When the basic job profile of someone revolves around committing crimes, you do end being put in prison. Similar concepts are followed in comic books too, but comic books make these prisons iconic. Not for the location, but for the kind of criminals and outlaws they house. These prisons across the comic universe have been extremely popular and have been equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, to ensure the criminals who get sentenced to these prisons may never see another light of the day. Here is a list of the top 10 comic book prisons, known across the comic fandom.
In the alternate timeline of ‘Kingdom Come’, Superman is forced out of his retirement as the new emerging next-gen superheroes are none other than a bunch of low-life thugs. The villainous “heroes” are sent to the Gulag prison for the atonement of their crimes against superman and the people of earth.
The real prison in upstate New York served as the humble abode for Rorschach’s confinement until his consequent escape in Watchmen. It is here that he made the classical retort to all the prisoners around him, which quoted him saying “None of you seem to understand. I’m not locked in here with you. You’re locked in here with me”, right after hurling hot food grease on some guy’s face in the prison cafeteria.
The Negative Zone/Project 42
During the ‘Civil War’ narrative, all the intellects of Earth-616 like Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, and Yellow Jacket come together and join forces to build a containment facility for all of their allies turned enemies. The worst thing about ‘Project 42’ is that, it is used by the writers of Marvel, to permanently kill off any character who nobody cares about and is to be eradicated permanently.
The Big House
If shrinking your enemies to the size of an ant, and storing them in a prison the size of an ant farm seems “cruel and an unusual punishment”. Then make certain of never to get on the bad side of ‘Ant-Man’, because that is what he does to criminals who mess with him. Shrink them and keep them in a prison ironically called ‘The Big House’, to keep these prisoners away from people. And don’t worry, in place of prison guards, he has ants patrolling the penitentiary.
This is the DC’s version of the Louisiana state penitentiary, where the most hardened criminals are sent to serve their life sentences. Inmates are allowed to go out from time to time, to complete missions which, involve serving for the greater good of mankind. In an attempt to reduce one’s sentence, by joining the suicide squad. Well, there is a reason the squad is given that name.
In the New Avengers, Marvel’s brightest gathered to create a facility that could be used to contain and house superpowered villains. The need for this prison was made felt by the individual called ‘Sentry’ who turned on his rioting partners and later joined the Avengers. With such powerful villains, one would require a super-powered prison.
Blackgate Penitentiary is the prison, where Gotham sends its sane criminals. The prison is built on top of a fault line, to ensure that in the event of an earthquake the criminals are the first to lose their lives. But to make matters worse every time the Arkham Asylum gets invaded or destroyed in a siege, the cellmates in Blackgate get new psychotic prison mates.
The Phantom Zone
The Phantom Zone is the detention facility and technology from the long-lost planet of Krypton, used to cast away criminals into an otherworldly state of nonexistence. This prison’s distinct style of torture, allows the prisoners to observe the physical plane, but not experience it first-hand.
Ryker’s Island is a real prison but, in the comics, it houses several street-level Marvel villains. It was once known to be inhabited by Punisher and Daredevil. One might not get thrown in with a super-powered supervillain, but the chances of getting stabbed with a prison-made knife are extremely high.
Technically Arkham is a mental health hospital for the bad guys, and because the hospital is 24×7 occupied by murderous inmates, it’s safer to call it a prison. The lethargic security and frequent breakouts may be appealing to the inhabitants of this prison. But the moment you arrive here you are put into a straitjacket, making one’s escape nearly close to impossible. Except, if you are the Joker, because then it won’t matter until the dark knight arrives.