There's a very good reason that when we talk about "the big two" in comics, we refer to Marvel and DC. They've lasted the longest out of everyone else in the game so far, and have written the book on how to make comic books, and more importantly, comic book characters.
However, their way of doing things can be restrictive, to say the very least. The lack of any permanence in their stories, for one, can be frustrating to fans, since it kinda kills investment in a story when Dick Grayson dies for the third damn time. Probably why they decided they'd be better off renaming him Rick.
Fortunately, for this, there are other comic book companies off the beaten path. Plenty of whom have the clout and character roster to rival the big two. They may not be as iconic as Batman or Superman, but they bring something to the table that's all their own.
10. X (Dark Horse Comics)
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you took the basic idea of Batman and brought it to about as logical an extreme as you can get?
What if the things everyone claims are problems with the idea of the Dark Knight - a masked white dude with too much time on his hands beating up the less fortunate and mentally ill - were intentionally incorporated into the character to make a point? Well for this psychotic little thought experiment, you turn to Dark Horse's X.
Created by Mike Richardson and Chris Warner, X is a superhero in the loosest sense of the term. The character's whole gimmick is that he gives criminals one chance at redemption after giving them one half of an X shaped scar. If they don't shift gears into a life of absolute sainthood, he gives them the other scar, and then kills them.
The character of X is fascinatingly insane and violent, particularly because we know nothing about the man under the mask. We see nothing of his personal life, and his mask has locks on it to prevent it from being taken off. Only a few have ever managed to see X's true face.
Unfortunately, those people aren't in a position to tell anyone what they saw, given that there isn't enough of them left to fill a shoebox.
From the depths of darkness and madness did rise John Tibbetts. His ancient will arising into this new world, beholding a universe that lacks his beauty. Now he shall spread the gospel of his terror by...talking about movies and video games on a British geek site.