Wizard Magazine just had this list on their 200th issue, and it got me to thinking about who my choices would be. So these are my Top Ten Comic Book Characters of all time. As usual, my only criteria is “How much I thought they kicked ass.”
1. Batman (Bruce Wayne) – There is nobody cooler than the Dark Knight.
2. Preacher (Jesse Custer) – I don’t know how anyone could read this comic and not be constantly blown away by the bad-assness of this character.
3. The Tick – The cartoon and the short-lived live-action series were both very funny, but nothing can compare to the early issues of the comic written and drawn by Ben Edlund.
4. Mr. Monster (Dr. Strongfort Stearn) – Michael T. Gilbert’s ‘80s-early-‘90s take on this golden age throw-away character was unbelievably cool.
5. Marv (from Sin City) – This is a guy you just don’t mess with. Am I right?
6. Magneto (Magnus/Eric Lensherr) – Like the Joker, I didn’t really want him on my top ten, but he’s not always a villain. Plus, he deserves to be on the list if only for the last page of Uncanny X-Men #111.
7. Wolverine (Logan/James Howlett) – Wizard put him at number one, but I think he’s lost some luster over the years. He still belongs on my top ten list just because of my memories of the Claremont/Byrne version from when I was young.
8. Rocketeer (Cliff Secord) – I can’t believe Dave Stevens just died. It’s so sad. This guy was the ultimate retro-hero. I only wish there had been more.
9. The Sandman (Dream) – Neil Gaiman’s consummate character. What more needs to be said?
10. Hellboy – I love the comic, but for some reason the movie version almost ruined it for me. And I actually like the movie, so I’m not sure why that is.
11. Moon Knight (Marc Spector) – More than just a low-rent Batman, this character is complex and cool. Plus, he’s a lot like Batman (so sue me).
12. Deena Pilgrim (from Powers) – This is actually my favorite comic right now, and she’s the only female character besides Jessica from Bendis’ Alias comic and Death herself who I’d consider. Not that I have anything against women, I just don’t think they tend to kick ass in comic books.
13. Christian Walker (from Powers) – It’s pretty close to a tie for the two main characters from my current favorite comic book, but I used to think Walker was kind of boring at first.
14. Death (from Sandman) – I was never quite as enamored with her as many comic readers, but she certainly deserves to be considered
15. The Beast (Hank McCoy from X-Men and Avengers) – Another character I think they’ve ruined over the years, but I have fond memories of the character from the ‘70s and ‘80s.
16. John Constantine, Hellblazer – Not that piece of crap Keanu Reeves version from the film—the total badass from the comics.
17. The Joker – I really didn’t want to include villains on the list, but I just have to mention how cool the Joker is.
18. Cerebus the Aardvark – I hate to admit it, but sometimes this comic just went way over my head. But altogether, what an incredible run of 300 issues Dave Sim had with this guy.
19. The Killer (Wesley Gibson) from Wanted – I guess this guy’s a villain, too, but it’s one of my favorite comics of all time. Unfortunately, it looks like they took out most of the cool stuff to make the movie.
20. Howard the Duck – Yet another character ruined by a movie, but in his heyday, Howard was the man–er, duck. Also another character whose creator, in this case Steve Gerber, unfortunately passed away recently.
UPDATE: Since I was asked to expand my list to my Top 50, I decided to go ahead and post the rest also. So here are the next 30:
22. The Saint of Killers
23. Dwight McCarthy from Sin City
24. Leonidas from 300
26. Luther Arkwright
27. The Spirit
31. Cassidy from Preacher
32. Judge Dredd
33. Green Arrow
34. Lex Luthor
37. Captain America
39. Herr Starr
41. Mage (Kevin Matchstick)
42. Ra’s al Ghul
46. Swamp Thing
48. The Hulk (Peter David version)
49. Spider Jerusalem