Comic books have been around for generations after generations. Timeless editions have graced our parents and/or grandparents shelves after spending multiple amounts of hours reading them over and over and over again. There’s just something about comic books that make fans jump up for joy or shriek in terror while turning the corner of every page. Many stories have been told throughout the years and still fans clamor for more. The comic book age has begun growing once again as society awaits for their latest issue.
Even though I did not grow up in the times when comic books thrived, I know a lot of people who have. Our generation may not be totally sold on the idea of a book but there’s something about comics that make it stand out. Could it be the amazing stories, the characters, or the awesome visuals that inspire the inner hero or shall I say villain in us? Or it could just be the pure enjoyment of reading those iconic bubbles in which comic books are known for (POW!; ZOOM!; BANG!). Whatever the reason is, it really doesn’t matter.
Like any movie, comic books are mostly there to entertain us rather than educate us. It’s a way of escaping reality as we dive in head first right into the source material. Comic books may not necessarily be a part of my life, however that doesn’t mean none of the characters were. I wish to bring out the inner fan boy in me and tell you “My Top 5 Favorite Comic Book Characters.”
The Vision is a character in the Marvel comics who in my opinion is one of the most underrated of any comic book character. While a bit confusing at first, Vision’s origin story cannot be understated. It’s amazing how he even came about when you read more about him. In the comics, Ant-Man created a supervillain called Ultron which in turn allowed him to create the Vision using Wonderman’s brain patterns to fuse them inside a robotic body. Even though Vision is a very complex character, it’s his overall personality and feelings that stand out the most.
While initially created to do harm, the Vision sees the error of his ways and develops a heart of compassion towards his enemies. It’s interesting how both Hank Pym and Ultron constructed similar creations but they both backfired on their own maker. This is what makes Vision stand out among other characters. We’ve seen quite a few characters go from good to bad but not many from bad to good.
The Vision is such a beloved character to have on board the Marvel universe. I am really excited to see how Paul Bettany will portray him in the upcoming Avenger’s: Age of Ultron film. I’m sure Joss Whedon will do him justice.
When you think of iconic comic book villains, look no further than the Joker. There are just not enough adjectives to describe just how devious, malevolent, and slick this guy really is. Don’t ask me how Batman has survived his tricks and wit over the years. The Joker is the definition of insanity. In fact we should all call up Merriam Webster and tell them to put the name Joker next to the word insanity in their updated edition. This guy is clearly a psychopathic genius (whatever that means) and that’s why we love him.
What makes the Joker also stand out is that he is not a physically imposing threat (excluding The Dark Knight Returns version of the Joker). He tortures Batman through his gimmicks and wants nothing else but to see his “favorite” hero succumbed to his bidding. The Joker would rather see his foes suffer than actually perish. This is why Joker has had many opportunities over the years to actually kill Batman but he seems to have more fun becoming Gotham’s biggest threat. The Joker is pure terror and is no doubt in my top comic book characters of all time. I cannot wait to see Jared Leto’s take on this quintessential character in next year’s Suicide Squad.
The one who really started it all! Superman is the symbol of hope that Earth has been waiting for. Where would comic book characters be without the Man of Steel? He may have the worst cover up in the history of comic books, but I think no one can deny how powerful he truly is. Superman in my opinion also has one of the greatest origin stories of all time: A young baby boy named Kal-El born on a planet named Krypton is forced to escape from his planet as its inner core is beginning to become unstable. His family can only watch as they send their child into the galaxy hoping that he finds a home and that one day he could make a difference.
And the rest is history! Superman becomes a protector of earth growing up to become that symbol of hope. Superman’s powers and abilities cannot and should not be taken lightly: Super speed, strength, flight, x-ray and heat vision, this man (or in this case alien) is nearly unstoppable. He’s an individual who clearly influenced most comic book characters we know today. Let’s not forget why most kids love to wear capes and pretend to fly. Yes, that’s because Superman wore it first!
The Dark Knight; The Caped Crusader; The Batman. All these titles describe one of the greatest comic book characters ever made. Created shortly after Superman, Batman was an instant hit. Like Superman, the Dark Knight lost his parents at a very young age. However unlike Superman, Batman has no superhuman powers. He is human with very unique skill sets that make him so intimidating. He has trained in the martial arts and is known as a very smart crime solver. Batman is more or less a detective than a superhero. He is also one of the best hand to hand combatants in the history of comic book characters.
There are many other qualities that make him stand out among others. While he is an expert crime fighter, it’s how he obtains answers from suspects that stands out. Sometimes just his imposing presence is enough for criminals to offer him information. Other times he will hang criminals upside down by a wire or on the edge of a building until he gets what he’s looking for. Batman might appear to be that of a villain while looking at him on the outside, but the inside shows his true nature as he cares deeply for the people of a corrupted city. Batman wants nothing more than for justice to be served by any means necessary. These are all reasons why we love the Caped Crusader and certainly earns his spot on my list.
Before we get to my #1 choice, I thought I’d share with you a few that were extremely hard not to include on this list. But I have to at least honor them so here they are:
If Superman is the symbol of hope, then Captain America is the symbol of freedom. A true leader, Captain America was created as the worlds first super soldier to help fight Hydra and defeat the Red Skull’s plan for world domination. This character was made during World War II and was used partially as a propaganda tool to help influence America that we must fight in this war and most importantly win. The Stars and stripes on his uniform is the perfect costume that symbolizes the American flag and what he stands for. Even the shield he carries around can be used both as a weapon of protection as well as a weapon of force. Captain America will live on forever as the hero America deserves and rightfully so.
There is a lot to love about this comic book character. He bends metal, manipulates objects, and can even rearrange matter. Magneto is a very misunderstood supervillain. Like most comic book based characters, he also went through tough times as a child. He was born in a Jewish family and later taken to a concentration camp along with his family after having been found in Poland during the German invasion. Only he survived due to the reveal of his powers but his sister and parents were later executed. This took a real toll on his life moving forward as he realized that he would never forgive humanity after what they had done to his family. Magneto later led a team of mutants to rule humanity and to show the world that they are different and are the ones who must rule over them. These differences would cause him and his best friend Charles Xavier to have many disagreements as time went on which leads me right into my next and final honorable mention.
Charles Xavier did not just help create the X-Men, but he also established a school for mutants where humans born with unusual powers can go to a school where other people share something in common. This school helps to shelter and train other mutants to learn to live and cope with their powers and to use it for the greater good. Xavier fights for peace and equality among humans and mutants alike. He does his very best to prevent his life-long friend Magneto from hindering world peace. Charles wants the best for him and will do whatever he can to make things right. He is a sworn protector of the X-Men and a strong leader. Xavier can read and control minds which makes him among the more powerful of mutants. Charles Xavier was also beautifully portrayed by both James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart in the X-Men films. Xavier will no doubt go down as one of my personal favorite comic book characters of all time.
You can’t go wrong with Spider-man! A high school student who gets bitten by a radioactive spider and in turn develops powers of a well, spider. What makes Spider-Man stand out over other superheros, is that he was one of the youngest characters in the comics. Peter Parker was in high school when he developed his powers and was a young teenager in the process. It seems as though we can all relate to Spider-Man in some way. We all attended school, had rough times finding that perfect girl, and made fun of from time to time.
Nothing ever seemed to go right for our favorite wall crawling hero. But, he never kept his head down. He got up, brushed it off, and moved forward. When life throws you punches, don’t back down. Don’t ever quit and stand your ground. These are the lessons that Parker had to face throughout his life. We all fall under hard times, but we must pick ourselves up and keep moving forward never giving up because, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”
So there you have it. Those are my top five comic book characters. Did you agree with my list? What comic book characters are YOUR personal favorite? Please share your thoughts and comment below!