15 Most Controversial Comic Book Covers of All Time

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Here’s 15 of the most notorious, controversial, and shocking comic book covers of all time. Sure, one or two of them may seem timid by today’s standards, but that’s not to say that they didn’t cause uproar when they were first released. 

Similarly, some of those innocently released decades prior have caused controversy and surprise to those viewing them with modern eyes.

Take a look for yourself and see if these infamous comic book covers really were worth the hype surrounding them.

15. Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane #106

Really, is much explanation needed here? Just look at the cover above.

To give a little background to this issue of the Superman spin-off title, investigative journalist Lois Lane wanted to see what life was like for a black person living in Little Africa, aka the slums of Metropolis. Upon arriving in Little Africa, nobody wants to speak to the woman who quickly gets labelled “Whitey”. Undeterred, Lois decides to use Superman’s Plastimold machine in order to turn herself black for a day. Yes, this really did happen.

Once the black Lois Lane, complete with an afro, turns up in Little Africa, she’s welcomed by the locals and gets to dig deep into the story she’s planning to write. Unfortunately, now she’s ignored by some white folk under her new appearance.

You can see what DC were trying to do here as they attempted to address the racism and racial tension of the time, but the cover art and story were about as subtle as a kick to the face.


14. World’s Finest #14

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

Many a comment has been made over the years of Batman’s relationship with his ward, Dick Grayson/Robin, and things like the cover art to 1941’s World’s Finest #14 don’t help.

Of course, during the ‘40s such a cover didn’t raise an eyebrow, for this was a more innocent time where two fully-grown adults could go swimming with a group of scantily-clad boys without having to worry about how wrong this situation may be viewed. Looking at this through a 2016 lens, though, gives a whole different reaction.

Such a cover these days would have so many people up in arms due to a whole load of sexualization being lavished over the events that appear to be at hand. After all, what we’re looking at is simply two men in superhero outfits, casually ogling a group of young boys who just so happen to have barely, if any, clothes on…

13. X-Statix #15

This one is a comic book cover that left many perplexed, particularly those who call Great Britain home.

In fairness, the whole X-Statix title was a little bit ‘out there’, to say the least. Designed as a parody of sorts of the X-Men, the team were known for featuring a bunch of oddball characters and bizarre imagery. And then came X-Statix #15, which featured a mutant version of Diana, Princess of Wales on its cover.

Yes, the same Diana who tragically passed away in 1997 following a car crash partially caused by a high-speed paparazzi chase.

To many, Diana still remains a figure of hope, sincerity and positivity in the world, and placing her on the front cover of a comic book 6 years after her death was odd, controversial, shocking, and arguably in extremely bad taste. With covers like this, you just really have to question what the powers that be were thinking.

12. Life With Archie #36

With 2014’s Life with Archie #36, the huge decision was made to kill off Archie Andrews.

Whilst he may not be quite as mainstream in popularity as some of Marvel or DC’s biggest hitters, Archie had built up a huge fanbase since first debuting way back in 1941. With issues such as gun laws and the LGBT community being addressed during this particular time in Life with Archie’s run, poor Archie would actually die after he literally took a bullet for his openly gay pal Senator Kevin Keller.

This was a monumental moment to so many, with the death of Archie Andrews being the perfect way to reflect the death of innocence that has long since been lost to a world of hate, bigotry, and anger.

Of course, the younger Archie was still alive and well in other comic book titles, and more recent days have seen him share bizarre crossovers with the likes of Predator, the Glee cast, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

11. The Amazing Spider-Man #422

For anyone even vaguely familiar with Spider-Man’s gallery of villains, you’ll know that Electro is a rogue who can control, manipulate and generate electricity. With The Amazing Spider-Man #422’s cover, though, we saw the brutal realisation of Electro attempting to regain his powers after temporarily losing them.

As such, Max Dillon straps himself to an electric chair and gets shocked to death. Yes, the cover here was essentially depicting capital punishment at its finest as Max risks death via electric chair in order to hopefully get his former powers back.

Of course, this whole scheme would work and Electro would return as a more powerful force than ever before. Still, that didn’t mean that the cover of The Amazing Spider-Man #422 wasn’t a true, err, shocker of its time, with the image of Max Dillon being electrocuted to death an image that stayed with many a reader long after this issue left shelves.

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