Forget Superman, put Batman aside for a second and take a look at these ten awesome comic book characters. They may not have the mainstream love enjoyed by the Caped Crusader, but every single one of them offers readers something fresh, exciting or funny. From home-grown heroes to the best of the US we think this is the ultimate introductory guide to the Top Ten Comic Book Characters.
John Constantine (Hellblazer)
The comic book incarnation of John Constantine is as far removed from his movie counterpart as you could possibly imagine. The ‘real’ Constantine is a deadbeat chancer with sandy hair, a dirty beige trench coat and an addiction to supernatural trouble. Unlike most DC characters John has zip in the way of superpowers. A splash of demon blood might have helped him age a little more gracefully, but other than that this chain smoking, bar dwelling smart arse has to rely on his brain rather than brawn to save the day. Not that Constantine is always in favour of saving the day. His story arc is as dark as they come involving as they do madness, cancer, murder and monsters . . . lots and lots of monsters. Still, despite the horror he comes up against, Constantine is probably one of the wittiest anti-heroes around
Rick Grimes (The Walking Dead)
From everyman cop to leader of a ramshackle group of survivors trying to make their way in zombie infested America, Rick Grimes is a hero by accident rather than design. Tough, honest and always looking to do the right thing, Rick strives to be the best father, husband and friend he can be. However, in this apocalyptic world of the walking dead, that isn’t always easy. The right decision isn’t always a good decision and as Rick and his companions push their way out of Kentucky he has to break his strict moral code more than once to survive. The grim reality and apparent hopelessness of Rick’s world makes him a much more interesting and engaging character than most comic book protagonists.
The Tick (The Tick)
Blessed with brilliant levels of strength and durability the Tick is also encumbered with a severe lack of intelligence. Bumbling his way through the chaotic, crime ridden streets of ‘The City’, Tick is the ultimate superhero spoof. A real cult favourite, Tick moved into the mainstream first with a decent TV cartoon adaptation, then a live-action effort. Despite not having raised his antenna in a few years, his revered status remains thanks to the fact nobody has been able to fill the comedic comic book void in his absence.
The Sandman (Sandman)
A comic book series revolving around the guy who controls dreams might not sound like the most thrilling, but Neil Gaiman’s creation is rightly regarded as a classic. Surreal and spooky, Sandman’s story moves between the real world and the dream world. Starting off beat up and broken the Sandman must not only free himself from captivity but also return his realm to its former glory. At its heart this is a classic riches to rags and then back again tale. Yet the dour gothic atmosphere and imaginatively created universe combine to give the Sandman’s story a literally dreamlike quality . . . which we’d imagine is kinda what Gaiman was going for.
Judge Dredd (2000 AD)
There is something utterly awesome about the callous gun totting future law enforcement officer Judge Dredd. He’s the epitome of hardness, perhaps best likened to a sci-fi version of Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name from a ‘Fist Full of Dollars’. Dredd’s role is to serve as judge, jury and executioner in a dystopian city containing millions of murderers and mentalists. Unsurprisingly, it’s a winning combination when pencilled and inked. Stoic and grimly humorous, Dredd is a guilty pleasure for many. In fact the trigger happy, helmeted icon is set for another film outing this year as Mark Urban attempts to play the role Sly Stallone couldn’t.
Check back for Part II later on in the week.