Breaking The Fourth Wall: 17 Comic Book Characters Who Knows

What if you suddenly become aware that you are a character in a book someone else is writing and that none of this matters? 

The comic world is filled with the type of bizarre that somehow keeps outdoing itself. Full of magic, unimaginable technology, and beings with god-like powers, there seem to be no limits in sight. So, would it be too far-fetched for some of these characters to become aware that they are fictional? That their entire lives are just a story in a graphic novel? How would they then react if they were to find out?

We put together a list of some of our favorite comic book characters who are notorious for breaking the fourth wall. They are aware of what they are, and how they react to this profound realization is quite interesting.

Let’s dive in and look at some of these heroes and villains who can breath the fourth wall!

#17 Superman

#17 Superman - Comic Book Characters Who Broke The Fourth Wall

Broke the Fourth Wall In: Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #2
Count: 4+ 

The Man of Steel is one of the most beloved heroes that the world has ever seen, both in comic books and in reality. He has seen worlds and universes that one cannot imagine and has been to the very edge of all creation. His powers seem to have no bounds, and the greatest forces in the multiverse have failed to take him down. It should be no surprise that the Man of Tomorrow eventually becomes aware of himself. 

Superman has broken the fourth wall on many occasions. During the early iterations of the character, Kal El interacted with the readers many times by winking at them whenever he said something clever or when a story ended. This happened regularly during the early days of the character. This was about the extent of his fourth breaking until the events of the Final Crisis. He achieves such power that he suddenly becomes everything all at once. He can sense all the dimensions and universes around him and even becomes aware of the audience/reader. 

Such awareness does not seem to be present for Superman all the time and has only unlocked this knowledge once. 

#16 The Fantastic Four

#16 The Fantastic Four - Comic Book Characters Who Broke The Fourth Wall

Broke the Fourth Wall In: Fantastic Four Annual (1963) #3
Count: 2+

The Fantastic Four was one of the first heroes to be ever created in the Marvel Universe, and it was the start of Stan Lee’s attempt to create something that mirrored the success of the Justice League. The birth of The Fantastic Four marked the beginning of Marvel’s Shared universe. It was via this superhero family that many characters, such as Hulk, Doom, Namor, etc., were introduced. 

Stan Lee often did something with the characters that made them break the fourth wall. They would have panels where the heroes would answer fan letters, speak to the readers and interact with them directly. There is even one comic strip wherein the F4 addressed fan letters concerning Sue and how they wanted her dropped from the team. The other members of The Fantastic Four defended their teammate, so that’s good. In another strip, we see Doctor Doom visiting and confronting Jack Kirby. 

The humorous way these fourth wall interactions took place was a refreshing take on the comic world. The fans loved it and made it feel closer to these characters. The Fourth Wall has never been breached by them in any continuity or actual comic situation.

#15 Tempus Fuginaut

#15 Tempus Fuginaut - Comic Book Characters Who Broke The Fourth Wall

Broke the Fourth Wall In: Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Dark Nights Metal
Count: 10+

Tempus is a member of a race called Fuginauts and is considered the “Watcher” of the DC universe. The Dark Knight’s Metal storyline is one of the most ambitious, out-there narratives ever written. We were not only taken for a deep dive into the multiverse but also introduced to the Dark Multiverse. This dark place contained stories where things did not go right for any of our heroes, and the villains always won. This is a scary place; evil had the day no matter what. There is a border between these opposite multiverses, and Tempus was tasked with protecting them from each other. 

After doing much to carry out his mission, he understood that he needed to look closely at the Dark Multiverse to see what dangers lie there and how he could use that knowledge to protect the Multiverse. As part of this, we see Tempus speaking directly to the readers, giving backstories on these sinister worlds. He is not interfering in every little thing that goes on. It seems like he possesses the ability to roam multiverses freely and even interact with readers about his journeys. If you have not read “Tales from the Dark Multiverse,” trust us. You’re missing out. 

#14 Spider-Man

#14 Spider-Man - Comic Book Characters Who Broke The Fourth Wall

Broke the Fourth Wall: In The Amazing Spider-Girl #0
Count: 5+

Spider-Man might just be one of the most famous characters in the comic world. He is known for his quick quips and the fresh humor he brings to the table, and he is simply the friendly neighborhood hero. What makes the character so likable is his relatability. There are no gimmicks, no-nonsense. He is a world-famous hero who still has to do homework. Got to love that. 

Another thing that draws you towards Spidey is the subtle ways he breaks the fourth wall. There is nothing obvious. Unlike other characters in this list, he doesn’t just look at the audience and say something. At least it isn’t canon. However, there have been instances where Spider-Man can be seen correcting people who say his name without the ‘hyphen.’ The only way he can tell is if he can see the little conversation clouds during conversations. So, it’s a small, subtle way of Spidey saying that he knows. Furthermore, he knows about Batman and even watched Dark Knight Returns. How cool is that?

#13 Animal Man

#13 Animal Man - Comic Book Characters Who Broke The Fourth Wall

Broke the Fourth Wall In: Animal Man #22
Count: 2+

Animal Man is probably one of this list’s least-known comic book characters. However, his comics may also just be one of the best graphic novels ever. Written by the legendary Grant Morrison, the Animal Man comic was only meant to be a 4 series issue but continued due to its success.

Most of the time, the breaching of the fourth wall is usually used as a tool to incite humor. That is not the direction that Morrison went with the character. To stop the Psycho Pirate, Animal Man goes through Limbo to visit the forgotten heroes of DC. He eventually reaches a Black and White version of our reality and converses with Morrison himself. Animal Man went at it, questioning Grant about why the C-list hero was put through so much pain and hardship. That could not have been a pleasant conversation for Morrison to have.

#12 Doctor Doom

#12 Doctor Doom - Comic Book Characters Who Broke The Fourth Wall

Broke the Fourth Wall In: Fantastic Four (1961) #10
Count: 1+

The first characters to be introduced into the ever-expanding Marvel Universe are The Fantastic Four. They brought our attention to new worlds and heroes, all interconnected and overlapping in their actions. With this, they also brought us Doom, one of the most interesting Marvel Villains in existence. A wizard with the power to play God is not to be trifled with. 

Around the time Dr. Doom was introduced, he did break the fourth wall. Dr. Doom went one step further when She-Hulk decided to rip the pages of her comic and yell at her writer. We’re not sure how he did it, but he visited his creators and conversed with them. The idea itself was bizarre, but that made it all the more fascinating. It is something you might expect of someone like Doom.

#11 Alexander Luthor

#11 Alexander Luthor - Comic Book Characters Who Broke The Fourth Wall

Broke the Fourth Wall In: Infinite Crisis, 2005
Count: 1+

Alexander Luthor is from a Universe where Lex Luthor is a Hero and is married to Lois Lane. He becomes a hero when his universe is first introduced during the events of the Crisis of Infinite Earths. His actions have been questionable at best, but they still manage to play a pretty role in the entire storyline. He does help stop the Anti-Monitor but later manipulates Superboy-Prime into becoming evil. 

After the events of the Infinite Crisis transcribe, we get a glimpse of where all the characters are. The Multiverse is reborn, and at a particular instance, we see Alexander Luthor explore their new universe. Suddenly, he turns toward the audience/reader and reaches out to touch us. This is where the comics end. While most other characters use the fourth wall breaking as a comedic effect, this was just plain scary.

#10 Superboy-Prime

#10 Superboy-Prime - Comic Book Characters Who Broke The Fourth Wall

Broke the Fourth Wall In: Infinite Crisis, 2005
Count: 1+

Superboy-Prime has always been a controversial character. A super-powered Kryptonian that got sent to a world where Superheroes are only in comics. Pretty much like our world. Long story short, it drove him to the brink of insanity, and bottom line, he just wanted attention. The extent he went to get that is just mind-numbing. Still a great read. 

When the Supermen finally defeat Superboy-Prime and send him back to Earth Prime, he becomes just another run-of-the-mill internet troll. A panel finds him reading the DC Comics about the Infinite crisis and critiquing them hard. He even speaks directly to the audience and vents about what could have been. The man was strong enough to punch a hole in reality and acted like a little attention-seeking child. Strength isn’t everything, friends.

#9 Howard The Duck

#9 Howard the Duck - Comic Book Characters Who Broke The Fourth Wall

Broke the Fourth Wall In: The Unbelievable Gwenpool
Count: 2+

No one did it like Deadpool, but that doesn’t mean he was first. One of the initial comic characters to break the fourth wall is Howard the Duck. You might know this talking bird from his little cameos in the MCU. Truth be told, you can consider him to be a serious player in the Marvel Universe in any way.

When Gwenpool seeks his help as a private investigator, she makes fun of him using his comic history and how he disappeared for a long time. However, Howard seems unfazed by any mockeries, making it seem like he already knows. He clarifies that though all of it was comics, it was real to him. On many other occasions, he can also be seen speaking directly to the readers. 

#8 Lobo

#8 Lobo - Comic Book Characters Who Broke The Fourth Wall

Broke the Fourth Wall In: Lobo – Bounty Hunter for Fun & Profit
Count: 1+

Lobo is one of the mains. There is no doubt about it. The Czarian Bounty is so cool that the entire DC Universe is his world, and everyone else is just living in it. Come on, he is a space bounty hunter that rides a space chopper bike. How does it get any cooler?

The rest of the people on this list know of their comic book existence because they suddenly become aware or have a high amount of power that grants them this knowledge. Lobo is just badass.

During the events of ‘Lobo: Bounty Hunter for Fun and Profit,’ the space biker talks directly to the audience and gives us a glimpse of what it is to be a Bounty Hunter. He even gives 1-on-1 lessons to a reader who accidentally gets killed. It’s a Lobo comic. There are bound to be dead people.

#7 Loki

#7 Loki - Comic Book Characters Who Broke The Fourth Wall

Broke the Fourth Wall In: Deadpool (1997) #37
Count: 2+

Of the two brothers, Loki is the smart one, while Thor is more of a ‘hammer things’ guy. The God of Mischief knows how to navigate the ways of the world and how to snake his way into getting what he wants. The question here is – Is Loki smart enough to become self-aware? Turns out that he just might be. 

Loki has chipped away at the fourth wall on many occasions. One such instance that stands out is in a Deadpool comic. The trickster is the first to reveal to Deadpool that a man on a typewriter was the creator of their world. He even looks at the audience and gives them a little grin. There have been many instances of Loki exhibiting self-awareness, and it’s pretty clear he knows what he is. Guess you can’t trick the trickster God, eh?

#6 Dr. Manhattan 

#6 Dr. Manhattan - Comic Book Characters Who Broke The Fourth Wall

Broke the Fourth Wall In: The Watchmen #1
Count: 1+

This might be a bit of speculation, but hear us out. Dr. Manhattan is a member of the Watchmen and one of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe. His powers are unimaginable, and the extent to which he can go is unknown. We see him obliterate people with just a thought. Overpowered. 

Now, if you read the Watchmen or even watch the movie, it starts with Rorschach’s journal. Direct readings from the Journal, and then we’re introduced to Dr. Manhattan. From that point onwards, we are in his head. The Doctor is narrating the story of his life and everything that came to be. 

Here is the thing, what if he knew that we were watching? Why else would he narrate everything that happens for the entirety of this story? A strong case can be made for this. Dr. Manhattan’s mind is said to have expanded beyond anything we could comprehend. After spending years as a hero, he became pure energy and only kept his human form for the sake of it. He could travel dimensions with his mind and create universes with a thought. We do not know how far beyond his mind is gone, and it would not be far-fetched to think that Dr. Manhattan was narrating the story with the knowledge that we were reading/watching. 

Wouldn’t a God know?

#5 Joker

#5 Joker - Comic Book Characters Who Broke The Fourth Wall

Broke the Fourth Wall In: Emperor Joker #1
Count: 5+

Joker is as insane as insane gets. His mind is just as chaotic as his action, and in his words, he is ‘differently sane.’ We’re not sure what that means, but we know that the Clown Prince of Crime is among the worst/ the best criminals in the DC Universe. He considered himself the opposite and the arch nemesis of Batman, and that he lived to improve the Caped Crusader. Joker has beaten Batman many times, and that is no easy feat. Any man that can outthink The Dark Knight deserves praise. So, then what is it? Is he insane or a genius of sorts?

He might just be both. 

There are many comic strips where we see the Joker talking directly to the audience, referencing other comic books, and sometimes even turning the page of the comic book for the audience. A general hypothesis is that the Joker knows that he is a comic character and that his actions have no real consequence. He believes he can do what he wants because it does not matter in the end. 

#4 Gwenpool

#4 Gwenpool - Comic Book Characters Who Broke The Fourth Wall

Broke the Fourth Wall In: The Unbelievable Gwenpool #1
Count: All the time

Gwenpool is much like Deadpool. Except he accidentally ended up on Earth 616 from a Universe where superheroes only existed in comic books. So, something similar to our universe. When Gwenpool arrived on this mysterious planet, she realized that she somehow had powers and needed a costume. Gwenpool walks into the nearest costumes store and, voilà, gets her name and costume done. 

Among her many abilities, she possesses self-awareness. Like Deadpool, Gwenpool knows that she is a comic book character. She narrates everything that is going on to the readers and even stops to talk directly to the audience. In one of her comics, Gwenpool can even poke a hole through the comic panels and sees herself. How crazy is that?

Since Gwenpool knows that she is fictional, nothing matters to her, and she does as she pleases. Much like Deadpool. The only difference is that she has not tried to kill the entire Marvel Universe. Yet.

#3 She-Hulk

#3 She-Hulk - Comic Book Characters Who Broke The Fourth Wall

Broke the Fourth Wall In: The Sensational She-Hulk, 1989
Count: 7+

Before Deadpool made breaking the fourth wall cool, She-Hulk was doing it. She was one of the first characters to do it to that scale. Sure, The Fantastic Four had their moments, but with She-Hulk, John Bryne went for it. On the cover for the first issue of the “Sensational She-Hulk,” She-hulks says she would rip up their X-men comics if the readers didn’t buy her book. This theme seems to follow suit with almost all the following issue covers. We see She-Hulk even reading Hulk comics in some of them.

The fourth wall shattering is taken even further when She-Hulk expresses her displeasure with how John Bryne was writing her and then proceeds to talk directly to him, criticizing his work. This is portrayed so well. We get to see this aspect of She-Hulk make it to the new Disney+ series as well, and that, too, is done very tastefully. 

She-Hulk continues demonstrating her awareness, and many of the comics that came after always featured some level of fourth wall breaking.

#2 Mister MXYZPTLK

#2 Mister MXYZPTLK - Comic Book Characters Who Broke The Fourth Wall

Broke the Fourth Wall In: Mr. Mxyptlk and Bat-Mite
Count: 5+

Mr. Mxyzptlk is a fifth-dimensional being and one of the most powerful beings in existence. His abilities are limitless, but he is not truly evil. He simply likes toying with Superman and giving him a run for his money. As a being from a higher dimension, the happenings of the JLA dimension are of little consequence to him, and he just wants to have fun. His profound powers have many colors, allowing him to know what he is and that he is a comic book character. 

With his power, he can see and travel all other dimensions; ours is also travelable to him. The interdimensional imp travels to our reality during a comic featuring Bat-mite. Once there, they are baffled by the 3D world and go on to see a comic book writer creating all these different worlds. This came after a battle between Bat-mite and Mr. Mxyzptl, destroying all the other universes and worlds. 

#1 Deadpool

#1 Deadpool - Comic Book Characters Who Broke The Fourth Wall

Broke the Fourth Wall In: Deadpool kills the Marvel Universe #1
Count: Unlimited

We top this list off with none other than the merc with a mouth. If we’re talking fourth walls, no one breaks it like Deadpool. Anyone alive right now knows who Deadpool is, and the movies have made him one of the most famous comic characters ever. The Deadpool movies gave us one of the most tasteful depictions of how the Fourth wall can be broken. How Deadpool can do this is still a question. He just can, and boy, does it work well.

Wade Wilson, the merc with a mouth, is a deadly assassin and occasional member of the X-men. He is also immortal and is almost unkillable. There are so many versions of how Deadpool acquires his powers but also his self-awareness. He constantly looks directly at the audience and speaks to them, giving a sort of running commentary on the ongoing events. The “Deadpool kills the Marvel Universe” storyline is one instance where his awareness goes wrong. 

The story starts with the Watcher describing what is going on. Deadpool is tortured, and as a result, his self-awareness is awakened. This makes him even crazier than he usually is, and he decides that since the entire comic world has no real meaning, he kills everyone, literally. Every central hero and villain is murdered by Deadpool, and he feels no remorse for it. We know it’s very dark. 

However, usually, the awareness that Deadpool possesses is simply inserted for humor. No one does it better. 

Honorable Mentions

  • Iron Man
  • Etrigan the Demon
  • Slapstick
  • President Superman
  • Bat-mite

With this, we have reached the end of our list of Comic characters who are self-aware. Seeing a comic character speaking directly to you or making a bizarre reference is always fun.


Which Marvel Characters Can Break the 4th Wall?

Deadpool and She-Hulk are examples of Marvel characters that can break the fourth wall. They often speak directly to the reader and leave the other characters around them confused about who they are talking to.

Which DC Character Breaks the Fourth Wall?

Mister MXYZPTLK breaks the fourth wall all the time. This interdimensional being is aware of himself and knows he is a comic book character. In a comic book that featured Bat-mite as well, the two imps visited the real world and proceeded to pretend like it never really happened.

Does Joker Break the 4th Wall?

The Joker has been known to break the fourth wall. Due to his insanity, he knows he is a comic book character. Joker uses this as an excuse for his actions as well. As long as he is a pawn in someone else’s story, his actions do not matter at the end of the day. 

Can Spider-Man Break the 4th Wall?

Yes, Spider-man has been known to break the fourth wall many times. He does not do so in the most obvious way, however. We can see small instances of Spider-man breaking the fourth wall when he references that he saw the Dark Knight movie about Batman.

It makes you wonder. What if we’re also characters in an elaborate book written by some other being? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Later, Nerds.