Supergirl: I'm screaming, but no sound comes out. I'm crying, but there are no tears. My skin is burning off, but there are no flames. All there is... All I am now... is the pain.
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 (TaleSpin, 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 overhead. 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. She Got Better.
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, this Flash's cousin) 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.
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: 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 comes into possession of a watch that shows what time you will die down to the second, after its original owner is killed right on time. When the man finds that his own date of death is decades into the future (he'd be in his early 90's), he embarks on a career as a daredevil, confident in the knowledge that he cant die before his time. However, his careless stunts causes several fatalities, and a revenge-driven widower attacks him with a grenade, which ends up blowing off his limbs and renders him blind and mute, leaving him helpless, blind and immovable in a hospital bed with nothing to do but count the seconds for the rest of his life. To drive the irony in further, one of his doctors picks up the watch and his time turns out to be the next day at midnight, but the doctor has no idea of the clocks power.
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 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 sociopath 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.
This also happened to Basil Karlo, the original Clayface. During the Mud Pack storyline, he uses a formula made from the other villains who used the name Clayface, acquiring all their powers and becoming the Ultimate Clayface. At the end of the story, however, he loses control of his powers, and sinks into the earth, where he remains entombed for months. He eventually escapes, after odd energy from the gemstones in his tomb make him much stronger, reappearing during the No Man's Land storyline. Batman probably describes what happened to him best:
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.
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.
The Queen of Fables was a villain who had formerly been trapped in a book of fairy tales, and could reshape reality to her whims using the same tales and other imaginative fantasy, turning Manhattan into an enchanted forest and cursing Wonder Woman with a thousand-year slumber. Wonder Woman recovered, however, and did away with the Queen by trapping her in a very different book, the U.S. Tax Code! (The idea was that she'd never find anything to use as a weapon in there, but no doubt she was not very happy.)
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.
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 Spider-Man #230, when Spider-Man buried him in tons of concrete.
In the Post-Crisis universe, Kara spent thirty years in suspended animation, curled-up in a tiny pod and trapped in Kryptonite which hurt her and poisoned her mind.
Post-Flashpoint Kara was captured by corrupt bussinessman Simon Tycho, who held her in a stasis beam near from a chunk of kryptonite. She was in incredible pain but she couldn't scream or even move.
Kara: Kryptonyte. a radioactive element lethal to the touch. Just being close to it — like I'm being held now — can be fatal. I'm screaming, but no sound comes out. I'm crying, but there are no tears. My skin is burning off, but there are no flames. All there is... All I am now... is the pain.
In Volume 2, #20, Parasite absorbs Supergirl's powers and throws her in a flying metal coffin which floats about a mile straight up from solid ground. As he uses heat vision to seal her in, he warns that she has a little less than four minutes till her air runs out.
In Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures In The Eight Grade, super-villain Belinda Zee is turned into a crystal statue. She cannot talk or move but she is fully sentient and -worst of all- she can feel pain.
In 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.
In The Kingdom, Superman in one of his many deaths at the hands of Gog was subject to being slowly transformed into Kryptonite after being chained to a planet with a special bomb attached to it that would recreate the destruction of Krypton.
In Superman Vol 1 #282, Superman tells the tale of a Kryptonian named Nam-Ek (yes, that is his name. And this story was written ten years before the birth of the Dragon Ball franchise) who managed to make himself immortal and indestructible. When Krypton exploded, he survived, and remained floating in lifeless space, alone forever.
Superman: Slowly, Nam-Ek realized that since he was immortal... he would remain there, suspended in space — alone — forever! And that's when he began to cry... And they say that somewhere in space... he is crying still...
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!
Major Force, a minor GL villain and Stuffed In The FridgeTrope Namer and enthusiast, gets this treatment. Since he is essentially immortal, Kyle puts him into a little green tennis ball and rackets him into the vastness of space.
A Sinestro Corps member called Maash has three heads. Two are psychopaths while the third is innocent and resents the atrocities his brothers do. Unfortunately, the innocent head has no control over their body.
Larfleeze, aka Agent Orange, gains his constructs by killing people. It's implied, and later confirmed that they're not just constructs in the victim's likeness, but their souls forced to do Larfleeze's bidding.
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.
Nemesis the Warlock: The Sea of Lost Souls in "Killer Watt", Torquemada getting at one point trapped in time loop where he is repeatedly burned to death and possibly the final fate of Torquemada with or without Nemesis. Even when he escapes after a billion years, Nemesis crucifies him and sends him out to another trip around the cosmos for the rest of eternity.
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.
Tharg's Future Shocks: A pair of art thieves visit a gallery to find the most valuable piece to steal. They settle on a weird painting which is contained behind very thick bars. They saw through the bars to get at it, but instantly disappear. The next morning the curator takes a new group of tourists through the exposition, explaining that the painting is actually alive and the bars are not meant to protect the painting from people, but to protect people from the painting. The thieves are seen being tortured in Hell inside the painting.
The traiterous Judge Fauster unleashes the Half-Life virus on Mega-City One so he can get access to immortality. After he's arrested for causing over a million deaths, he gloats that he'll still be there when the city has crumbled into dust. As punishment Chief Hershey orders him locked up for eternity and his mind placed in a computer-induced nightmare.
Some poor sap is used this way by the Sisters of Death to create a bridge to Mega City One. His body is already dead but thanks to a nearby psychic amplifier his mind is still active, trapped inside it as he's tied to a cross with barb wire.
In the comic W.I.T.C.H.. 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 person 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.
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.
An old issue of the Plastic Man comic book featured Plastic Man battling Cyrus Smythe, a sevneteenth century British chemist who's brain was still alive and conscious after his death. Smythe's brain ends up being placed in the head of an injured soldier named Tad Wilkins, and he proceeds to finish the growth serum he worked on when he was alive, enabling him to become a towering giant. Plastic Man manages to kill him, but the brain of Cyrus Smythe still lives and promises to return.
Buzzard from The Goon In Heaps of Ruination. Blowing his own brains out with a gun didn't work, so he went to go be alone for eternity. "And Buzzard crawled into the earth at the roots of the tree. And there he lay. And he lived...and lived...and lived."
The barbarian hero Dax the Warrior from Warren Publishing's Eerie magazine suffered this fate. In his final story, wounded in battle, Dax encounters Death, but spurns him with his desire to keep living. It isn't until Death is gone that it is revealed that Dax has been left completely paralyzed by the blow he has suffered.
Happens to Daredevil archenemy Bullseye. Let's see...a demonically possessed Daredevil kills the guy in the Shadowlands story arc. Lady Bullseye manages to resurrect him, but he's completely paralyzed, has lost all his senses except his eyesight, and needs to be placed in an iron lung. Bullseye comes up with a rather elaborate plot to torment Daredevil and ultimately kill him. He fails and in the process loses his sense of sight. One of the most vicious, psychotic, and frightening villains in the Marvel Universe is now, in the words of Daredevil, "a living brain in a flesh and bone coffin."
Surprisingly, happens in the Archie Comic "Afterlife With Archie", a horror/zombie take on the classic characters. As punishment for stealing the Necronomicon, Sabrina is cast into an empty dimension by her aunts (here a pair of horrible wraith-witches) after having her mouth removed via magic for a year. But it turns out that her true fate is even worse than that.
In Death Vigil, necromancers whose powers are sealed by the Vigil fall into a zombie-like state where their memories are shattered. The deuteragonist can seal away their powers without the side-effect, which comes in very handy when she needs to get information out of her necromancer boyfriend.
In PS238, the front lawn of Excelsior Public School is 'haunted' by the ghost of a Native American metahuman who was cursed his tribe's medicine man for something bad he once did. The curse states he can't move from his location, his spirit can't pass on, nor can he remember anything he was proud of while alive (including his name, his own nature, or exactly what he did), and only performing an act of pure altruism that saves someone's life can free him. He's not exactly 'tormented' by it, but he is very resigned to his fate, very, very bored and would like nothing better than to atone.
In Archie's new horror-based Sabrina the Teenage Witch comic, Sabrina's father is turned into a tree. It's currently unknown if he's lucid in this state or not.
Spider-Man: Reign: The fate of the Kingpin, who is kept alive via an intravenous drip for ten years and paraded out once a year in front of the mayor who eats a steak in front of him.
Doctor Strange isn't above inflicting this on his enemies. An amateur sorcerer sends his remote projection to blackmail Strange into giving up his chokehold on mystical knowledge, and Strange initially acquiesces. When the sorcerer projects himself again to reap his reward, his astral form is trapped in a small jar from which he can't escape. Strange places him among rows of identical jars and walks away from the sorcerer's panicked screaming.
A professional thief shoots Dr. Strange and ransacks his home. When Strange catches up with the thief, he punishes him by trapping his physical body inside his own mind.