Seeing as they’re the most referenced brands whenever the topic of comic books comes up, the uninitiated would likely think that Marvel and DC are the only comic publishers around. That is not the case, however, as the comic book industry is packed with many lesser-known imprints, who have pumped out a number of unsung gems over the years.
Though DC and rivals Marvel dominate the comic book space, the hottest new title releases, in recent times, have not come from either of the comic stables. In fact, many have come from smaller, independent brands, while others have come from companies that could rival Marvel or DC.
The Truth Department
In light of recent global socio-political events, the global Covid-19 economic crisis, the QAnon nuts, flat Earthers, and what-have-you – the public appetite for conspiracy theories is high. which is probably why Image Comics’ The Department of Truth doesn’t seem too out of place in these harrowing times.
The tale follows a conspiracy nut who comes to the discovery that every conspiracy theory ever existed – from the JFK (John F Kennedy) assassination to the Easter Bunny. The organization responsible for concealing the truth from all of society is the Truth Department.
A fan favorite that even got an excellent film adaptation, Hellboy is one of the most recognizable non-Marvel, nor DC, superheroes. Hell of, as his name suggests, is one of the most unique heroes one could ever come across in the world of comics. Neither human, not alien, Hellboy is a demon raised by humanity.
Hellboy and his squad of – equally unique – characters go about protecting the world from paranormal phenomena that threaten the people who fear and hate him. Mike Mignola’s take on the superhero genre was rather fresh, with the creation of this character, as it subverts the stereotypical take on heroes, putting a band of misfits together, and having them go against impossible odds for the greater good – protecting people who hate them.
Small towns, for all their peaceful, away-from-everything appeal, usually harbor stories and mysteries you couldn’t discover without spending some time there and interacting with the locals. Stillwater, the fictional town that the comic is based on, holds a bizarre set of cards close to its chest.
No one seems to die in Stillwater, as though the grim reaper has no idea the place exists. As the world grows more technological, the risk of discovery grows by the day. Eisner award-winning comic book writer Chip Zdarsky’s latest work can be gripping, as one reads on and discovers what other secrets this town holds.
One of the most iconic, and highlight-grossing-DC, non-Marvel heroes in the comic book world, Spawn has been a fan-favorite for years now. Though waning in popularity in recent years, there was a time one couldn’t list favorite outright Superheroes without dropping Spawn into the conversation.
Spawn is a grim reaper of sorts, given power by the devil himself to exact revenge on those who had wronged him. He has, since, grown to the point where he at one point even overthrew the god of his universe.
Home Sick Pilots
Homesick Pilots is a strange one, and that’s what makes it so great. Touted as a cross between Power Rangers and The Shining, the story involves a haunted house. A pop singer is trapped inside a house by a ghostly spirit. This tale ensues that is like nothing else out there, though it borrows some familiar elements from other tales, it throws them together in a completely different way.
Man Goat and Bunny Man
Like urban legends? Well, this one is based on them. The title characters, Man Goat and Bunny Man are inspired by urban legends that sprung up on the internet a few years ago. The duo goes around doing bloody battles with other urban legends, in a satisfyingly gruesome fashion.