An anti-hero is a protagonist who lacks some of the conventional attributes of a traditional hero. In most cases anti-heroes dwell in the grey when it comes to morality. Sometimes such heroes save the day, but not necessarily for the right reasons.
Both Marvel and DC comics have produced quite a handful of anti-heroes. These anti-heroes are often loved by the fans for their brooding characteristics, and most importantly, for the way they take laws into their own hands and serve justice in their own way.
Here is our pick of popular anti-heroes in comics, movies and TV.
The Punisher, perhaps, is the most popular and beloved anti-hero character in the history of comic books. The character is known as the first true anti-hero in comic books.
Created by writer Gerry Conway and artists John Romita Sr and Ross Andru, the character made his first appearance in "The Amazing Spider-Man #129" in 1974.
The Punisher truly takes the law into his own hands and kills those that the law can't touch. The character has gained popularity in pop-culture despite his violent and dark nature.
The Punisher's original name is Frank Castle. He is a Vietnam War veteran and has multi-disciplinary military training from the United States Marine Corps and United States Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance.
In the Marvel universe, Venom is known as one of the greatest enemies of Spider Man. However, the writers have changed the character several times and made it both anti-hero and a plain villain. When Flash Thompson becomes the new host of the Venom symbiotic by accident, the character takes on a more heroic role as Agent Venom.
Thompson is a high school bully of Peter Parker aka Spider-Man, but they become good friends in college. Torn by war experiences, Thompson's Agent Venom gets attached to the Venom symbiotic which he controls with drugs.
Over the years, Agent Venom grew immensely popular and appeared in films, TV and video games. As a matter of fact, there is a Broadway production featuring Flash Thompson aka Agent Venom in "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark."
Deadpool is the true definition of anti-hero. And guess what? He is also the funniest. His real name is Wade Wilson and is a disfigured mercenary. Deadpool has the superhuman ability of accelerated healing and impeccable physical prowess.
He is known as "Merc with a Mouth" because of his tendency to talk and joke constantly.
The character first appeared in "The New Mutants #98" in February, 1991. To add humor to his character, Deadpool often breaks the fourth wall.
His backstory changes frequently depending on the writers. The character has appeared in various adaptations till date.
Selina Kyle aka Catwoman is an anti-hero who does not care much for the law. As an outlaw, she definitely has some sort of code of honour as she often protects the weak and stands up to the bullies of the DC Universe.
Selina has the most complicated relationships with Batman. The character made her debut in Batman in 1940. The mysterious jewel thief uses a variety of themed weapons, vehicles, and equipment. Catwoman's favourite weapon is a whip.
The female anti-hero has been adapted in many Batman films and TV series.
All of the Ghost Riders were technically anti-heroes, but Danny Ketch as Ghost Rider was the most iconic anti-hero of them all.
Original story of Daniel of becoming Ghost Rider takes the readers back to the night in Brooklyn. That night Daniel and his sister Barbara runs into Deathwatch and his gang of criminal ninjas. Hiding in a junkyard, Danny notices that a nearby motorcycle is glowing. When Danny touches it, he is transformed into the brand new Ghost Rider.
Daniel Ketch is the third Marvel character to be called Ghost Rider. He has the same powers as the previous Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze. His superhuman resistance to injuries makes him effectively immortal.