Saturday, May 7, 2011

IGN's Top Atom/Charlton-related Comic Book Heroes of All Time

In 2009 or so, the comics department of the popular video game website put together a list of their Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time, and have finally followed up with the vastly less well considered Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time. I decided to take the highly dubious list apart line by line, but in the process I'll do highly posts for my various blogs. Check out DC Bloodlines for the full list as I make it available...

87) Renee Montoya

She's a lesbian and a Latina, both rarities in mainstream comics, and about the only example to appear in cartoons. Still, I resent the hell out of her for taking over the role of the Question, and she's never carried more than a mini-series.

82) Eric O'Grady (Ant-Man)

The Irredeemable Ant-Man was awesome, but also short-lived with negligible impact.

67) Hank Pym (Ant-Man)

I do not like Hank Pym. I do not like the original Ant-Man. I do not like Giant Man. I do not like Yellowjacket. He has never worked, he has never been loved, and he serves no purpose others couldn't handle better. I can't believe he hasn't died spectacularly and stayed that way.

64) The Atom

I love how the article with this entry is entirely about Ray Palmer, but they picture Ryan Choi. No respect for either, and it's hardly uncommon. Doll-Man might have been the biggest of the early tiny heroes, but the Silver Age Atom clearly eclipsed him to become the best of a bad lot. I've got love for the Ray Palmer version, and contrary to popular misconception, the guy has a lot of cool potential that remains less than fully realized. At least he ranked above the wife beater.

61) Blue Beetle

The original was one of the bigger Golden Age heroes from a smaller publisher, and the star of his own radio show. The new kid just appeared on Smallville, and is a positive image of a young, Latino super-hero. The one in the middle is the only one acknowledged. Ted Kord was an industrialist recasting of Steve Ditko's Spider-Man more in that co-creator's image. He was funny in JLI, and I know he has a vocal following, but I just fell very "meh."

56) Hawkman

Obviously, the Winged Wonder is one of the most famous and long-lived B-listers in comic book history, even if he was just a blatant lift from Flash Gordon, complete with Alex Raymond swipes. He's gotten a hell of a lot more done than Prince Vultan, and his marriage to Hawkgirl has been one of the best examples of how to make matrimony work in comics. He was one of the first overtly political (ideologically, anyway) characters in mainstream comics, and still the killjoy to beat in super-hero teams.

16) Rorschach

I kind of hate Rorschach a little bit. I suppose he's here to represent for Watchmen, but he's also the poster child for pretentious, pointless deconstructionist super-heroes and anti-heroes with nauseating motivations (not to mention personal hygiene.) He's also at heart just a proxy for Steve Ditko's the Question, who is not on this list at all beyond such legacies/knock-offs.


The Irredeemable Shag said...

Wow. I love me some Irredeemable Ant-Man (with my name, y'think?), but I wouldn't rate him as one of the best comic book heroes. He's certainly a fun character to read about, but "best"? Nah.

And you should be drawn-and-quartered for your lack of love for Ted Kord. You are broken, my friend. But you probably already knew that. ;)

The Irredeemable Shag

Diabolu Frank said...

I do indeed. Anyway, even as a kid, Blue Beetle struck me as just a Spider-Man knock-off. I recognized Steve Ditko from Marvel Tales reprints of the early comics, and my Spidey-Sense went right off. I used to dig the odd Charlton out of flea market bins, and the whole line felt very off-brand, but I dug Peter Cannon the most as that time. Then I got older and read the Wein/Cullins DC series, which sucked. JLI followed that, and I resented Beetle and Booster always going for the easy laughs. Then there was that decidedly unheroic embezzling, and years of Booster & Beetle as useless hangers-on when the JLA got serious again. It was just an accumulation of bad karma culminating in a gunshot wound to the head. I'll take Jaime Reyes, the only Blue Beetle that's ever made any logical sense, because who would call themselves that on purpose?

The Irredeemable Shag said...

The Wein/Cullins series had promise, but it never paid off entirely. I think Beetle from the early JLI days stands as a great incarnation.

I didn't read many Blue Beetle comics until I was older. So I think I fell in love with the concept of Blue Beetle from reading Who's Who, Crisis on Infinite Earths, and the occasional JLI book. I love Ted Kord, or at least the hero he was supposed to be.

The Irredeemable Shag

Diabolu Frank said...

After reading a batch of Gill/Ditko Captain Atoms last year, I fell in love. I've never actually read the Ditko Blue Beetles, so maybe that would change my mind.