You know, we talk a lot about Marvel and DC here, and who could blame us? For decades, these two companies have amazed and entertained with fun stories and, of course, great characters. But with all talk of these two, we sometimes tend to forget some of the other great characters from other publishers. Courageous, dark, and just plain awesome are a few words that describe these heroes well. So, let’s not waste time as we honor eight of the best non-Marvel/DC superheroes!
1. The Tick!
First up is the big blue defender of the city of….uh…“The City”…we have, The Tick! Super-strong, completely invulnerable, and the consummate wielder of “drama power”, Tick’s powers help make up for his lack of brains.
Sure, the big guy is something of a naïve bumbler at times, but it comes from a good place. At the end of the day, the Tick just wants to be superhero and do some good.
Despite his goofy attitude, he does manage to save the day every time, and in a city practically overstuffed with other superheroes, that’s impressive.
When evil rears its ugly head, you can always expect the Tick and his sidekick Arthur to charge in with a very unique battle cry: SPOOOOOOOOOOON!
2. The Green Hornet!
Newspaper publisher by day, crime-fighter by night, the Green Hornet’s a costumed hero who takes a slightly different approach to crime fighting. Using the media’s negative perception of him, he gets close to the criminal underworld to take them down from the inside.
The Green Hornet is skilled in hand-to-hand combat, armed with cool gadgets (like his signature gas gun) to help him take on the bad guys. The icing on the cake is his master martial artist sidekick, Kato, and his awesome car.
“The Black Beauty” is tricked out with armor, the ability to camouflage, and all sorts of gadgets and weapons. All these things help the Green Hornet stand out among all the other fedora-wearing crime fighters out there. I gotta’ get me one of those souped-up cars!
3. X-O Manowar!
So, what would you get if you crossed Thor with Iron Man? Not entirely sure, but Aric of Dacia in his X-O armor is pretty close!
A warrior of the Visigoths, Aric was abducted by aliens and forced into slavery. Aric escaped by stealing the sentient armor Shanhara, only to find that he was now stuck in the 21st century.
Aric is an amazing fighter, skilled in both armed and unarmed combat, but he becomes nearly unstoppable in his X-O armor, boasting increased strength, speed, flight, energy blasts, swords, shields and soooo much more!
Aric’s been involved in many battles with entire alien armadas and has walked away victorious every time! Whether it’s Earth or Space, when you need a one-man army you can always count on Aric of Dacia.
The BPRD’s finest agent and possible bringer of Armageddon!
Accidently summoned to Earth as a baby, Hellboy was raised by Professor Bruttenholm of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. The demon ended up growing up to become the world’s best paranormal investigator.
Ever since, Hellboy fought all kinds of crazy monsters and demons with his belt of mystical relics and a big revolver. When those aren’t enough, he received help from his friends at the BPRD, like the fish-man Abe Sapien and the pyrokinetic Liz Sherman.
Hellboy’s adventures take creepy turns into the strange and dark corners of the occult. You can say he “went to hell and back.” Literally.
He also has some of the most terrifying enemies you’ve ever seen! If there’s something inexplicable going “BUMP” in the night, then you can definitely call Hellboy for his “expertise” in the paranormal.
Betrayed and killed by his best friend and reborn as a demon, Spawn proves that death isn’t always final!
Since his resurrection, Spawn acquired a number of demonic powers that compliment his soldier training, which is perfect for fighting common criminals, cyborgs, and all sorts of demons.
Needless to say, Spawn’s been around the block, fighting enemies originating from Earth, Heaven and Hell! He even managed to kill the demon-lord of Hell who was responsible for turning Al Simmons into a Hellspawn, and creating the demon-lord’s demon-clown henchman, the Violator!
And let’s not overlook the time that Spawn took on both Satan and God and saved the world from Armageddon. That’s quite the detail to include on your résumé!
6. Judge Dredd!
In Mega-City One, he is the law; he is the best of the Street Judges; he is Judge Dredd!
Dredd is the perfect cop for a future that demands unwavering order. He puts his duty above all else and has very little tolerance for law breakers.
Dredd is an expert marksman, and his natural shooting acumen is magified by his multi-faceted signature sidearm, the Law Giver!
Judge Dredd has saved his city countless times from many threats, including his own brother and even the undead.
Though you never see Dredd’s face, he stands as a symbol of law and order. If you’re a criminal of Mega-City One, you can run, but you’ll never run fast enough to escape Judge Dredd!
Mark Grayson was just a normal kid until he found out that his dad was from space. Not only that, but he was also a superhero known as Omni-Man!
Eventually, Mark developed his father’s powers and took to the streets to fight crime as Invincible. Fighting alongside the other superheroes of his world, Invincible became a big name in the hero community.
From mad scientists to alien invaders, Invincible has tangled with just about every kind of villain you could imagine. Even after a defeat, Invincible always got back up. Not even the shocking revelation about his heritage (which I won’t spoil here) kept him down for very long.
But Mark’s more than just a do-gooder in a costume who fights bad guys; he is also a relatable character. Despite his weird situation, he still goes through some of the same struggles we all experience. We watch him deal with everyday struggles, and small existential crisis while attempting to “do the right thing.” Because we relate to him, it’s all the more satisfying when we see him succeed, and heartbreaking when he fails.
Does he always make the right call? Well, no, but who really does? Mark is a superhero, but his priority is to be a better person.
8. All the Heroes of Astro City!
In a city that’s crawling with superheroes, it’s hard to choose just one. So, I think all the heroes of Astro City deserve a spot on this list.
From the powerful Samaritan to the ghostly Hanged Man, heroes of all shapes and sizes roam the streets of this fine city. Some are role models, while others are reckless vigilantes. Some are symbols of good, while others are just trying to live life like you and me.
Many different threats try to attack Astro City, but its many heroes are there to protect it. Their stories take on many forms and with many messages. These stories are about fame, second chances, morality, or even just how we view superheroes themselves. No matter what we see them do, we’re just happy to be along for the ride.
Was there someone I missed? Who’s your favorite non-Marvel/DC superhero? Let me know in the comments below!