Comic book fans don’t come much more fanatical than Brandon Yeagley, frontman with Pennsylvannia rock heroes Crobot. His love of classic and cult comic books is immense, to the point where he’s even created and published his own graphic novel, Legend Of The Spaceborne Killer – which is why we’ve asked him to pick the 10 greatest cult comic book heroes that only real comic book fans know about. Take it away, sir…
President Blades in Letter 44, by Charles Soule/Alberto Jiminex Albuquerque
Without giving too much of the plot away, Letter 44 is a sci-fi comic that begins with the previous president leaving a letter for his successor that unveils a huge development that has left the US preparing for an intergalactic war. President Blades is given the hard task of leading the free world in maneuvering political secrets, conflict, and the safety of the human race - all on day one. Buckle up ‘cause this interstellar ride turns on a dime with a whole ‘lotta g-force.
Adam Hardy in FBP: Federal Bureau Of Physics, by Simon Oliver/Robbi Rodriguez
This one holds a place near and dear to my heart because it reeled me into the underground independent sci-fi comic world that is filled with some amazingly heady plots and incredible artists - and FBP does not disappoint. The story follows a fresh FBP agent Adam Hardy, who is thrust into the world of Quantum disturbances and occupational conflicts alike, all while trying to solve the mystery of his famous physicist father’s death.
Morpheus in Sandman, by Neil Gaiman
Sandman will completely change the way you perceive the comic book medium. It’s extremely bizarre and psychedelic - so I’ll spare you my attempt to fall short of explaining the premise in-depth. The story follows Morpheus - the king of dreams (or simply Dream), who escapes imprisonment after 70 years. He must rebuild his kingdom that was left to despair due to his departure, while relocating his lost powers and also meeting an entourage of interesting characters along the way.
Anonymous in V For Vendetta, by Alan Moore
Did I mention I love Alan Moore? Well, it would be blasphemy to not include an anti-hero so iconic that his image is incorporated by a revolutionary international activist hacking group. He would be so proud. Anonymous throughout the V for Vendetta story arc never lets you fully root for him. He’s such a bastard and I love it. But, he stays true to his belief in anarchy and holding those who’ve wronged him accountable for their actions - and he does it so maliciously.
Grant McKay in Black Science, by Rick Remender
Whoa! Just whoa! What a rush...the characters in Black Science are incredibly well-written and the plot twists happen and blow your brain hole to smithereens, even when you know they’re coming. The conflicts unfold as Grant Mckay journeys his way through different dimensions, battling the most insane villains. We’re talking electric frogs, lizard people riding eels, and plenty more biological anomalies.
Chad in Legend Of The Spaceborne Killer, by Brandon Yeagley
I’d be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t at least mention my own accidental hero Chad in Legend of the Spaceborne Killer. Chad isn’t your normal, every-day top-secret government facility custodian. He simply doesn’t care when they will surprise him with a random piss-test, he’s the kinda guy who smokes a joint on his lunch break. Maybe it’s because his father was such a prestigious experimental physicist who embedded the secrets of the universe into his bedtime stories as a child. Or maybe it’s because the hero of those bedtime stories just crash landed at the airbase where he scrubs the floors after being lost for 50 some years. Whatever the case may be, the dude deals with a lot of pressure, ok? Sometimes he needs to just take the edge off.
Bandit, Tinker & Pirate in We3, by Grant Morrison
Tell me you wouldn’t read a comic from the perspective of three prototype animal weapons created by the government to assassinate U.S. enemies, and I’ll hand you We3. I mean how could you go wrong with a team consisting of a bio-engineered dog, cat, & rabbit with the powers to destroy just about anything imaginable? This mini-series is a quick, yet very enjoyable read.
The Pantheon in The Wicked + The Divine, by Kieron Gillen
Every 12 years, Gods take the form of humans to come to Earth, called the Pantheon, and do whatever it is that Gods would do if they became humans. And, it seems that no matter what brand of human worship they seek, they all have one thing in common. They like to party. The Wicked + the Divine breaks down many barriers, not only in mythological form but in social commentary as well. It feels and looks groundbreaking with every turn of the page and the constant conflict between the Pantheon fuels the storyline to great heights every step of the way.
Blackmark in Blackmark, by Gil Kane
Ok, let’s kick it old school. Blackmark feels way ahead of its time because it was. It’s like Conan and Heavy Metal had a baby. In truth, however, it was Zeph the Tinker and his wife Marnie who had a baby named Blackmark. Blackmark is unwillingly carrying knowledge of the future implanted into his brain by a great wizard-king. Talk about epic!
Jesse Custer in Preacher, by Garth Ennis & Steve Dillon
Ok. How to sum up just how riveting, intense, and thought-provoking this comic really is in one paragraph is an impossible feat and I’ve already wasted precious space. Preacher tells the tale of a small-town preacher, Jesse Custer, who has become accidentally possessed by the supernatural. In fact, this supernatural creature happens to embody an angel and a demon, simultaneously. If that’s not enough, throw in a vampire sidekick and an old lover just for kicks to make it an interesting odyssey.
Extra Credit: Watchmen, by Alan Moore
Yes, I know. You probably already heard of Watchmen due to its commercial success of late, but I feel it would be a travesty not to list it here, as it has single handedly led me to my journey through the comic book medium. Alan Moore has such a knack for finding the worst heroes (Anti-heroes) to unfold in his uncensored, politically incorrect tales and Watchmen may very well be the pinnacle of his success at depicting heroes that are hard to praise. The best part of this graphic novel is there is a case to be made that there may very well be no hero here.
Crobot’s Rat Child EP is out now