I was tagged back in May by a Facebook friend to...
...post 10 comic book characters that have influenced my interest in comics - one character a day for 10 days. No explanation, no review, just the character, and each day I am to nominate someone to do the same.
I'm finally going to do this, but I'm modding the heck out of it, if y'all don't mind.
- I am doing all 10 in a single post.
- I will give an explanation, albeit a brief one.
- I will not nominate anyone "to do the same." If you're interested, steal it! If not, just enjoy reading it, k?
- Oh, and these characters aren't necessarily exclusive to the comic book medium. I mean, really, are any of them anymore?
So, in no particular order, here are the 10 comic book characters that have influenced my love of the format.
1. The Amazing Spider-Man
What can I say? I love me some friendly neighborhood, wall-crawling, web-slinging fun. And this dates back to when I was a very small child playing with my Mego figure, dressing in Spidey Underoos, and meeting the dude in costume at a local mall when I was probably 3 or 4 years old. Also one of the original tellings of the death of Aunt May still makes me cry when I re-read it.
2. The Incredible Hulk
Another one I identified with from a very young age. The Hulk has always been a part of my superhero lexicon. From Lou Ferrigno (not to mention Bill Bixby) to Eric Bana to (not so much) Edward Norton and definitely to Mark Ruffalo, I love all the televised and movie interpretations. I've never truly committed to a series about the character, but I do enjoy occasionally picking up an issue or graphic novel here and there. Nathan loves him as well which has kept my interest up.
Matt Murdoch may be the first comic book character I got into as a teenager who sought slightly grittier fare. I had (and actually still have) issue 200 of Daredevil that I hold very dear in which our blind lawyer turned vigilante has flashbacks to his relationship with his boxer father all the while battling Bullseye (not the horse from Toy Story 2-4). I also really dug on the Kevin Smith run of Marvel Knights: Daredevil back in the late 90s. Such good stuff.
One of the top love-to-hate characters in comic book history, Negan terrorized Rick Grimes and his band of weary survivors for many years in The Walking Dead. At first, the ongoing fighting between the two bored me and made me actually stop reading. But when I came back three years later and played catch up, I realized what a layered character he actually is. So much subtlety to him acting not-so-subtle at all. And I love how they worked him into the final issue of the series last year.
5. Usagi Yojimbo
Stan Sakai's classic rabbit ronin, Miyamoto Usagi, was introduced to me initially via the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy line in the 1980s. I actually still have my original action figure. It wasn't until much later that I started playing catch up on the old comic books. I'm still not caught up. I may never be, there are that many. A new series started up late last year that I'm reading from the start. No plans to fall behind on this one.
I read some of the original Marvel run of Star Wars comics back in the 70s and 80s. I read many more when Dark Horse took over. Ever since Marvel took back control of the franchise a handful of years ago, I've read several titles and they've basically all fallen flat. Except, that is, Charles Soule's four-issue Lando arc. In this story, we meet the adult gambler and his partner Lobot in a time before Lobot's cybernetic headset has taken control of his mind and body and he acts as Lando's moral center. It's a very well done story. One that I've re-read many times since its publication. I would love for Soule to write more about these two.
Arthur Curry (Aquaman) was the first traditional superhero I got into when I began my almost decade-old return to comics. My return nearly perfectly coincided with the DC Comics launch of the New 52 in which many of their classic heroes saw reboots and a jumping-on point for new readers. Aquaman was my choice and I loved the Geoff Johns stories... until I didn't. But it did make me interested in superheroes which has helped immensely with Nathan who adores them all.
Tim-21 is an android that was created to be a playpal to a young boy in an age when robots and humans lived together in what seemed to be a harmonious state. Years later, after the human purge of robots and on the advent of human vs. robot civil war, Tim-21 awakens from a decades-long slumber. In his memory banks, many believe, lies the truth about the purge and the uprising. Great character, incredibly written, infinitely re-readable.
This is a pretty recent addition to the list. Sure, Godzilla has been terrorizing the world since the advent of the nuclear age, but I only got into his comics maybe five or six years ago. And I love them. It proves that there is much story to be told here.
10. Betty Cooper
In the great Betty vs. Veronica Debate, there can be only one! And Betty will always be my one.
Anybody wanna play?