Robot 6

Six by 6 | Six great superhero comics outside of Marvel and DC

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hellboy in hell

There’s more to superheroes than those residing at Marvel and DC Comics. Sure, they might dominate the market, but that doesn’t mean they’re by default the best.

Outside the realms of the Big Two, superheroes are thriving on the more independently minded scene. From a mixture of throwback superheroics to off-beat adventures, and even some superheroes who are willing to go where DC and Marvel wouldn’t let their own properties, there’s a cornucopia out there for readers. And now, we’re spotlighting six standouts in that superhero mix in this week’s “Six by 6.”

Archer & Armstrong

Archer & Armstrong (Valiant): This longtime Valiant duo just got a second lease on life in the hands of Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry. Created by the inspired trio of Jim Shooter, Bob Layton and Barry Windsor-Smiththis odd couple has found its ideal writer in Van Lente, who pushes up the angst between the beer-swilling demigod Armstrong and the more sheltered Archer. The series mixes fervent religious cults with finding your own way, soaked in the near-trademark humor that made Van Lente one of Marvel’s best Spider-Man scribes in decades.

black beetle

Black Beetle (Dark Horse): Not satisfied with being one of the best cover artists of the year, Francesco Francavilla brought his self-published pulp hero the Black Beetle to the big time when he partnered with Dark Horse. First appearing in Dark Horse Presents, Black Beetle has since gone on to star in his own miniseries, subtitled No Way Out. Francavilla is mixing his love for murky crime drama with superheroes in the vein of the Shadow and the Phantom, bringing us a throwback story that’s less pastiche and more period piece inside Francavilla’s mythical Colt City.

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Every time I read something like, “All comic book readers want to hear superheroes talk about the logistics of superhero sex!” I learn again why DC has gone the direction it has and why comics seem to be less and less for me.

Sigh. Some of us feel like we’re being pushed further and further out of the club.

But those of you excited about it, have fun!

On both Jack Staff and now Mud Man, Paul Grist has been doing super-heroes better than pretty much anyone else for the last decade or so. I say this not to be the guy who whines a personal favourite didn’t make the cut (it’s only six titles, I realize). I say this because his work is fun, smart, accessible, gore/misogyny-free, and, in terms of page composition and form, daringly unlike no one else.

How could you ignore Empowered?


Six titles, three pages? Really? Need the clicks and hits that bad CBR? Sheesh.


Lotta clicking here for three pages of low content.

I’ll Add Danger Club from Image, hope we get more issues soon

I would also put Madman in there, like seriously you guys, srsly.

I’ll add COPRA and Hypernaturals.

This makes me miss Quantum and Woody. That short-lived book was awesome.


DC doesn’t talk about superhero sex logistics. They talk about juvenile fantasy sex logistics. Give Invincible a try and you’ll be pleasantly proven wrong, because besides the grandiose superhero drama and excess violence, it involves Really good character interaction. True, most of its characters are young, and it often sticks with young people’s notions, but it does them really well.

For more mature character interactions between full adults check out Savage Dragon. It’s tackled every issue imaginable.

Seriously? 3 pages? decent read but nothing i’ll waste three clicks on again.

Jesus fuck, are you people so lazy you can’t be bothered to click a button on the internet? Seriously?

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