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Top 10 Superheroes Outside Marvel and DC

VO: RB WRITTEN BY: Derick Mcduff
Written by Derick McDuff Marvel and DC aren’t the only games in town. Welcome to, today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 comic book superheroes not from Marvel or DC. For this list, we’re looking at super-powered heroes who exists outside of the Marvel and DC continuities. Offshoots of DC and Marvel, such as the Vertigo imprint, or characters that were originally from another company, but are currently owned by one of the two don’t qualify for the list. Thanks to our user Leo Lazar Jakšić for the idea! Have an idea you want to see made into a WatchMojo video? Check out our suggest page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and submit your idea.

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Marvel and DC aren’t the only games in town. Welcome to, today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 comic book superheroes not from Marvel or DC.

For this list, we’re looking at super-powered heroes who exist outside of the Marvel and DC continuities. Offshoots of DC and Marvel, like the Vertigo imprint, or characters that were originally from another company, but are currently owned by one of the two, don’t qualify for the list.

#10: X-O Manowar
This one’s equal parts Conan the Barbarian and Mega Man. Before he had the suit that transformed him into X-O Manowar, Aric of Dacia was a warlike prince in 5th century Europe. Knowing nothing but war his entire life, he defended his Visigoth people against the oppressive Roman Empire – that is, until a much larger threat arrived. Seven years after he was taken as a slave by the invading aliens known as The Vine, Aric led a revolt and became the first person to successfully survive bonding with the suit. By the time he returned to Earth, Aric discovered that over a thousand years had passed, so he decided to use his suit to fight The Vine and other super-powered threats in his new present.

#9: The Mask
Super? Definitely. Hero? That’s debatable. The Mask refers to both the physical object itself, as well as the character who puts it on. A wearer of the Mask receives near limitless power and a total loss of all inhibitions, in addition to a green skin tone. While the film adaptation starring Jim Carrey (as well as its less than amazing sequel) had a somewhat lighthearted tone, the original comic was decidedly darker. Regardless of the original intent; while transformed into The Mask, characters became incredibly chaotic and violent, and act either as anti-heroes or, in some cases, just plain villains. The comic played on the dual nature of humanity and the darker side within all of us, and drew inspiration from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

#8: The Spirit
Here’s a classic superhero that originated in Sunday Newspaper Comics. Created by Will Eisner, the Spirit first appeared back in 1940 when the comic book industry was in its infancy. The masked hero, whose costume is simply a hat, nice suit, and domino mask, would be imitated for decades. The stories of this good-natured crime fighter featured mystery, crime, suspense, and noir tropes, along with a multitude of other genres. Many of his tales don’t actually focus on his alter ego, detective Danny Colt, and instead make the comics simply about the superhero himself. Still in print today, The Spirit has a history as rich and long as nearly every character in DC and Marvel.

#7: The Tick
An affectionate parody of superheroes, The Tick is a good-natured crime fighter with a mysterious past. Of course, mysterious here simply means he can’t remember his past. Playing on the many tropes of the genre, Tick protects his hometown, simply called The City, works for a newspaper, and has a trusty sidekick. Many of the supporting characters, both heroic and villainous, are direct parodies of DC and Marvel properties, and are just as ludicrous as The Tick. The surreal character has proven so popular and hilarious that he’s been adapted to television a number of times, including a Saturday morning cartoon in 1994 and couple of live-action adaptations.

#6: Witchblade
Like “the Mask,” Witchblade refers both to the magical item and the one who wears it. For millennia, the mystical gauntlet known as Witchblade had bonded with female hosts to fight supernatural evil. While there have been a number of Witchblades, the most famous was the New York homicide detective Sara Pezzini. Imbued with fantastic abilities and supernatural powers, Sara fights against the dark forces of the world, most of the time with their strings being pulled by the nefarious Kenneth Irons. While some fanboys may like Witchblade for her… outfit, the series is also beloved for its strong female protagonists.

#5: Judge Dredd
The breakout character of the post-apocalyptic science fiction comic series 2000 AD; Dredd acts as judge, jury, and executioner in the crime ridden Mega-City One. Seen as both a symbol of justice and of authoritarianism due to his uncompromising and strict adherence to the law, Judge Dredd can be seen as heroic, badass, and horrifying all once. Much of his allure has to do with the character’s stoicism and the simple fact that he never removes his helmet, giving him a detached personality. He’s even been adapted to film twice, and while 1995’s Judge Dredd was a major disappointment, the 2012 reboot - simply called Dredd - proved to be the film fans had been waiting for.

#4: Spawn
After becoming a well-known writer and artist on Spider-man, Todd McFarlane was among a group of comic book artists that shocked the industry in 1992 when they created Image Comics to compete with Marvel and DC. McFarlane’s Spawn was easily the new publisher’s most popular hero, as well as one of the most popular superheroes introduced in the ‘90s in general. By decade’s end, Spawn ended up getting a pretty bad film and a really awesome TV adaptation. Both reveal the character’s dark and twisted backstory, where a CIA agent is killed and sent to Hell before coming back with terrible powers. That paired with his brutal methods, war on gangs and quest for vengeance, makes him a perfect anti-hero.

#3: Invincible
Mark Grayson, aka Invincible, has powers reminiscent of golden age superheroes, but the issues Mark deals with are complex and perfect for the modern day. A half alien and son of the Superman-like Omni Man, Mark is forced to deal with being a child of two worlds while developing powers like super strength, super speed, and flight – all by the time he turns 17. What’s more, he’s also must become a protector of Earth. Despite his abilities and the fact that Mark normally battles aliens, he somehow remains a relatable character who must deal with college, dating and family drama.

#2: Hellboy
After spending years as one of the best inkers in the business, Mike Mignola created his own superhero: the unconventional Hellboy. As Hellboy was a creator-owned character, Mignola had creative control over the hero, allowing him to fully realize his vision of a literal demon struggling to be a force for good in the world. First appearing in the ‘90s, Hellboy’s quick and sarcastic wit, unique plots and villains, and brilliant art style made the superhero stand out in a time when the “Big Two” were struggling to put out compelling stories.

Before we unmask our top pick here are a few honorable mentions:
- Shadowman
- Savage Dragon
- Green Hornet

#1: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
These sewer dwelling pizza-loving amphibians that protect New York City using ninjutsu became a humongous phenomenon in the ‘80s and ‘90s and their popularity continues to this day. And let us tell you: the Turtles have been adapted to film and TV more times than you can shake a bo staff at. While many adaptations keep the turtles’ personalities; the dark tone, which both parodies and pays homage to Daredevil and comics at the time, has been toned down for a mainstream audience. With the series’ four distinct characters, everyone has a favorite turtle whether it’s the noble Leonardo, the brave Raphael, the introspective Donatello, or the fun-loving Michelangelo.


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