ruthless gangster who never gets any punishments starts to think he can even weasel his way out of death, and hires a team of scientists to develop an immortality elixir. Some years in, they can only come up with a reincarnation elixir, which he takes, but tells them to keep working on the immortality. He eventually dies without them having completed it, and the reincarnation elixir takes effect, putting him into the body of a pig due to his lifetime of evil deeds. However, he still sees this as a triumph; pigs don't live long and it'll be easy to live a good life as one, so he'll be born again as a human in no time. Then he feels the prick of a needle...and sees his own scientists congratulating each other in finally perfecting the immortality elixir.