Top 10 Independent Comic Book Anti-Heroes

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Anti-heroes, perhaps the most beloved of all comic book characters, dangerously tread the line between hero and villain. They are prominent in the modern age of comics and are among some of the most popular characters ever. So, which of characters deserve the title of greatest? It’s certainly debatable – even if you eliminate Marvel and DC, the two most successful and well known comic book companies, you are left with some of the greatest anti-heroes and some difficult decisions. Here is my list of top 10 anti-heroes: (Editor’s Note: Here is the Anti-Hero list with Marvel & DC characters.)

10. Shadow the Hedgehog

Comic series: Sonic the Hedgehog, Publisher: Archie Comics

Weapons/Powers

Skilled at hand to hand combat, proficiency with firearms, can skate up to speeds that rival Sonic’s, space-time manipulation, chaos spears/beams/blasts, and the ability to transform into Super Shadow.

Story

Professor Gerald Robotnic created Shadow using genes from Sonic and alien DNA in an attempt to create the world’s ultimate life-form. Despite being immensely powerful, his initial purpose was to provide genes capable of curing the deathly ill, specifically Gerald’s granddaughter Maria. However, before his completion, Maria was viciously gunned down. He then awoke upon completion with no knowledge of his identity. Furious at the doctor for not providing him this information, he attempted to destroy the earth; but complications arose and he ended up saving the earth instead. He then continued in a search for his past, while rivaling Sonic every step of the way.

Why He’s On The List

His immense power due to his connection to the chaos force and his contribution to the depth of the series puts him on this list. Shadow alone provided the series with several adoring fans, and has inspired hundreds of fan-fic stories. He is arguably the most powerful character in the sonic universe and has an enormous fan base… despite being a total rip-off of Prince Vegeta from the Dragon ball series.

9. Boba Fett

Comic Series: Star Wars, Publisher: Dark Horse

Warning! Video is awesome but lyrics NSFW.

Weapons/Powers
Skilled combatant, proficiency with firearms, impressive athletic ability, a variety of tools and equipment for different circumstances, and a jetpack.

Story

Boba Fett was a Mandalorian warrior and bounty hunter, the clone child of the famous Jango Fett. Growing up he gained his vast knowledge of fighting and resourcefulness by traveling the galaxy with his bounty hunter father. This lasted until a swarm of Jedi rescued Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Padme Amidala on Geonosis. During the battle his father was killed by Mace Windu, and Boba Fett swore revenge, intent on following in his father’s footsteps.

Why He’s On The List

Due to his personality and effectiveness as a bounty hunter, Fett has gained a massive cult following, more so than almost everyone else on the list. He isn’t nearly as powerful as anyone else on the list, but due to his immense fan base, he deserves a spot.

8. Piccolo Jr.

Comic Series: Dragon Ball/Z, Publisher: Shonen Jump

Weapons/Powers

Superhuman strength, speed, and hearing, regenerative powers, telepathy, limb extension, growth powers, conjuring powers, flight, and mastery of Ki (which provides him with countless energy based attacks).

Story

Son and reincarnation of the Namekian: Piccolo “The Demon King” Daimao, Piccolo’s main goal is to avenge the death of his father at the hands of Son Goku, the planet’s greatest hero. He joined the 23rd Annual World Martial Arts Tournament with the hopes of killing Goku, but he was defeated. His plans for world domination ended 5 years later when Goku’s long lost brother Raditz appeared from space and revealed Goku’s status as a member of the saiyan race. Realizing that this challenged his plans, Piccolo teamed up with Goku to take down Raditz and ended up killing both of them. After Raditz’s defeat, Piccolo discovered that the Saiyans: Vegeta and Nappa were en route to Earth to gather the Dragon balls, and was again forced to protect the world. This was the first of a series of threats that eventually led Piccolo to drop his plans for world domination and join the ranks of the Z fighters as one of earth’s protectors.

Why He’s On The List

His phenomenal turnaround. He was the most powerful villain of Dragon Ball, but due to his forced participation in universe-saving endeavors, the presence of the good natured Z-fighters rubbed off on him, not to mention joining bodies with the good Namekians: Kami and Nail. He is a popular character in the DBZ universe, and by the end of the storyline, one of the most powerful.

7. Stanley Ipkiss AKA: The Mask

Comic Series: The Mask, Publisher: Dark Horse

Weapons/Powers

Near invincibility, reality warping powers (similar to that of a cartoon character).

Story

Stanley Ipkiss was a weak neurotic man living an average lifestyle, until he found the mask of Loki. Not knowing what it was he got the urge to try it on and transformed into Bighead, AKA the Mask. The mask brought forth his inner desires, making him a dangerous vigilante. He used the mask to fight the dangerous mob bosses who held the city in a death grip, but had virtually no control of his actions. As the Mask bounces around from person to person, (with the mask only as dangerous as the wearer) it would eventually find its way back to Ipkiss every time.

Why He’s On The List

The Mask is probably the 2nd most powerful anti-hero on this list, with the reality warping powers of the mask limited only by the wearer’s imagination; it practically creates a fusion between the Green Lantern and the Hulk. Being virtually a cartoon character, the wearer is nearly invincible, and almost completely unstoppable.

6. Hellboy

Comic Series: Hellboy, Publisher: Dark Horse

Weapons/Powers

Superhuman strength, endurance, and healing, invulnerability to fire, very slow aging process (as described as reverse dog-years), proficiency with firearms, and the Right Hand of Doom (his right hand is made of invulnerable & indestructible red stone).

Story

Hellboy was a demon summoned to earth in his infancy by Nazis during WWII, as a means to turn the tide of war. They were stopped by a group of American soldiers and, due to his appearance, the demon was dubbed Hellboy. He was relocated to the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, and was used as their primary agent in defending the public from paranormal threats.

Why He’s On The List

Although many would argue that he is a superhero, not an anti-hero, it was prophesized that he was destined to cause the destruction of the earth. Also, his gruff attitude and personality resemble that of an anti-hero description, but the main reason he’s on this list is due to his popularity. He is one of, if not THE, most popular Dark Horse character, and has had two movies dedicated solely to him. Again, I reiterate that being destined to destroy the world counts for something as well.

5. Alexander Anderson

Comic Series: Hellsing, Publisher: Dark Horse

Weapons/Powers

Alex Anderson has a heavy arsenal of blessed blades (presumably he duplicates them), superhuman speed and strength, holy barriers (with which he can teleport through, and prevent the use of black magic or undead), regeneration, Helena’s Nail, and some control over plant life.

Story

Alexander Anderson is a paladin who works for the Iscariot Organization, rival monster-hunting group to Hellsing. Anderson carries an obsession for what appears to be his “crusade,” and compulsively quotes passages of the Bible as he speaks. He is extremely determined to achieve his end, usually by whatever means necessary. In battle, he is merciless and almost unstoppable due to his abilities. He often loses all control of himself much like his nemesis Alucard. Despite this, he can usually stop himself and focus on his missio.n His confrontations with Hellsing usually end in stalemate, until his last stand in which Alucard’s out of control behavior leads Anderson to decide it’s time to dispose of him. The battle destroys much of Hellsing’s forces, but ultimately costs Anderson his life at the hands of his nemesis.

Why He’s On This List

Though his goal is similar to rival group Hellsing, his motive is that of a holy crusade, and he is often fighting with Hellsing to complete his goals. He is very violent and is often carried away with his missions. Although his missions are for “holy” purposes of killing the undead for a holy crusade, it hardly seems holy, as this paladin is nearly as close to the definition of an anti-hero as you can get.

4. Max Damage

Comic Series: Incorruptible, Publisher: Boom! Studios

max-damage

Weapons/Powers

Superhuman strength and resistance (based on sleep, the longer he remains awake, the more powerful he is, however his brain functionality will eventually start to fail due to sleep deprivation, and his powers will reset after falling asleep).

Story

Originally, Max Damage was one of the most dangerous superhuman villains, there seemed to be nothing that could keep him and his sidekick Jailbait locked up. That is, however, until his greatest nemesis went rogue. The Plutonian supposedly arrived to stop Max from opening an invention similar to Pandora’s Box, but he then opened fire upon all civilians in the area, killing them all and glaring at Max before fleeing. That Glare changed his life, as he decided to turn from his villainous ways and protect the civilians since no one else would.

Why He’s On The List

He is almost a Duke Nukem style character, one that “kicks ass and chews bubble gum” in the name of America. Except not in America. Although being a former villain, he is a hero who doesn’t exactly want to be one, but has to since no one else will be.

3. Prince Vegeta

Comic Series: Dragon Ball Z, Publisher: Shonen Jump

Weapons/Powers

Superhuman strength, speed, and endurance, skilled hand-to-hand fighting skills, flight, mastery of Ki (providing him with countless energy based attacks), Super Saiyan/Super Saiyan (level) 2 transformations (the first providing a 500% power increase, and the second an additional 500%).

Story

Son of King Vegeta, Prince Vegeta is one of the sole survivors of the Saiyan Race, a species engineered for fighting. Captured as a child by the tyrant Frieza, he was molded into a ruthless killer for Frieza’s conquest purposes. He detested Frieza for killing his father, and was further enraged upon the discovery that he was responsible for the near extinction of the Saiyan race. He was eventually led to rebel against Frieza and plotted to overthrow him when he heard about the dragon balls via the death of fellow saiyan Raditz. He and his partner Nappa then traveled to earth to gather them so that Vegeta could wish for immortality, giving him a chance to overthrow Frieza and take his place. However, due to the combined efforts of the Z fighters, he was defeated and forced to return to Frieza base to heal. Afterwards he heard about Frieza’s plot to gather the dragon balls from Namek for the same purpose of immortality, so he came to Namek and destroyed virtually all of Frieza’s minions but died at the hands of Frieza, who was then killed by fellow saiyan Goku, the leader of the Z fighters. He was among those wished back to life from the dragon balls, and spent the rest of his life trying to surpass his new rival Goku. Eventually he came to see Goku as an ally and even a friend after accepting that he could never surpass him.

Why He’s On The List

By the end of Dragon Ball Z, he is one of the strongest fighters on earth. (Note: in the spinoff show Dragon Ball GT he reached the legendary status of Super Saiyan 4 and became the 2nd strongest character with the help of Bulma. However,  this storyine was non-canon, and therefore doesn’t count.) He is the most popular character of Dragon Ball Z, and greatly contributed to the success of the story. He is one of the most powerful characters on this list and is among the most popular, with a VERY large fanbase. He has numerous crossovers to other mangas/shows and is among the most parodied on this list.

2: Alucard

Comic Series: Hellsing, Publisher: Dark Horse

Weapons/Powers

Immortality/eternal youth (limited to the number of humans he devours, which number in the millions), superhuman strength and speed, regeneration/reformation, invulnerable to average vampire killing techniques, telepathy, shape-shifting, hypnotism, and the ability to absorb memories through blood. He is also restrained by a series of magic seals on his body (when all are removed, he can unleash his full power and use the power of all of the souls he’s devoured, effectively summoning them to his control), and can also make giant spikes come out of the ground.

Story

The vampire Dracula starts his career by fighting the Ottomans, believing that God does not reward prayer, but instead wants mortals to show their faith visibly. However, when his army is defeated and he is about to be executed, he gives up on God, thinking that God deserted him and so turns his back to God in turn. Upon his defeat, he is stabbed through the heart with a stake, but not killed. He then (it is unknown if it was forcibly or willingly) becomes a servant of the Van Helsing family. He, along with a young Walter C. Dornez, is sent to Warsaw, Poland to stop Millennium’s vampire production program. The father of Integra Fairbrook, Wingates Helsing, eventually imprisoned Alucard in a dungeon in the Hellsing manor, as he believed the vampire was too powerful to be used frequently. After 20 years of imprisonment, Integra’s blood awakened and resuscitated him. He rescued Integra from her traitorous uncle and became her servant, taking the name Alucard (Dracula spelled backwards) and became the Hellsing organization’s secret weapon (more or less their trump card).

Why He’s On The List

Anyone who’s seen or read Hellsing knows that Alucard is a total badass. He is the most powerful vampire to ever exist and, being an ancient vampire, doesn’t fall prey to normal Vampire weaknesses. He often loses all control of himself on missions and goes on a killing spree, showing not a single ounce of mercy. He is always hungry for battle, and is often angry when his opponents kill themselves. When in conflict he often taunts and belittles his opponents, making sure they are weakened and humiliated before killing them. He fights for the good of humanity, but often struggles with the monstrous tendencies of being a vampire. He considers himself and all other vampires inferior to humans, and often regrets his decision to become one. He almost inspires pity in the reader…that is, until he mercilessly slaughters flocks of characters.

1. Al Simmons AKA Spawn

Comic Series: Spawn, Publisher: Image Comics

Weapons/Powers

Spawn wears a living, sentient necroplasm-based symbiote suit, named Leetha of the 7th house of K (K7-Leetha). The suit feeds from the necroplasm in Spawn’s body and his cape, spikes, and chains are all part of an organism that is bonded to his central nervous system. As a result of this connection he can mentally manipulate the suit to perform shape-shifting feats. The suit also gives him superhuman strength, speed, endurance, movement, and healing. It also gives him the ability to control necro-magic, which in turn gives him the powers of teleportation, resurrection of the dead, control of the elements, and much more. He is empathic and can sense others emotions. He can feed off of the evil energy of the world, people, or animals. He is virtually immortal unless he is in a realm that cannot be affected by hell.

Story

Al Simmons was trained to be a deadly soldier, spy, and assassin. He proved numerous times to be the best of the best, until his morality got the better of him. After this inexcusable failure, his contract, and life, was terminated. He then made a deal with one of the demon lords of hell; he could see his family again if he became the captain of hell’s army. He was then reborn as a hell spawn. However he soon learned that this was a fate worse than death, so he swore revenge.

Why He’s On The List

He killed God. No shit, he killed God. In his quest for revenge he ended up dethroning both God and Satan, banished them from the earth, and took their places, wiping the universe clean, and then recreating it in his image, before willingly stepping down and returning to the rank of hellspawn. He has a large cult following, but even more importantly, he is the most powerful character on this list, having even been God at one point. He is a true anti-hero, and deserves the spot of #1

Well, that’s that. Those are my top 10 non Marvel or DC anti-heroes. Think I missed some? Please tell me in the comments if you think I left out an anti-hero who should’ve been on the list and we might add it to the Toptenz YouTube Playlist. But please, first check to make sure it’s not a character from Marvel or DC so you don’t make a fool of yourself.

By Daniel Jerz


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37 Comments

  1. Horrible top ten. two entries for Dragon Ball Z? WTF? And some people have never heard of. Only three belong there.

    What about Batman? Wolverine? or the ultimate Anti-Hero, The Punisher. Heck, where is Deadpool?

    Just a really bad list that is definitely not the top ten.

      • I would have had all of them on this list, but there was already a top 10 MArvel and DC comic book antiheroes list, and this was for the other comic book companies that got left out. I apologize for the confusion

        • Then why is it full of lame Anime/Manga characters??

          Also Boba Fett really? Why Not Angel or Spike or Faith while you at it?

          This list is fail.

          How about one without Manga/Anime or licences Characters.

          You got 3 there that belong. Spawn, The Mask (btw Ipkis dies in the first or second book). And Hellboy.

    • Our mistake, the title should have been changed before posting. New title should make everyone feel better. This is why we should ALL read the opening paragraph, it sets the stage for the list.

  2. Good lord. To the other people who commented: NON DC and Marvel.

    I, for one, thought this was a great top ten. I’m not a huge fan of comics (and unfortunately I HATE DBZ) but I still found this list interesting. I especially like the bit about Spawn. I didn’t know he killed God. That is hardcore.

  3. I would have traded one of your DBZ characters for Jackie Estecado/ The Darkness. Honestly this read like less of a “comic book anti-hero” list and more of a “Geek Anti-hero” list. And I’m a realllly big geek. I would have stuck to folks who are a bit more comic book based.

    • I was thinking the same.

      The Mask , Hellboy, Spawn and Max Damage are the only ones who belonged. Grendel and The Darkness should have been on the list.

      • The video game franchise though is based on a comic series. Sonic the Hedgehog is an extension of Archie Comics. Although, If I knew what I know now when wrote this list, I would definitely amke some changes. Sad to say, but Shadow would probably leave the list

  4. Great list! I would like to politely remind you that including John Constantine of hellblazer may be a wise suggestion.

  5. Lord Kira from death note, he was a god longer than Spawn, and could kill of of these anti-heros in about five minutes with any cod he wants

  6. Don’t forget, in Dragonball Z, even the weakest on the Z team make their version of God (king Yemma/Lord Enma) look like a pushover. Heck, even the god of the gods (Supreme Ki), probably wasn’t a match for Piccolo. And even if you argue that HIS boss (yeah, they went a little far out there), the top link of the whole universe, is more the equivalent of God, whether he was more powerful than Vageta is debatable. These guys had the ability to destroy the whole planet early in the series. Later, they had to worry about destroying it by accident while fighting.

  7. Argh, why are there so many dumb people asking where the Marvel/ DC characters are!?!?! read the title and opening paragraph!

    On the whole a fantastic list, especially like the the Mask. Spawn feels right at the top. My own list would read very similar but would have a few changes, maybe the inclusion of Keneda from Akira. Not especially powerful but super cool.

    PS huge thanks to the douche who decided he felt the postings would benefit with a spoiler regarding the Mask.

  8. yak the ripper on

    Some interesting names on the list but Indie’s best anti-heroes? Judge Dredd and Marshall Law….and Marshall Law is the grimiest comic ever…come on! Artist Kevin O’Neal’s STYLE was banned by comic code. Dude..that’s insanely punk!

  9. Jackie Estacado (The Darkness) definitely is a top 5 character on this list. Also, Jesse Custer? That dude defined anti-hero and he had a piece of God in him? He’s a John Constantine before John Constantine!

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