Too Dumb To Live / Comic Books

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Yes, sure, trespass into the testing grounds of a Gamma Bomb because of a dare. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

  • Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog: There were enough wizards and highly advanced factions that Robotnik really shouldn't have been around for the ten odd years that he was. People that could teleport or power up characters to their super forms, some could even banish people to a pocket dimension. None of them could realize that they could trivialize out this one guy who was destroying the planet with their resources and the right plan. While Tails and Knuckles had big prophesied destinies, and Robotnik did play a part in those, neither of those specifically required Robotnik to be alive. In fact, destinies or not, a lot of innocent people died or became enslaved because these people let Robotnik live for no adequately explained reason. Of course with the reboot, this is all moot as the factions were wiped out of existence.

  • A security guard in Arkham Asylum: Madness ran head first into this trope. See, in this continuity, The Joker had a tragically dead son named Milton Napier. The guard decided taunting the insane murder clown with a plaque labeled "Milton Napier" would be a great laugh. Long story short, Arkham Asylum quickly found themselves needing a new guard.
    • Speaking of The Joker, any Gotham City mook that decides to work for him is Too Dumb to Live. What do those mooks have to look forward to? If they're lucky: almost certainly getting their asses kicked by Batman. But not only does the Joker routinely kill his own Mooks for failing him, he'll do it in order to try and kill Batman, because they have outlived their usefulness, because they might have said something that he didn't like, or because he was bored. How dumb to you have to be to work for a guy who will kill you for shits and giggles? The rest of Batman's rogue's gallery aren't much better, but the Joker takes the cake.
      • There are a couple explanations. Some of the Joker's mooks are almost as crazy as him and are drawn to his madness. The Joker's randomness also means that he'll shower his mooks with money as often as he kills them for kicks, so working for the Joker is basically Russian Roulette.
    • Then there was Warren White in Arkham Asylum: Living Hell, at least initially. You'd be safer making a guilty plea in Gotham than an insanity plea.
  • Let's face it: Thomas Wayne. Instead of waiting for Alfred to show up and chauffeur them back to the mansion, he decided to take a shortcut through a back alley out the side door of the theater. All dressed up. At night. In the rain. It's just a pity his foolishness got both himself and his wife killed, and his son traumatized along with him.
    • A Depending on the Writer issue. Sometimes, Thomas does this intentionally to try to show Bruce that they can be safe even in slums.
  • In the Batman storyline "Bruce Wayne: The Road Home", Vicki Vale is a major target for Ra's al Ghul: Vicki's deduced the Bat-family's identities and is preparing to reveal them. Ra's doesn't want that and has sought to silence Vicki to preserve the Detective's dignity. The entire storyline has the Bat-family, the GCPD and the Birds of Prey trying to keep her out of trouble and the entire time she keeps slipping away, thinking that she is not in any danger. It isn't until Bruce himself finally snatches her away and lays out what's going on does she understand.
  • Subverted in an early Bongo Comics Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror story. The Grim Reaper announces to the reader at the outset that Homer, on his way home from work, will do something stupid that results in his inevitable demise. In fact, Homer proceeds to do many stupid things, but makes it home alive and well, to the Reaper's complete astonishment and frustration. And then cheerfully announces he's off to make toast in the bathtub.
  • Blacksad: Ivo Statoc, the Big Bad who had the eponymous hero beat up and (though Statoc does not know it) his ex-girlfriend murdered, thinks the smartest thing to do is to call out Blacksad on his morals and taunt him that he doesn't have the guts to shoot someone in cold blood. Statoc was such an asshole about it that Blacksad shot him in anger, noting that his morals really would have stopped him from cold-blooded murder of an unarmed man under normal circumstances, but Statoc's taunts were the last straw.
  • The Boys is set in an Alternate Universe where Super Heroes exist, (not that you'd want to meet one) and the Mega Corp. that created and controls said "heroes" is looking to infiltrate and take over the U.S. Government. The latest Vice President is a functionally retarded hand-puppet for them, and when the political arrangement is being explained to the Naïve Newcomer, it gets mentioned that the corporation had wanted to use a member of the Bush family for this role, but the latest Bush son had accidentally cut his own head off while playing with a chainsaw. Garth Ennis is rarely subtle about these things.
  • Quite a few strips of The Far Side derive humor from the stupidity of the characters. One strip featured two guys stranded in the desert with one of them eating a bag of salty potato chips. In the desert. "Uh oh, I suddenly get the feeling I shouldn't have been munching on these things for the last half hour."
  • The Early Years:It's not clear since there is 2 versions of it but apparently talking to a clearly unhinged and armed assassin knowing she is her husband's mistress was apparently a good idea in Elise brain at some point. The worst version had her even being kind of a Jerkass about it, while the lighter one was just tactless.
  • Dilbert: In this strip, the PHB thinks the yoga Feng-shu, and Irish dancing classes he took make him skilled enough in martial arts to be a match for a mean-looking knife-wielding mugger, who clearly isn't impressed.
  • Forever Evil: One villain, Monocle, doesn't trust the Crime Syndicate and insults them to their face. Ultraman turns him into a smoldering mark on the ground for his troubles.
  • Let's nor forget the grave case of sheer dumbness of Rick Jones, sidekick of Incredible Hulk. The guy that trespassed onto the testing grounds of a gamma bomb, parked his car in the area of the explosion, and simply waited playing an harmonica. Why in hell would he do that? Because his friends had dared him.
  • Infinite Crisis: The Joker comes to find out that Big Bad Alexander Luthor didn't let him in because of his unpredictability. Of all the super villains Alex was gathering, he didn't let the Joker in. The Joker is understandably pissed. Jump to the final issue, with Alex planning to rebuild his power and his power base, only to be ambushed by the Joker and Lex Luthor. And as Alex is begging for mercy, Lex tells him flat out his one big mistake wasn't attacking Superman or killing Superboy or any of that. It was "not letting the Joker play."
    Lex Luthor: [as the Joker ventilates Alex's head] Now who's stupid?
  • Iznogoud: Iznogoud in some stories.
  • Johnny the Homicidal Maniac has killed some remarkably stupid people. Then he meets more of them after dying and (rightly) declares, "You're in Hell and you're too stupid to know it!"
  • In Knightfall's finale, Knights End, AzBats and Batman have accidentally caused a helicopter to crash onto a bridge and the two start tangling on a maintenance bridge. Batman gets the upper hand and tosses AzBats off and into the water. As he's falling, AzBats attempts to use his flamethrower in an attempt to kill Bruce. One problem, the helicopter's been spraying diesel since crashing. AzBats erupts into flames.
    • Also, the Siskel and Ebert expies, who criticize a movie directed by The Joker.
  • Although Lex Luthor is a genius, even he has done jaw-droppingly stupid things. Everybody knows Superman is super-vulnerable to Kryptonite, right? So, why not wear a ring made of the stuff at all times, just in case? Well, as Mr. Luthor was reminded the hard way, it may not kill humans in minutes, but it is still a radioactive element, as he already knew. Turns out wearing a radioactive rock on your hand gives you terminal cancer in the long run.
    • He didn't even appear to learn from it either. During his presidency, he began injecting himself with a steroidal cocktail mixed with liquid Kryptonite.
  • If it wasn't for Superman, Lois Lane would be dead since 1940 thanks to her fondness for snooping around way too much. Sometimes it's shown that she takes those risks because she knows she has backup; she can handle herself just fine, but lets herself get into these situations because a hostage can get the best details of what the criminals and supervillains are up to, and will always have Superman to back her up if/when she needs it.
  • 90% of the population of Krypton were not only too dumb to heed Jor-El's warnings of Krypton going critical, but were also too arrogant.
  • Lucky Luke: Rantanplan's stupidity frequently causes him to almost kill himself. If it weren't for Luke (or, in the spinoff, the prison guards, who are none too bright themselves but at least not suicidal) rescuing him, he would have drowned, starved or frozen to death by now.
  • Lupo Alberto: Back in an old story arc in 1977, Enrico had started a civil rights movement but wasn't having much success, so he went and renamed it "Bravi Ragazzi" ("Good Boys" in Italian) and gave it a symbol, a five-pointed star in a circle, that he painted on a sign with the movement's initials. He then stubbornly refused to accept there was something wrong in it in the face of Alberto (his best friend) shaking in fear when he saw it (even if he couldn't place why), all his movement running away in terror at the sight of the sign, people running away or throwing money and jewels at the sign, or, when he went to the nearest city, the police opening fire on him. As well known in Italy back in the day, Enrico had accidentally reproduced the symbol of a terrorist organization.
  • Lampshaded in Nightwing #150. One of Two-Face's mooks was standing right behind a guy Two-Face wanted to shoot. Two-Face points out that this isn't a good place to be, and the guy needs it explained to him: "I can't afford to lose any red shirts." When the mook doesn't get the reference, Two-Face has had enough, declares him too dumb to live, and blows him away.
    • Then there's Lester Dent in Batman: Gotham Adventures #2. After he wins two million on a game show, Two-Face takes over the studio. A session of Calling the Old Man Out ensues on live television, but Lester keeps calling his (gun-wielding, supervillain) son a "punk" and whining that he's ruining his lucky day. When it's clear that Two-Face is going to flip the coin on whether to shoot him or not, he dares him to do it.
  • The crocodiles from Pearls Before Swine frequently end up killing themselves or fellow crocs in their idiotic attempts to kill the Zebra ("zeeba neighba"). This was even lampshaded in one strip where Charles Darwin appears and explains that the crocs are so dumb, they have to die for the good of the rest of society (survival of the fittest, and all that).
  • Nooby from Pocket God dies the most often out of all the tribe. Some of his deaths are because of dangerous pranks Ooga pulls on him.
  • The Punisher
    • In the story arc "Welcome Back, Frank", Castle is attacked by the entire remaining army of a certain mafia boss after finding out his location. Coincidentally, he had just been on his way to finish them off. Caught in the street but with all of his ordnance at hand, he proceeds to butcher several carloads of Gnucci soldiers, only to run out of ammo when he's down to the fast few. After killing one with his bare hands, the last man does the smart thing: he shoots him from a distance. However, while his gun is powerful enough to punch through Castle's kevlar, it doesn't take him down. So what does the guy do? He keeps shooting him in the chest. When a person is in shock, more bullets to the center of mass doesn't accomplish much of anything. Yes, head shots are hard to pull off, but when the target is only a few feet away and staggering slowly towards you, even a novice gunman could pull it off. Six bullets at close range, and not one head shot. There's a reason why the Mozambique Drill technique exists in the first place, even if the technique in question was discovered by accident in Real Life.
    • A street thug in another issue is lightly beaten on a rooftop (with the implied threat that he would be thrown off of the roof) for information. He tells the Punisher what he needs to know, then tries to extort money out of him. When it doesn't work, he says that he has to get some money somehow tonight, and that he might even have to cut a woman up. To the Punisher, whose biggest Berserk Button is cruelty to women and kids in general. It all goes downhill for this thug from there.
    • In a textbook case, a punk that the Punisher just blackmailed into helping him get close to his drug dealing boss watches as Frank cuts down said boss, along with his entire crew. Once the shooting is done, the punk starts laughing, kicks the dead crime boss, and begins talking about how he's going to take over the business and run things because he now has all the connections and knows how the operation works. Suddenly he realizes that he's saying all this while the Punisher is holding a gun and staring at him. He then announces he's going to give up crime, get a legitimate job, and go straight. Frank: (Pointing the gun at his head and pulling the trigger) "Yeah. Well, just in case."
    • The "Up is Down, Black is White" storyline from The Punisher MAX opened with the returning Nicky Cavella digging up the skeletons of the Castle family — Frank's wife, son and daughter — and urinating on the bones, then mailing footage of this CLEARLY IDENTIFYING HIM (panning up to his smiling face) to the news, in HOPES that Frank Castle would see it. Amazingly this almost went according to plan, to so enrage the Punisher that he'd lose focus and thus be vulnerable to ambush (as even the Punisher admitted, that's what happened)... what made it Too Dumb to Live was assuming that his mooks could take advantage. This would prove his downfall once the mooks realized that they were the ones supposed to be taking on the Punisher, and let Cavella know it in no uncertain terms.
  • Rat-Man is full with stupid people (including the titular superhero), but some are this:
    • The titular hero proves himself this in the early story "The Collector". Captured by a supervillain who's collecting superheroes and replacing them with inferior copies (a Take That to The Dark Age of Comic Books), Rat-Man fools him into letting him go with a tale of having at home a document stating he can't be collected, leaves... And then returns to tell him he can't find it. Later, he manages to escape anyway... And stumbles into a clearly robotic whore continuously repeating "For free" and gets captured again when he touches her. Rather stupid but not too much to live, you say? That's how the Collector caught him the first time!
    • Brakko (described by the author as "Even stupider than Rat-Man, if it's even possible") proved being the worst, and literally graduated to this, in issue #104. Previously in the issue his friend and subordinate police officer Jordan had told him that if he were ordered to arrest a friend he'd tell him to run and count to 20 before giving chase, knowing that, having trouble remembering what comes after 12, he'd give him a huge headstart. Later, we have this situation:
    Brakko: "Jordan? This is my office!"
    Jordan: "I know, sir. I'm really sorry. RUN!"
    *Brakko realizes Jordan has to arrest him and starts running*
    Jordan: "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve..."
    Jordan: "Twelve..."
    *Brakko comes back*
    Jordan: "Oh, thank you!"
    *Brakko runs away again, and Jordan continues counting*
  • Though viciously mangled and missing a few limbs and eyes, a pair of skinhead thugs (The Zyklon-B Boys) managed to survive an encounter with Deadshot and Catman in an issue of Secret Six. However, a few weeks later one of the thugs sees Deadshot entering a club and decides it is time for revenge, following him until the rest of the gang can gather for the attack. Deadshot notices him and delivers another vicious beating, but again leaves him alive because he had made a promise not to kill anybody tonight (he was on a date). However, even though the thug has now lost a second eye, when the rest of the gang arrives they decide to still go after Deadshot. This same person has now beaten and mutilated their members on two separate occasions, and they still want to track him down. At this point they are simply asking for it, and Deadshot's date kills the lot of them, explaining that she did not make any promises that night.
    • For that matter, Yasemin. She was probably aware of Deadshot's uncompromising nature and Combat Pragmatist tendencies thanks to her underworld activities (after all, most of Deadshot's clients are crime bosses). That doesn't stop her from challenging him to a duel when she finally meets him instead of just blowing him away as soon as she got the chance. She didn't even get a chance to finish laying out the terms for the duel before Deadshot caps her, calmly notifying her that she should have taken the first shot she had as she lay dying on the ground.
  • Star Wars:
    • In the Tales of the Jedi series, Exar Kun gave a powerful and ancient Sith ship to the traitorous Aleema with instructions on how to use its star-manipulating powers. Aleema lures a Republic task force into a star cluster and uses the ship's device to tear the core out of one of the stars and throw it at the enemies. It succeeds in killing them, but apparently Aleema knew little to nothing about how stars function and didn't see any danger in catastrophically disrupting the natural order of one. It goes supernova, triggering the rest of the stars in the cluster in a titanic explosion that kills Aleema—exactly as Exar Kun and Ulic Qel-Droma wanted.
    • Esano in The Clone Wars: The Sith Hunters. His sister arrives with Darth Maul and Savage Opress and tells him they rescued her and he must pay them or they will kill her. Esano refuses, preferring to be the sole heir to the family fortune. The Sith quickly realize that the best way to acquire funds is to kill him.
    • When asked about the premise of Darth Maul: Death Sentence, the author himself said: "Someone, somewhere, is stupid enough to put a price on Darth Maul and Savage Opress’ heads." It ends with the brothers capturing him and forcing him to transfer his fortune to them … then killing him anyway.
    • Blood Ties: Boba Fett Is Dead features an Imperial officer who, while training his troopers, is approached by a messenger whose message is not exactly credible and who is wearing obviously stolen armor. He describes it as "one of the stupidest things I've ever seen", then orders his men to assume an attack formation that from the intruder's point of view means "line up in front of the grenades" …
    • One of the villains in Shadows of the Empire: Evolution, Spinda Caveel, employer of the Pike Sisters, two martial arts masters. When they run into the Rebellion heroes, he orders them to kill them. They say it would be suicide and quit. He's insulted and attempts to kill them. That's right, his own hired muscle, whom he a minute earlier expected to be able to take on the people who destroyed both Death Stars. He doesn't appear to survive.
    • In the post-Endor comic Star Wars: Crimson Empire, Carnor Jax grows increasingly disgusted with his incompetent right-hand, General Wessel. Whether or not Wessel was actually too dumb to live, Jax said as much to one of his more competent underlings and left Wessel to be killed by a trap that Jax had foreseen.
  • During an exceedingly Dork Age arc, Steel and his niece Natasha move to Jersey City, New Jersey, and it plays a bit like the 'Town Of Citysville' did for The Powerpuff Girls, only much darker and grittier, and the series has to end before they wise up and leave. In one sequence, a local ganger that Natasha has upset brutalizes, and it is implied, rapes her. He also warns her not to bring her uncle into this, or she will feel the wrath of his 'peeps'. He is actually murdered by Natasha's long-lost father, John Henry's brother, but let's review. This thug's 'peeps' include psychos with knives and guns. Steel, no slouch himself, has peeps known as THE JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA! Among Natasha's unofficial 'uncles' is this alien dude you might have heard of. Too Dumb To Live? Booster and Beetle could have taken out their whole gang while looking for a good pizza place. This thug was too dumb to leave his father's privates.
  • Most villain of Tex Willer could be considered this by virtue of not surrendering when they hear the title character, a trigger-happy Texas Ranger who is also a One-Man Army and the Fastest Gun in the West, has three equally dangerous companions that sometime help him in his adventures, and in a pinch could summon the entire Navajo Nation for his battles (he is, after all, their chief), and so those who go on and provoke him while knowing who he is, but Bob Braddock takes the cake: after barely getting aquitted at his trial for murder thanks to his brother providing him a very good lawyer and bribing two witnesses, he's told by lawmen that a witness has identified him as the responsible for burning down a town, and he reacts it's impossible because he was wearing a sack on his head before Tex Willer and judge "Hang'em Higher" Fielsen. His brother, who was there and had planned to send him to Alaska to keep him out of trouble, promtply throws him to Tex and the judge (literally).
  • Inverted in The Tick comic book. After several bullets bounce off the Tick and he falls off a balcony, one of his would-be-assassins remarks "Incredible. This jerk is too stupid to stop living."
  • The egregious levels of stupidity isn't just limited to the criminal side of the spectrum. Police forces, militaries, etc. the world over also seem to be quite stupid when it comes to dealing with superpowered threats. For instance, despite knowing perfectly well that Magneto's powers allow him to manipulate metal however he wishes, they keep sending soldiers with metal guns, metal missiles, metal tanks, etc. at him, Metal Master is a similar case. It isn't limited to those villains either, the rather facepalming lack of common sense when fighting supervillains by the rank and file is a continuous problem in comics in general.
  • PSA comics always have one-shot characters whose entire purpose is to do what the comic preaches against and ruin their lives.
  • Groo the Wanderer may actually be too dumb to die.
  • The Chalkers in X-Factor:
    • Rick Chalker replaced his hands with propeller blades so he could kill mutants. When he realized he couldn't open the door out of his lab with his new hands, he tried to slapped his forehead in frustration and chopped off the top of his head.
    • Vic Chalker built a battlesuit to "avenge" Rick. He couldn't fit in the first version because he forgot to take his own measurements into account. He got stuck in the second one because he didn't give it an adequate power supply and it ran out of juice seconds after he started it. The third version wasn't waterproofed, and he fatally electrocuted himself when he walked out into the rain.
    • Dick Chalker, the dinosaur-like mutant relative whose crimes inspired hatred for mutantkind in his cousins, felt guilty and decided he needed to wipe out the rest of mutantkind to avenge them. He...forgot to look both ways before crossing the street and was run over by a truck.
  • The Wizard of Id: The strip seen here shows Rodney and the King looking at a guy who took a rather ill-conceived selfie.
  • The dodos (as in the previously extinct birds) from Safe Havens. Samantha cloned a pair to study them and in the process found out the "real" reason they went extinct: It turns out the dodos are sentient, capable of human speech and are highly intelligent. They're also a bit sociopathic, and have a strong case of What Does This Button Do?, paired with a lack of self-preservation instinct so deep it would make a turkey facepalm. Literally every time they've been left alone and un-caged they've either put themselves in mortal peril or caused some sort of crisis.
  • Ratbat in the original Marvel version of The Transformers. See, there's this ancient Artifact of Doom called the Underbase that can massively increase the power of any Transformer who comes near it. It can also completely destroy all life on a planet. Naturally the Decepticons want it, but Starscream tricks the two Decepticon factions into fighting each other and the Autobots while he goes and swipes the Underbase for himself. Realizing they've been duped, the two Decepticon leaders, Ratbat and Scorponok, agree to team up with Optimus Prime to stop a super-powered Starscream. Then Ratbat ditches the battle to sneak back to the Autobot ship, and announces his intention to gain the Underbase's power for himself. Problem is, he did this right in front of Scorponok, who's A) about 40 times his size (no, that is not a typo, Ratbat is a cassette and among the smallest of Decepticons while Scorponok was one of the biggest) and B) covered in guns. Scorponok didn't even let him finish his Evil Gloating before annihilating him.
  • While The Walking Dead comics are chock full of it, one very special example goes out to a family consisting of a trucker dad, fat hippie mom, and bully son. Said son and his friend bully a quiet nerdy kid who Sophia rescues by kicking their asses. Later, when Sophia is hanging out with Carl, they hit him with a brick and basically threaten to assault and rape Sophia causing Carl to run off, get a shovel and come back, beating them near to death. Then their parents team up with Gregory to try and poison Maggie and fail The parents are let off with a warning, then after the wife's head is piked the dad tries to murder Rick on the way home causing Rick to rip his throat out. And then when Rick goes to offer sympathy to their son the son decides to attack Rick and nearly get choked to death, but ultimately left with a warning: one more fuckup and Rick would put a bullet into his dumbass.
  • Black Moon Chronicles: Fratus Sinister summons Hellaynnea the succubus to have his way with her. Apparently he forgot that succubi can suck out the souls of their victims.

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