Marvel and DC characters are featured through various forms of media these days, thanks to the success of 21st century superhero movies. They have permeated mainstream consciousness, and compared to decades ago, it’s easy to find fellow comics fans.
The two comic book behemoths have done an incredible job of introducing the medium to a new generation of fans. Still, let’s not forget that other franchises were equally vital in the growth of the industry. Without further ado, here are a few great non-Marvel/DC titles to check out:
Saga recently reached its 50th issue, a feat that writer Brian K. Vaughan thought he and the creative team would never reach. Polygon noted that it’s an impressive milestone, given that Saga does not feature a prominent comics figure and is not connected to an expanded universe. The series is often described as a mix between Star Wars and Game of Thrones, combining sci-fi and fantasy elements into a space epic. It’s about a war between a planet and a moon, with no clear distinction of which side is good and which is evil. If you want to take a break from superhero storylines, Saga is a recommended option.
The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead TV series may be hogging the spotlight, but the source material is noteworthy in its own right. If you thought the show can already drive you mad, then you’ll find Robert Kirkman’s comics to be even more stressful. There are more disturbing scenarios and the illustrations are as graphic as they can be. If you want to delve deeper into the zombie hole, read the comics.
Fables may have ties with DC since it’s published by Vertigo Comics, but the latter was established to create more mature content that do not fit under the DC label. In this regard, Vertigo can be considered a separate entity.
That being said, Fables is a modern take on fairy tales and folklore. Characters such as Prince Charming, Snow White, etc., have formed a secret community in New York City after being driven out of their homelands by an enemy simply known as ‘The Adversary’. Aside from the conflict between two worlds, the series also deals with the characters’ personal lives. Fables was already concluded in 2015, but if you weren’t able to pick it up, now’s the time to do it.
Here’s a superhero (or rather, anti-hero) who’s made it without hitching a ride under the DC or Marvel banner. Much like the respective universes of the Big Two, Hellboy’s mythos is expansive and it deals with all sorts of beings imaginable. The character explores different cases as an operative of the fictional international agency, Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD).
Hellboy rose to fame with the help of Guillermo Del Toro’s film adaptations. Since then, the half-demon has become as prominent as DC and Marvel characters, and has enjoyed numerous offshoots. In addition to the movies, Hellboy is a popular model for action figures and a downloadable character in the fighting game Injustice 2. The franchise appears in other niches as well, including browser games. Dark Horse Comics, the official publisher of the series, collaborated with online platform Slingo to release the Hellboy slot game, which puts Mike Mignola’s creation front and center. It’s a relatively recent addition, seeing as Hellboy is gaining renewed fame brought mainly by anticipation for the upcoming big screen reboot of the series. Hollywood Reporter specified that the new Hellboy movie will come out on Jan. 11, 2019, with Stranger Things star David Harbour as the titular character. Hellboy’s current influence is already impressive as it is, but you’ll be drawn even further to the series as you follow the adventures of the ‘Right Hand of Doom’, which are beautifully presented in the comics. The masterful illustrations are sewn together by a narrative that focuses on action and mystery, and the result is a visual spectacle that grips the reader.
To truly immerse yourself in the realm of the “World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator,” grab copies of Mignola’s magnum opus.