Narm/Comic Books

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"Goddammit! Oh well, time to get a new Robin."

Yes, even the seemingly foolproof combination of panels, speech balloons, thought captions, illustrations, and violence is not immune to Narm.

Just ask Jack Chick. So few panels, yet so much Narm.


Ant-man: "If she's the mother... I'm the mother-fucker!"

  • Superman #680 by James Robinson had some pretty weird dialogue, but this line really takes the cake:

[After a mysterious satellite had cut off his powers] "Where is she? My lady, the sun. She makes me strong. She gives me her light and her life and I am forever grateful."

    • James Robinson also wrote some rather... questionable thought captions in a 1994 Tales of Suspense one-shot. Iron Man is questioning why Captain America (comics) even hangs out with him, because Cap is basically perfect and Tony is deeply flawed. His musings begin, "I look at your handsome face...into your clear, azure eyes..."
      • While The Death of Superman does have its good points, there are some bits of dialogue that make it obvious that the script was scribbled down in a rush to replace a year's worth of thrown out material.

"Gee, no wonder dad left and wants a divorce."


Omniscient Narrator: You and the X-Men had saved the world from a nuclear holocaust, but you lost a man to do it... and try as you might, you can't balance those scales in your mind or in your heart... can you Cyclops?

Cyclops: No.

Narrator: Can you?

Cyclops: No!

Narrator: CAN YOU?

Cyclops: NO!!


Get out! No more SHIELD! No more Fury! No more Hydra with the hands. No more. Stop raping me, all of you!! STOP RAPING ME!!!

  • While Johns' run on Green Lantern is excellent overall, the Red Lanterns are hard to take seriously. For Oa's sake, they vomit up blood as a weapon!
    • On a similar note: RAGE CAT Is Crazy Awesome!
    • During the whole mini-arc with the Green Lantern families being attacked by the Sinestro Corps, Kryb, their kidnapping specialist, keeps the Nightmare Fuel pumping. Except there is one thing which, admittedly, only applies to a certain sort of reader. The problem in question? One of the babies being taken away screams, "WAAAGH!!". Cue moment of "Oh God Why Am I Laughing?".
      • Some of the impact of Alan Moore's "Tygers" is blunted by the over-the-top designs of the demons. Even more narmy, though, is found in the famous page that spells out the end of the Green Lantern Corp. There's a panel of all the Guardian's enemies: demons, a giant city, Qwardians... and a random, nearly-bald goth chick with a teddy-bear sized polar bear on a leash. What?
    • This panel is supposed to remark on how Hal is Jumping Off the Slippery Slope (and in fact it used to be the trope picture) and this close to become Parallax. But once you realize that his expression is VERY similar to the infamous Troll face, the drama is immediately killed. Unless you think that Parallax actually was a huge troll, story-wise.
  • Watchmen discusses one in-story, in Under The Hood. The original Nite Owl recalls a coworker experiencing a great personal tragedy while wearing a massive pair of fake breasts and listening to "Ride of the Valkyries". It induces the group to fits of laughter, and then the man kills himself. Hollis later cites it as 'the saddest thing he can think of'.
    • Some of Rorschach's narration, especially in the first chapter, can be a little ridiculously over-the-top, like when, out-of-nowhere, he starts suspecting random people of being gay and/or child pornographers.
      • Deliberate, surely? Rorschach is not the most balanced of characters.
      • Speaking of Rorschach...



      • Rorschach ambushing Moloch by popping out of his fridge was so ridiculous it crossed from hilarious back over into Crazy Awesome. Especially narmy if you think about the time it must have taken for Rorschach to move all the stuff inside the fridge and hide them in Moloch's kitchen and how many things could have gone wrong in the plan.
  • The Walking Dead: The Governor, riding on a tank, wearing a weird outfit and an eyepatch, and only one arm, shouting "KILL THEM ALL!" is very jarring against the general tone of the series.
  • An Author Tract in Phonogram about women Stuffed Into the Fridge in music was delivered by a goddess who used the word "indie" like an ethnic slur. It generally fell into What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome? territory, and peaked with this phrase:





"I'll forever be remembered as - the guy who killed the Thing!"

  • Two moments from Ultimatum:
    • Quoted from Nick Fury when he's rescued from the pocket dimension:

I was wondering when you bungholes were going to show up.

    • Ultimate Universe Nick Fury is modeled after Samuel L. Jackson. Samuel L. Jackson would never say something like that.
    • And between Magneto and Susan Storm:

Susan: Don't bull@&$# me!
Magneto: (exclamation mark appears above his head)

    • The random deaths, all gory, become sort of funny after a while.
      • They just keep showing the "Blob eats The Wasp" panel.
  • Geoff Johns' run on The Flash is excellent... with one minor exception. In the Iron Heights one shot, The Flash dramatically unmasks serial killer Murmur, who until then was Nightmare Fuel incarnate. What followed was a full page of Murmur's face, which revealed two things: he had sewn his own mouth shut (brrr), and he was more wall-eyed than Marty Feldman. For some readers, this combination reduced a "Damn!" reveal to a "Wha?" one.
  • How can we forget Superman: At Earth's End? This is where Linkara got his catchphrase "I AM A MAN!" The Broken Aesop about guns just adds to the narm.
    • Superman's massive Santa Claus beard only adds to the hilarity.
  • Another comic that drove Linkara nuts: Batman: Fortunate Son. The comic states that all forms of rock'n'roll are evil. This comic wasn't published in The Fifties, when that was a common belief, but in 1999. It brings us lines like these:

"Punk is nothing but death...and crime...and the rage of a beast."
"Pigs---From a gun!"

    • The scene in which people are critiquing the musician in this comic. One guy says, "He still plays the strongest guitar I've ever heard." Another guy turns around with a narmful angry expression and yells, "Yeah? SO WHAT?!"
      • Oh, it gets worse than that. The "Pigs from a gun" line was from "I am the Walrus", a song made to confuse people and nothing more...and yet Batman says this line as though there was some kind of deeper symbolic meaning to it. This makes both Batman and the writer look incredibly stupid.
      • He also quips "twist and shout, Mr. Crowe!" while punching the musician. Batman. Ugh.
  • You know you have reached impressive levels of Narm when the people making the comic refuse to include a panel because it keeps making them laugh. In 52, Booster Gold was going to die, but the authors were Genre Savvy and realized that nobody who had experience with comics would believe he was dead. So, they figured out an obvious solution: Show the body. They also had to make sure it was clearly a corpse; otherwise, "he is just in a coma" would be tossed around right away. They had him bisected and falling to the ground in two bloody chunks. Unfortunately, seeing the two pieces drop to the ground was damn funny; the trade paperbacks came with commentary from the creators, along with a few preliminary sketches, and the authors revealed that the separate panels of one part of the body falling, followed by another panel showing the rest of the body falling, could not be taken seriously, and the supposedly horrific and disturbing death of a major character was instead ridiculous. They took out the original panel and re-wrote it, salvaging the scene.
    • Much later in the series, a hand-to-hand sparring session uses a certain sound effect a few times. That sound effect? "Fap". Um...
  • "My ward, Speedy... is a JUNKIE!"
  • Many things operating under the Grandfather Clause can count for uninitiated readers. For instance, the Marvels' transformation phrase. Sure, it's cool and dramatic; and it works for readers familiar with it. But in the end, they're shouting 'Shazam!' at the top of their lungs.
  • The Darker and Edgier Thundercats: Dogs of War features this line:

"This night, we mark our territory...with blood!

  • A Free Comic Book Day featuring Iron Man and The Mighty Thor ends with the villain doling out this apparently unironic gem:

"We are incredibly rich! We have more rights than you!"

  • The zombie!Doctor Light progressively tearing off the current Doctor Light's costume during their battle in Blackest Night. She's supposed to be in danger of getting raped and then eaten. But some genius went to the trouble of putting Fan Service in the scene. This is so funny on the meta level that it kills the mood.
  • In the 1970s The Avengers had a now-obscure villain called Egghead (his head was shaped like an egg) who sat plotting in his lair and exclaimed, "It's not fair! All I ever wanted to do was rule the world! Is that so much to ask?". He then reflects on how he's not getting any younger and doesn't have many years left to take over. It's not a Villainous Breakdown, it's a Villainous Mid-Life Crisis.
    • That one may have been intentional, but only Roger Stern knows for sure...
  • In the 70s and early 80s, Hostess ran ads in comics featuring comic book characters foiling crime with fruit pies and Twinkies. Most often, this took the form of distracting them from crime by throwing snacks at them. Perhaps the height of this is Captain America (comics) versus the Red Skull: "Your cosmic cube refuses to obey you, because it's enjoying the Hostess Twinkies."
  • In The Darkness' #4 Jackie pulls out a hitman's entire skeleton. It goes "POP!"
  • Every scene involving the wigger character in A Nightmare on Elm Street: Paranoid, especially his death scene, where he's strangled to death by bling given to him by Pimp Freddy.
  • The infamous "crying Joker" scene from Brian Azarello's take on the Joker. (The scene is found here.) It could have worked on a weird, Narm Charm level with the "tragic clown" aspect, but the look on Jonny's face puts a crimp in that. Seriously, from the look on his face makes it look like he just heard something along the lines of, "And then dad threw mom off a cliff and broke my jaw when I cried about it" instead of a story about a pet toad.
  • Batman #66. "So! They laugh at my boner, will they?! I'll show them! I'll show them how many boners the Joker can make! This emphasis on boners has given me an idea for a new adventure in crime! Gotham will rue the day they mentioned the word boner!"
  • The Absence, a new Batman villain, was shot in the head but survived due to some seriously weak science. As a result she has a large, perfectly round hole all the way through her head which resembles the effects of a gunshot only on the Itchy and Scratchy Show. Every scene with her and her cartoonish, bizarre injury looks utterly ridiculous.
    • Although, it is worth noting that these issues of Batman and Robin were written by Paul Cornell, whose writing usually maintains a bizarre balance between "serious" and "goofy" (see, for example, his runs on Action Comics and Knight and Squire). The scenes with the Absence are at least more legitimately compelling than they would have been if written by pretty much anyone else, which given the inherent ridiculousness of the character, is saying something.
  • During Superman's funeral in The Death of Superman storyline, there's a panel of everyone gathered around his casket crying... except Batman, whose face... well, just see [dead link] one fan interpretation. The fact that he's the visual center of the panel, drawn taller than everyone near him and is the only person facing that way doesn't help at all since it's next to impossible not to notice him.
  • Speaking of Superman, Superman #713 has our hero tell Superboy and Supergirl that the world doesn't need a Superman, so he's gonna quit being him and wants the other two to follow his lead. That wouldn't be so bad in and of itself. The moment is ruined, though, by the fact that, as he's saying this, he's taking off his costume in front of his cousins. Pants and all!
  • In an attempt to make an excuse for Power Girl's fanservicey costume, one writer had her claim to Superman, in a melodramatic ramble, that it was the result of waiting for whether she should put his S-shield symbol there or something else. (Neverminding that there was nothing stopping her from just filling it with cloth.) If the explanation weren't laughable enough in itself, despite being played for deep, meaningful Character Development, the last part of it has Power Girl, with an exaggerated pout and teary eyes (the artist basically had the characters "overacting"), say "Fill my hole, Superman."
  • Jim Shooter's tenure as writer of The Avengers was good on the whole, but his constant indulgence in Purple Prose resulted in several ventures into narm territory. His habit of introducing villains off-screen while the heroes stared out of the page and cried, "OH, GOD, NO! NOT YOU! ANYONE BUT YOU!" Fine when genuinely dangerous villains like Ultron were involved, but less effective when it was lesser threats (like the Grim Reaper) or silly, forgotten opponents (like Tyrak, who looked like an Atlantean member of The Village People).
  • One early Spider-Man story arc saw him getting captured and chained up by gangsters. When he breaks free, his narration doesn't attribute it to his super-strength, but to a far sillier sounding ability:

Spider-Man: Fortunately, they didn't count on my power of chest expansion!

  • Arguably the end of Flashpoint #2. There's a lot of graphically intensive build up to Barry getting his powers back by recreating the accident that gave them to him in the first place. And then the final page is him looking just like anyone else who got hit by lightning. Batman's WTF expression is priceless.
  • Volume 2 of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen includes an enormously disturbing scene in which Mr. Hyde violently tortures and kills the treacherous Griffin (The Invisible Man). As gruesome as this scene is, when Nemo discovers Griffin's remains, his dialogue may well make it kind of narmy.


    • Earlier, Quatermain and the team encounter a Martian Tripod for the first time, towering over them out of the darkness in the middle of a raging storm. How does Quatermain describe this incredible sight?

Quatermain: It's... it's like a milking-stool...

  • Starfire from Teen Titans has always walked the line of looking ridiculous, since she's an alien princess with really, really long hair that's sometimes drawn in a very 80s style and wears a pretty Stripperiffic costume that walks the boundaries of good taste. Red Hood and the Outlaws then runs off a cliff with it by giving her this, which is only possible if it's taped or glued to her nipples. Her dialog doesn't help at all, nor does the anatomically impossible pose she sports later on.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog seems to assign artists regardless of whether or not their art style is compatible with the general tone of the story, so it's not uncommon to see a dark storyline with light-hearted artwork or vice versa. Probably the most outstanding example comes in an issue where Sally confronts Sonic over whether showing up Robotnik is more important than their relationship - any drama the scene may have had is killed instantly by the fact that the penciler drew Sally's mouth as literally taking up half her face.
  1. out of context, of course