The world of superheroes, whether it’s comic books, movies or TV, generally stand for all that is good and true as they battle, and defeat, the evil of the world. There are some heroes, however, that aren’t so clean-cut. We’re talking about the murky world of the vigilante and the anti-heroes. These characters often blur the lines between hero and villain as they live by a set of their own rules rather than those that make up the traditional hero. This leads to a lot more freedom within the character as they not only flaunt the hero code, but they can do it in style.
With the recent release and success of the Deadpool movie, the world of the anti-hero has never been more popular. But Deadpool is by no means the first foul-mouthed hero to slap us in the face with his outrageous attitude, and he won’t be the last.
So we look through the wealth of comic book, film and TV heroes to bring you a list of the ones that make ‘The Merc with a Mouth’ look rather tame in comparison.
10. Jessica Jones
Here is an example of how a hero can be changed by the experiences they encounter. After a car accident involving radioactive chemicals, the young Jessica Campbell (as she was known then) discovered she had developed super strength, invulnerability and flight. Taking inspiration from the likes of Spider-Man, Jones set out on the path to be a superhero.
Under the name Jewel, Jones did just that. Until she met Zebediah Killgrave AKA The Purple Man. With his incredible powers of mind control, Killgrave used this to control Jones to do his bidding. The dark and disturbing events that Jones was forced to do, made her turn her back on the superhero life once she’d broken free of Killgrave.
The new Jessica Jones became a detective and the only way she could deal with her past was with drinking and a no-nonsense attitude that would give Deadpool a run for his money.
9. The Comedian
Many of the entries on this list straddle the line between good and bad, often doing things that a ‘hero’ wouldn’t do, but essentially they do it for good.
The same can’t be said for The Watchmen’s Comedian. Born Edward Blake, the vigilante became a member of the masked adventures and later joining the Minutemen and the Crimebusters. Quickly becoming a patriotic symbol for war and victory, The Comedian, however, was only out for himself. The cigar smoking, gun totting, amoral man was only interested in anything he can gain for himself. Whether that’s money, violence or women. With the world The Watchmen created, The Comedian is just a bad guy under the guise of good.
8. The Punisher
With his up and coming appearance in the Netflix TV show Daredevil, and talk of his own spin off, The Punisher may finally be getting the chance to prove himself on our screens.
Making his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man in 1974, the vigilante is no stranger to the murkier world of the anti-hero. The Punisher, also known as Frank Castle, has many parallels with Deadpool. Both with military and government experience, they both use their skills in a way that most superheroes don’t. While Deadpool uses humor and sometimes silliness to counterbalance his actions, The Punisher is all about the vengeance. Although not always as foul mouthed as Deadpool, The Punisher’s attitude and one-man war on crime, has the ‘masked merc’ beat on pure violence alone.
7. John Constantine
First appearing in 1985’s The Saga of the Swamp Thing, Constantine has become a staple member of the DC multiverse. Under his own comic books, Hellblazer, Constantine often struggles to overcome the influence of Heaven and Hell on humanity. The British born occult detective, (we’re ignoring the Americanized Movie version with Keanu Reeves!) is known for his cynicism, foul mouthed attitude and constant chain smoking. He’ll do anything it takes to accomplish his goals, with the aid of sorcery and his wide circle of friends; sometimes crossing over with Batman and Superman, although most of them he manipulates. Constantine is not only a hero for good, but also known to many as the world’s best con man.
Hancock tells the story of a man in the real world with superpowers. There are no arch villains or plots to take over the world or any other comic book cliches. However, being different from everyone else not only causes him personal problems, but also stops him from wanting to use his powers to help. With every life that he saves, the people complain about the property damage and how much it’ll cost them. (Which we all know would happen in reality!) This turns Hancock into the alcoholic and foul mouthed person who gives up on the world.
Brilliantly played by Will Smith, Hancock is an underrated film and hero, and is a great view into the reality of what it would be like if superheroes were real. For these reasons, Hancock is worthy to be on this list.
The graphic novel Sin City created by Frank Miller has many heroes, anti-heroes and villains, but we feel it’s Marv that stands out and could match Deadpool in terms of attitude.
With his imposing 7-ft tall frame, unusual levels of speed, fighting skills and incredible strength, Marv can easily take down anyone who challenges him or breaks his code. As with many anti-heroes, Marv often crosses his own morality line, making his world greyer than the noir books and movies he inhabits. Desperate to avoid being a serial killer, psychopath or even going to Hell, Marv tries to handle this with attitude, smoking and a platonic love for a prostitute.
Long before comic book movies became a billion dollar business and a constant feature on the silver screen, there was the Blade series. With Wesley Snipes portraying the daywalker and his quest to rid the world of vampires, the trilogy paved the way for the onslaught of comic book films that were to follow.
The Marvel-inspired character differs slightly from the comic books and it’s the comic book Blade that we focus on. First appearing in The Tomb of Dracula, Blade quickly became a popular character. After his mother died from a vampire while in labor, Blade was exposed to his abilities and powers. Growing up, he met his young mentor Jamal Afari who taught him the skills he needed to fight vampires. But with every victory, Blade became arrogant and cocky. He also became reckless and took on a much stronger vampire than he was used to; which cost him the life of his girlfriend. After this and the death of Afari at the hands of Dracula, Blade became more focused and determined on his quest. Maybe this has made him more serious than the others on this list, but he still does it with plenty of attitude and coolness.
We enter the world of comic book parodies and mockery, especially between the DC and Marvel universes. As with Deadpool, who was Marvel’s way of mocking the already established Deathstroke, Lobo was intended as an over the top parody of Marvel’s Wolverine.
Originally introduced in the 1980’s as a villain, Lobo had a revamp in the 1990’s, turning him into the alien bounty hunter that so many fans have come to love. The anti-hero’s only interest is collecting his bounty, often working with or going up against the likes of Superman and Batman.
With his selfish attitude, extraordinary strength, durability and his love for weapons, if Deadpool went toe to toe with Lobo, we think ‘the main man’ would take the crown.
When you’re an infant demon summoned to this world by occultist Nazi’s, you’ll be excused if you grew up with an attitude and general dislike for humanity. This is the case with Hellboy.
The well-meaning demon first appeared in the 90’s and soon became a popular character for Dark Horse Comics. After being rescued by the allies towards the end of the second world war, Hellboy grows up to work for the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense in which he stops the dark forces of the world.
With his over-sized arm made of stone, his favorite gun and love of cigars, Hellboy is definitely a hero but with a big, bad attitude.
Out of all the heroes that fill our comic books, none are more connected with rudeness and attitude than Wolverine. Since his first appearance in 1974’s The Incredible Hulk, Wolverine became very popular with fans. With his gruff loner persona, Wolverine is often voted as the best X-Men and even best comic book character of all.
In the movies, the mutant has had a bit of a rocky road. There is no doubt that Hugh Jackman makes an exceptional Wolverine. However, in the early X-Men movies, Wolverine is softer and aimed for a more ‘family friendly’ audience. But with a few solo movies and a cameo in X-Men First Class, Wolverine has been able to be himself more and show that when it comes to attitude, foul mouthed-ness and general rudeness, Wolverine beats them all hands down.