Many people out there still think that super heroes and comic books are for children. The colorful characters and whimsical storylines are always true and good and usually they are the perfect role models for children. The heroes always win, the bad guys lose, and the world is saved. All this happens in a clean and family friendly way in which no one really dies and no one swears. However, gone are the days of the clean-cut comic books your parents (or even grandparents) loved, and now we enter the age of the adult graphic novels.
With even the most clean-cut and honorable heroes such as Superman and Batman, who can sometimes find themselves on the more adult and darker side of comic books, there is also the vigilante and the anti-hero. These characters blur the lines between good and bad and all the while they do this with attitude, violence and more bad language than we thought possible. An anti-hero that immediately comes to mind is Deadpool, but there are so many more than just him! With that in mind, here are 15 of the most foul-mouthed comic book heroes to ever grace those colorful pages.
We start our list with a hero and vigilante that is shrouded in darkness and lives his life in the shadows. After a childhood accident blinded the young Matt Murdock, he soon discovered that his other senses were heightened and this set him on the path for a life of crime fighting.
Although Daredevil isn’t as foul mouthed as many other heroes on our list, Matt Murdock isn’t shy about expressing his dislike of criminals and as well as using brute force, Daredevil can use brute language as well. Not just within the pages of the comic books either, Daredevil’s recent inclusion in the MCU with his show on Netflix has seen the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen unable to hold his tongue on several occasions. A cool custom, a high moral code, a lust for violence and an occasion foul mouth makes daredevil one of the most popular characters with adults.
14. Luke Cage
The next entry on our list is another recent addition to the Marvel/Netflix family and another smash hit with the fans. Luke Cage, the ultimate hero for hire and Marvel’s no-nonsense tough guy, is also not afraid to use that aggression and attitude with some choice language.
First being imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, Cage finds himself being volunteered for experiments against his will. The experiments result in Cage having heightened strength and unbreakable skin. On his release, Cage becomes a hero for hire and teams up with fellow superhero Iron Fist. Being involved with some of the biggest superhero teams in the Marvel universe, such as the Avengers and The Defenders, Cage’s attitude is often the reason that he finds himself out on his own. With the success of Marvel’s Netflix shows, Luke Cage and his fellow heroes will soon be coming together with The Defenders, so this foul mouthed hero should be on our screens for some time.
For our next entry we enter the dark and murky world of The Watchmen. In an alternative reality in which superheroes were “outed” and used in the 1940s and 50s, world history changed. The US won the Vietnam war, with the help of these heroes, and therefore Watergate was never exposed. Because of this the world of The Watchmen is very different.
With all the characters, heroes, and antiheroes that inhabit The Watchmen’s world, one of them is Rorschach. Wearing a mask to cover his face and shrouded in shadows, Rorschach is the epitome of the vigilante. He does whatever it takes to uphold what he believes is right and true, including hiding from the government when they try to force heroes and vigilantes to register themselves. Rorschach uses any and all force he sees fit and he has the mouth to match.
12. The Preacher
For those of you out there that are unfamiliar with the brilliant comic book Preacher (though we’re not sure how you could be) may well be surprised to see a Preacher on a list of foul-mouthed comic book heroes. Not only is the Preacher, aka Jesse Custer, a foul-mouthed hero, he’s also a chain smoking, heavy drinking ex-con and his best friend is a blood-sucking vampire.
Recently adapted brilliantly by AMC, Jesse Custer goes back to his home in Texas in order to atone for his sins and save the town through the power of God. While he’s there, Preacher is possessed by the demonic power of Genesis, and with this power, everything he tells people to do, they have to obey. This, in turn, makes Jesse one of the most powerful beings in the world.
11. Jessica Jones
Our next entry is the only woman to grace our list and one of the, if not the most, stand out stars of Marvel’s invasion on Netflix. Having acquired superpowers after a near fatal car crash, the young Jessica was desperate to walk the path of a superhero. Taking inspiration from the heroes that already existed, Jessica became the costume hero Jewel.
However, her superhero tenure didn’t go as expected, especially when she met the mind controlling villain Zebediah Killgrave, aka The Purple Man. Having spent some time as Killgrave’s slave, in which she did terrible things including killing people, Jessica turned her back on the hero world and became a PI in Hell’s Kitchen. The Netflix series picks her story up from that point and we can all watch as Jessica is desperate to become the hero she still wants to be, but her experiences with Killgrave have hardened her and made her a hard-drinking and foul-mouthed person that is still trying to find her path in the world.
10. John Constantine
Next we turned to another hard-drinking, chain smoking vigilante with John Constantine. Lurking in the dark and mystical side of the DC universe, Constantine is a hero, magician, con man, and supernatural detective. Basically he can put his talents to anything but rather than donning a tight spandex costume and rushing to everyone’s rescue, Constantine prefers to do the “hero thing” in his own way.
Sometimes Constantine crosses over into the mainstream DC universe, and with the more traditional heroes such as Batman and Superman, but more often than not Constantine sticks to his own world and his own rules. Struggling with the burdens of good and evil and heaven and hell, Constantine is our buffer and saviour between those forces and his mouth and words are often his most powerful weapons.
Comic book movies, and in particular Marvel’s MCU, is a multi-billion dollar industry these days. But before the MCU was even conceived, Marvel’s biggest on screen hero was the half-human half-vampire Blade. Arguably still considered a complete, and popular, comic book movie trilogy, Blade was brilliantly portrayed by Wesley Snipes. Although Snipe’s version was a ruthless, and sometimes brutal, anti-hero, the comic book version of Blade is far more blood soaked and foul-mouthed.
After his mother died giving birth to him, Blade soon discovered the world in which he came from and the powers he had inherited. A vampire killed his mother and Blade wanted vengeance. Learning how to fight, thanks to his mentor Jamal Afari, Blade soon became brash, arrogant, and foul-mouthed and pursued any vampire he could find in order to wipe them out. That is, until his recklessness cost his girlfriend her life. Blade worked through his pain and loss in the only way he knew how: on every and all vampires that crossed his path.
Frank Miller’s Sin City is now considered a classic neo-noir comic book, and for very good reasons too. With its black and white artwork considered masterpieces in certain circles, Sin City also draws its style and writing from detective and crime dramas from the past and it constantly pushes the boundaries and conventions of the “classic” style of traditional comic books.
Out of all the heroes, vigilantes, and other characters that make up this dark world, it’s Marv that is most people’s favorite and he’s almost become the very face of Sin City. It’s not surprising either, as this 7 foot tall thug is dubbed by Miller himself as “Conan in a trench coat,” which sums it up perfectly. As with a lot of vigilantes and anti-heroes, Marv has a very strict moral code in which he sticks to, although he does have a weak spot when it comes to his favorite prostitute, when his code seems to go the way of anyone that stands in his way: firmly out the window!
As with the many examples of anti-heroes and vigilante we’ve already seen on this list, a bad attitude is a must, as well as drinking and chain smoking! Hellboy is no different. The other thing that fuels a lot of the anti-heroes’ personas is the fact that they never fit into the “real and normal world” and are either considered different or even freaks. Hellboy is the epitome of this; being a demon brought into our world by Nazi occultist may well be considered freakish enough, but when you add to that his red skin, horns, and giant arm, then Hellboy is never going to fit in so he’s excused for having such a bad attitude.
Joining the Bureau For Paranormal Research and Defense as an adult, Hellboy spends his time fighting against all the dark forces that wish to do us harm. He may well be a hero but he’s never going to be accepted, so he will always be the rude red dude with a bad attitude, and usually sucking on a cigar!
6. The Punisher
Next on our list is the poster boy and face of badass vigilantes. The Punisher is one of those vigilantes that has lost everything and therefore has nothing to lose and doesn’t know when to stop. The Punisher, or Frank Castle, is an expert in military training, hand to hand combat and knowledge, and use, of any weapon. He’s basically a one man army against crime.
Unlike many other characters within the Marvel universe, Frank Castle isn’t just violent and deadly, he also expresses joy in his kills and the kills themselves become his very purpose for existing. There are other anti-heroes within the Marvel universe that could be on an equal level with The Punisher’s kill count, Deadpool as an example, but where The Punisher differs from those is that he’s never funny or light. In fact, over the years his personality has become harder and even more detached and that results in the body count, and profanities, piling up.
Ok, so we’ll get this out of the way straight away: many people reading this will consider Lobo as an outright villain, which to be fair, a lot of the time he is. But he’s also been known to aid other DC heroes and has also even joined The Justice League, albeit temporarily and only when everyone thought Superman was dead and no one else could stop him from joining! So for those reasons, we count Lobo as an anti-hero and therefore deserves a place on our list.
Lobo’s hero credentials may well be questioned but his love of violence and his foul mouth certainly can’t be. The intergalactic bounty hunter is only concerned with collecting his bounty and will do anything to get it, no matter who gets in his way.
4. The Comedian
We dip our toes back into the dark and gritty world of The Watchmen with our next entry. While our previous Watchmen entry, Rorschach, was a more subtle vigilante and anti-hero, and almost a homage to the more famous ones such as Batman, Daredevil, and even The Punisher, The Comedian isn’t. There is nothing subtle or quiet about him, The Comedian is brash, rude, aggressive, and he doesn’t care at all about it or who he hurts or upsets in the process.
Unlike many other vigilantes and anti-heroes that often straddle the line between good and evil, all the while struggling with their own sense of what is good and which path they are going down, The Comedian doesn’t struggle with anything. He’s a gun-toting, cigar smoking, sexually assaulting, overly aggressive man that uses the guise of good for his own gain. In other words, by being a “hero” The Comedian can do whatever he likes, whenever he likes and to whoever he likes.
If you’re looking for the archetypal foul-mouthed anti-hero loner, then look no further than Marvel’s most famous mutant, Wolverine. He is constantly brooding about his questionable past, a past that for the most part has been blocked in his memory and is probably the reason for his anger and loneliness. Over the years, Wolverine has been the hero, the vigilante, a government weapon, a mercenary, a killer and even a teacher. His skill range and body count is always desired by someone, usually someone in the military that can use him for their own (usually evil) needs.
We must also point out that before Deadpool shot and swore his way onto our movie screens, it was left up to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine to provide the only profanities in the mainstream (and family friendly) X-Men movies. Thankfully, since the Deadpool movie, Wolverine managed to get his own R-rated movie with Logan, and what a joy it was.
2. Spider Jerusalem
The number two entry on our list may well be a bit of an unknown comic book character, particularly to the casual reader. Firstly, we must turn to the futuristic world of cyber punk comic book series Transmetropolitan. This tells the story of a renegade gonzo journalist as he fights the powers of “the man” and he tries to make them pay for abusing their powers with corruption in politics.
As you may have guessed, the central figure and gonzo journalist is Spider Jerusalem. Spider is considered a hero but he is anything but heroic; he’s a troubled drug addict with a foul mouth and a sadistic temper who is bitter and angry at pretty much everything, and he’s not afraid to express this. His sarcastic comments and views on the world are at the heart of this comic book, and a comic book that we implore anyone to read that hasn’t read it yet, if not for the story then for the creation of the loathsome tornado that is Spider Jerusalem!
The number one entry on our list of the most foul-mouthed comic book heroes has to go to the man himself, Deadpool. The violence loving, foul-mouthed, fourth wall breaking, sadistic anti-hero and vigilante Deadpool has been a fan favorite for a long time. Long before his smash hit outing on the big screen, Deadpool has been tearing up comic books for years.
Not content with being a mercenary, sometime hero, sometime villain, Deadpool has also destroyed the entire Marvel universe, including the Marvel writers, just because he can. Over the years, the comic books have created some interesting characters and storylines that either parody, pay homage, or break down the very walls of the comic books themselves. However, none of these come close to the genius creation that is Deadpool. Constantly pointing out all the flaws and everything that’s wrong with comic books, Deadpool has become the voice of the anti-comic book fan. A stroke of genius in our books!