The 10 Best Comic Book Antiheroes of All Time

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Antiheroes are an essential part of the comic book ecosystem. For years, corporations had heroes who could go a little further than others, but they were always obviously heroes; it wasn’t until the 1970s and the rise of the anti-hero in movies like dirty harry and death wish that the comics really embraced the concept. Since then, it’s been on the run, as some of Marvel, DC, Image, and Dark Horse’s most popular characters are anti-heroes.

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It’s hard to even imagine the comics industry without them these days. Antiheroes are everywhere in comic books, their popularity helping some of the greatest franchises of all time create memorable stories.

ten Sin City’s Marv is a crime comics icon

by Frank Miller city ​​of sin brought crime comics back to the forefront in the 90s. The crime-ridden town of Basin was the perfect backdrop, and Miller’s cast of characters shone through sharp diamonds on the screen. raw state. The most popular was Marv, a hulking villain of square muscle, a violent thug with memory issues and a heart of gold.

Marv hit readers with the first story he starred in, “The Hard Goodbye.” he would become the poster for city ​​of sin, returning in three later stories set before the first. He best exemplified the show’s violent ethos and helped propel it to dizzying heights.

9 Return of the Winter Soldier found a way to make Bucky interesting for modern audiences

Bucky Barnes was an important part of the Captain America legend, but mostly for his death. For years, an unwritten Marvel rule was that Bucky stay dead, but that rule was broken in 2005. Returning as the mysterious Winter Soldier, Bucky battled his former mentor before Cap could redeem him. and bring him back to heroism.

Since then, the Winter Soldier has walked the fine line between hero and assassin, acting as Captain America for a time before becoming the Winter Soldier again. The character’s popularity in the comics led to success in the MCU, making him one of the most well-known antiheroes in comics.

8 Red Hood is the black sheep of the Batman family

Jason Todd was bad boy Robin, a rougher, more violent version of the classic sidekick that fans weren’t exactly enamored with. Notoriously killed by fan vote in “A Death In The Family,” Todd would return as Red Hood in 2005, a banner year for returning dead sidekicks seeking revenge against Batman and the Joker. Eventually, he would become a hero again and join the Bat-Family.

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Red Hood may have been on the side of the angels again, but he kept his more violent ways. Since then, he’s had several ongoing series, led his own team of outlaws, and taken on heroes and villains because of his attitude and methods.

Image Comics was a powerhouse in the 1990s, and a big reason for that was Spawn. The brainchild of superstar writer/artist Todd McFarlane, Spawn was the perfect example of young company; big cape, big chains, spikes and bad attitude. A resurrected assassin in a cruel deal with the demon Malebolgia, Spawn immediately struck a chord with readers in the ’90s.

Since then, Spawn’s horror-tinged anti-hero adventures have wowed fans. The character is one of the few Image characters to be released continuously since the company’s inception, and Spawn can still set sales records even thirty years after its heyday.

6 Deathstroke has always been more anti than a hero

Deathstroke quickly became the most popular Teen Titans villain, a super-soldier-enhanced mercenary who was a threat to the entire team. Leading his own series, Deathstroke’s gory adventures saw him branch out after battling the Titans and embark on the path of anti-hero. However, he was just as likely to return to villainy as anything else.

Deathstroke embodies the antihero ethos more than most antiheroes; he’s a morally reprehensible man in a world of brilliant lucky beauties, and his only motivation for doing good is money and a twisted sense of morality.

5 The Punisher is one of the grandfathers of comic antiheroes

The Punisher started out as an assassin hired to pursue Spider-Man, but became much more than that. Its simple design and tragic backstory resonated with readers, and it had become part of Marvel’s big anti-hero punch that started the trend. Since then, the Punisher has starred in amazing stories that stretch the definition of the word “hero” and delve deep into his fractured psyche.

The Punisher’s popularity has gone up and down over the years, but he’s an important part of the foundation of the anti-hero trope. He had plenty of forgettable stories that were just violent antics, but his best stories always explored ideas of violence and revenge in a more thoughtful way than most would have imagined from the guy in the shirt. skull.

4 Black Adam’s ultra-violent methods made him a star

Black Adam spent years as a cartoonish villain battling Shazam, the first and former Captain Marvel, before JSA writers Geoff Johns and David S. Goyer turned him into an anti-hero superstar in the pages of their book. Black Adam quickly became a fan favorite, a man with an older moral code who went overboard with violence but had his reasons.

Fans have sympathized with Adam at every turn, and he’s become one of comics’ most popular antiheroes. Today, he follows a more heroic path than before, but he is still no paragon of virtue. He is a tough and pragmatic man ready to do anything to defeat evil.

3 Deadpool broke the anti-hero mold to become something special

Deadpool was originally created as a con Deathstroke, a cunning mercenary to fight the newly renamed X-Force. He gained popularity and eventually got a shot at becoming a solo star, which completely changed the character. While still an ultra-violent killer, humor took center stage, taking a cliched persona and making him a legend.

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Deadpool became the funniest anti-hero ever, a fourth-wall-breaking loon that fans loved. However, there was still a core of sadness in the character, which kept him from being a buffoon and allowed the writers to explore the pathos of Merc With A Mouth in a surprisingly thoughtful way.

2 Harley Quinn went from TV show sidekick to megastar

Harley Quinn has had a long and strange journey to stardom. Debuting as the Joker’s girlfriend in the classic Batman: The Animated Series, his violent gangster moll at the mercy of a monstrous psychopath immediately made waves with viewers. Eventually moving into the comics, she bounced between being Joker’s battered love interest and one of the DC Universe’s most irredeemable heroes before settling into her anti-hero niche.

Harley Quinn has become an icon like a few select anti-heroes before her. His violent antics and over-the-top humor are a thin veneer on one of the DC Universe’s most interesting characters. Harley’s struggles to leave the abuse and torment of the Joker behind to find love and acceptance make her quite unlike most other anti-heroes before or since.

1 Wolverine made anti-heroes the greatest thing in comics

Wolverine is the best at what it does, which is selling comics. The knockout of Marvel’s first anti-hero punch alongside the Punisher, Wolverine helped propel the X-Men to stardom and has since become one of the most popular comic book characters of all time. . He embodied the anti-hero ethos to perfection, a haunted and violent man with a heart of gold who never stopped fighting to be better.

Wolverine has been many things over the years – a samurai warrior-poet, a gruff soldier, a skilled black ops assassin and a pivotal superhero of the Marvel Universe – but at his core he’s still the best and the most important anti-hero of comic books. His popularity is more rabid than ever, and without him, the comic anti-hero would never have become the force he did.


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