Saturday, August 16, 2008

Greatest Comic Characters

EmpireOnLine.com posted their choices for The 50 Greatest Comic Characters of All Time. Using just their picks, here are my top ten:
  • I only really read Iron Man way back when David Micheline and Bob Layton were charting his adventures. That coupled with the fact that I really liked the movie is enough to put Iron Man in the number 10 spot.

  • Superman was Empire's #1 character. I can see why: Superman is one of the most popular characters ever created. He's been the star of comics, radio, tv and movies. For my tastes though, he's just too dang powerful. Superman has super speed, super strength, super hearing, x-ray vision, he can fly, he's impervious to pain and he's really, really nice. Unless he's up against a chunk of Kryptonite [and isn't THAT stuff easy to find], where's the drama? Still, I did love me some Superman when I was about 5 and that's good enough to get him the number 9 slot.

  • At number 8 we have Captain America. I've enjoyed the good Captain in bursts over the years. When I was a wee lad, I loved Jack Kirby's Cap. You'd open to the splash and there was Cap having just been thrown out of a plane without a parachute or maybe he was already in battle against Batroc the Leaper! Years later Steranko did a couple of issues and they were beautiful. I still go back and read them from time to time. When I was in college, my buddies Mike Zeck and John Beatty had a nice run on Cap. I went along for the ride and had a blast.

  • Up until high school my favorite comic character was Spider-Man. It didn't matter who was drawing him; although John Romita Jr., Gil Kane, and John Byrne were favorites. Spider-Man aka Peter Parker always seemed to be in just a bit over his head. Despite that, he always tried to do the right thing. And that's why he comes in a number 7.

  • The Punisher never looked better than when he was being drawn by Zeck and Beatty. Throw Steven Grant into the mix as the writer and you have a winning team. They did the first Punisher mini-series and took him from a second rate villain to one of the most popular characters ever. And that's where the troubles started. Suddenly the Punisher had his own monthly comic. He was teamed with a partner [Microchip?] and ended up doing things like being a substitute teacher. Ugh! Still there were more bright spots from time to time. Grant, Zeck and Beatty re-teamed for a couple more Punisher graphic novels and John Romita Jr. had a nice little run with the character. The high spots are enough to take the character to the sixth spot on our list.

  • Mike Mignola's Hellboy is number 5. I've been riding the Hellboy express since his first appearance in Dark Horse Presents scripted by John Byrne. It's been a fun trip, although I wish Mignola did more of the driving. Guest artists are fun, but Mike's writing coupled with his art really makes Hellboy soar. And hey, the movies ain't bad either!

  • Wolverine's journey is very similar to the Punisher's. Once he got his own series things went south. At first Wolverine was the mysterious, violent character in the X-Men. Then when he got his own series he was living on an island and wearing an eyepatch with the name Patch. Huh? Give me the Wolverine from the Claremont, Byrne and Austin run on the X-Men. Give me the Miller and Rubstein Wolverine from their mini-series. Give me the Barry Windsor Smith Weapon X Wolverine. Just keep the eyepatch for yourself. Wolverine comes in fourth.

  • Third place belongs to Frank Miller's Marv from Sin City. How can you not dig the big lug? I wish Miller would give us more.

  • The # 2 spot goes to Daredevil on the strength of Frank Miller and Klaus Janson's run back in the early 80's. That was comics are their best.

  • Batman gets my number one slot. It doesn't really matter who writes or draws the character. Think about it. Batman has been done as comedy, as camp, with the focus on Bruce Wayne, with the focus on Batman, as a vigilante, as a confidant to the police, as a wanted criminal, with a kid partner, as an old man, as a young man finding his way. Batman just works and that's why he's my number 1 choice.

2 comments:

Rick said...

FOr the most part you are correct. I have never read Sin City or Hellboy so I can't comment on them. If you are only commenting on Superhero characters I think Ben Grimm and Plastic Man should be in there. If you are doing all comic book characters then Archie Andrews could also make the top ten of the list in my book.

Craig Zablo said...

Hey Rick - I never really read Plastic Man, so I had to leave him out. Archie should have made the Top 50 for sure.