My interest in comic books has waxed and waned since I was a kid and yet, after all these years, a good graphic novel or engaging multi-issue arc never fails to delight. An engaging, well-written story will always bring back fond memories of visiting the Nova Bookshop in my never-ending quest for missing back issues, discussing the finer points of my favorite titles with like-minded aficionados, and the exquisite thrill of tearing through the Christmas wrap to find the much sought-after Avengers Annual #6 – the one with Nuklo on the cover! Comic books were as much a part of my childhood as nutella, D&D with Cas and the gang, and the smoked meat sandwiches dad would prepare for us when we came home for lunch and, to this day, I still indulge my inner geek with the occasional stop by The Comic Shoppe to check in on some old friends. Specifically THESE guys. Screw pro athletes and rock stars. Growing up, these were my heroes –
The Beast: I’ll save you the trouble and start with my favorite. The Beast went from an unduly prolix member of the original X-Men to a bombastic, blue-furred member of The Avengers back to – regrettably – a more erudite (but still blue-furred) version. Not sure what happened to the lovable, wisecracking bounder who graced the pages of my then favorite title, The Avengers, from issues #136 to somewhere around #210, but I sure do miss him.
Wolverine: Yeah, I know. It’s a popular choice. But way back when, I was a trailblazer, rooting for the killer Canuck in the yellow spandex while everyone else was feeling sorry for Scott “cry me a river” Summers. The first in what would be a long, long line of anti-heroes.
Batman: Even though most of my youth was spent in the Marvel camp, I couldn’t help but love Batman, a superhero with no actual superpowers. He was an anomaly in a world of aliens, mutants, and radioactive-infused saviors. A brilliant, cool as hell anomaly.
The Thing: Another lovable hero with a gift for the gab, the Thing was more like the big, rocky uncle you wished you had. And yet, beneath that impenetrable orange devil-may-care facade beat the heart of a lonely, self-loathing man. The first superhero to really elicit my sympathy.
Deathlock the Demolisher: Oh, yeah. Half man, half machine, and thoroughly awesome, Deathlock was another in a long line of reluctant bad-ass heroes who, sadly, never got the respect (or audience) he deserved. An under-appreciated marvel.
Spiderman: I always liked my superheroes with a sense of humor, and they don’t come much quippier than the webhead, a guy who’d sooner talk a villain’s ear off than punch his lights out, and usually doing both simultaneously. The Amazing Spiderman was the first title that, for me, grounded the fantasy of the comic book world in the reality of teenage life. In time, I became as much invested in Peter Parker as I was in his alter ego.
Green Lantern: Strangely enough, I never read the comic book with any consistency and actually found his superpower a tad too powerful (and bizarre), but there was something about him…
The Flash: On the other hand, this title (and, by extension, its titular hero) was one I know exactly why I got into: the writing of Mark Waid. I picked up an issue and loved his story-telling, so I picked up every back issue from the beginning of his run – and promptly dropped the book when he left.
Deadpool: Not technically a superhero, but he walks that fine line between good and mayhem, so I’m including Deadpool in this list. If Mark Waid is to thank for making me fall in love with The Flash, then writer Joe Kelly deserves a shout-out for doing much the same for the merc with the mouth. Pictured above – Deadpool #11 – is one of my very favorite single issues of any comic book.
Pip the Troll: Okay, while not exactly a “superhero”, Adam Warlock’s cigar-smoking sidekick was a cantankerous character I grew to love – and then mourn in the brilliant Marvel Two-In One Annual #2.
And now, some news of note…
What do your sleep position reveal about you? http://ca.lifestyle.yahoo.com/family-relationships/articles/archive/yahoolifestyle/yahoolifestyle-what_does_your_sleep_position_reveal_about_you. My side-sprawled-head-sandwiched-between-two-pillows style suggests I’m someone of creativity, and outgoing spirit, and an affinity for smoked salmon.
Another sign that we may be using up the planet’s non-renewable resources – in this case, rocks: http://www.theonion.com/articles/geologists-we-may-be-slowly-running-out-of-rocks,17341/
Also along the same lines – Are the once plentiful haggis herds being hunted to extinction? http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE63M3L820100423?feedType=RSS&feedName=oddlyEnoughNews&rpc=22&sp=true
Cracked.com offers up their list of The 5 Most Unintentionally Offensive Comic Book Characters: http://www.cracked.com/article_18502_the-5-most-unintentionally-offensive-comic-book-characters.html. Hey, where’s Matter Eater Lad? Oh, I guess there’s a fine line between offensive and silly.
Planning to entertain, host a dinner party perhaps? Consider one of these Top 10 Gadgets to Freak Out Your Guests: http://www.oddee.com/item_97055.aspx