DC ComicsComic books as a medium have the advantage of an unlimited creative budget: the stories, settings and characters are only constricted by the imaginations of the writers and artists. Of course, every title generally lives and dies on the strength of it’s main character: for every Batman, there’s an Adam X (Who? Exactly.) So why limit yourself to brooding and/or self righteous superheroes? Whilst superheroes are the most popular subject of comics and the first thing people think of when discussing the topic, there are so many Marvel, DC and creator owned books out there with lead characters that are far more unlikely. Maybe they’re superheroes with an unlikely power or personality, maybe they aren’t heroes at all. Some of the greatest and most enthralling comic book protagonists have had any form of heroism as the last thing on their minds and that made them all the more interesting. As a nice guide for you all then, we thought we’d provide ten incredibly unlikely protagonists for you all to educate yourselves with. The list just goes to show that you don’t need to be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound in order to entertain the reader.
10. John Constantine In Hellblazer
Vertigo ComicsOur first entry in the list is Liverpool’s own Hellblazer. Starting life as a supporting character during Alan Moore’s run on Swamp Thing in 1985, he served as a ‘supernatural advisor’ to the titular character. Depicted as a man with rather questionable morals, John Constantine is a hard drinking, world weary individual and he was written as such way before it was the cool thing to do. It was surprising at the time then, that Constantine got his own series and throughout the book, we got to find out more about this shady character. A powerful sorcerer, Constantine is often in pursuit of something he calls ‘the thrill of the occult’, dabbling in things he really probably shouldn’t. We found about about his past, including his first tragic foray into heroism in which he damned a child to Hell, his brief relationship with Zatanna Zatara and even his punk band who managed to release a single (listen below if you can withstand the aural barrage, it is pure ’77 British punk.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lV6Sl_u1s3M All in all, John’s a pretty tortured soul and that’s what makes him such a fascinating figure. He has been through things that would probably make Superman curl up into a ball and cry and a reluctant hero is always infinitely more interesting than a bland, self righteous one.