After over 1,200 ballots were cast, YOU the reader ranked your favorite comic book characters from 1-10. I assigned point totals to each ranking and then my friend Chris tabulated it all into a Top 50 list. We’re now revealing that list throughout the next few weeks. The countdown continues…
10. Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) – 1423 points (17 first place votes)
Created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp, millionaire Oliver Queen was basically like Batman-lite throughout the Golden Age. It was only during the Silver Age, when writer Denny O’Neil decided to change Arrow around that Queen became a standout creation.
O’Neil decided to strip Queen of his fortune, and make him a liberal “man of the people,” who would clash with his friend, Hal Jordan, who was cast as the more conservative of the pair.
The two would travel America, trying to explore it and see its people from a way impossible when you are hanging out on the moon.
Around this time, Queen began a relationship with his fellow Justice Leaguer, Black Canary. The two remained together for many years, with some time apart.
In the late 80s, writer Mike Grell recast Queen as a more serious, older hero. Grell used Green Arrow to explore various political themes in a pretty mature manner for comics.
After Grell left the title in the mid-90s, Green Arrow was killed off and replaced by his illegitimate son, Connor Hawke, for a number of years. Later on, Queen returned, and took up the hero game again. He and Black Canary even got MARRIED!
In the New 52, however, Oliver was rebooted. He’s now a lot younger and doesn’t have connections to either Canary or Hal Jordan. He is also being featured on the TV series Arrow.
9. Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) – 1535 points (19 first place votes)
Created by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino, Barbara Gordon was the daughter of Police Commissioner James Gordon, but was also secretly the crimefighter, Batgirl. Barbara was brilliant, and eventually realized she could do more good in the world with her mind than by patrolling Gotham City at night, so she retired as Batgirl.
Tragically, soon after her retirement, Barbara was paralyzed when the villain Joker shot her, in an attempt to rattle Batman. Thanks to the efforts of writer Kim Yale and her husband, John Ostrander, Gordon was re-modeled as Oracle, the wheelchair bound computer genius of the DC Universe.
Chuck Dixon made Oracle a major player in the Batman books, as support for Batman and his fellow crimefighters. Eventually, Dixon created a title called Birds of Prey built around Oracle, who would employ superhero operatives to do missions for her. Her most prominent operative was Black Canary, and the two women became great friends. The Huntress was Oracle’s second major operative (not chronologically, as a number of heroines had preceded Black Canary).
Oracle was so important in the DC Universe that she even joined the Justice League!!
In the New 52, she was still shot by the Joker and paralyzed, however she eventually got over it and over time, returned to fight crime as Batgirl.
More recently, she has been given a bit of a makeover by writers Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher and artist Babs Tarr (working with Stewart)…
Batgirl is a happening book right now!
Created by John Broome and Gil Kane, the revamped Green Lantern debuted in the pages of Showcase. Hal Jordan was a test pilot who was chosen by the dying former Green Lantern of Sector 2814 to be the next Green Lantern for the Sector (which includes Earth). The Green Lantern Corps are basically space cops, who use these rings that can create anything that the ringbearer can imagine.
Hal basically went on to become the most successful Green Lantern there ever was. He also helped co-found the Justice League of America.
Years later, Hal embarked on a tour of America with his Justice League teammate, Green Arrow. The series of adventures were written by Denny O’Neil and drawn by Neal Adams, and are well regarded classics to this day.
It begins when Hal is convinced by Oliver to take down the previously shown seemingly law-abiding slumlord…
Fair enough story, but then there is an “explosive epilogue” that ties in with what the book was saying earlier about Hal’s oath…
This sent Hal searching for the “real” America.
Sadly, years later, Hal appeared to have snapped after his hometown of Coast City was destroyed by a bad guy. It appeared as though Hal was now a villain called Parallax. He even tried to recreate the entire universe!!
Hal then sacrificed himself to re-ignite the Sun, which had gone out. He returned as the human host for the Spectre, but soon, we learned that not all was right with Hal.
As it turned out, Parallax had possessed Hal back when he became a villain, and IT was responsible for him being a bad guy. Once free of the possession, Hal helped rebuild the Corps that he had destroyed while possessed by Parallax, and he once again became the most notable Green Lantern out there!
In the New 52, Hal kept mostly the same, only recently, he went undercover to root out some bad guys and was tragically stranded undercover when the rest of the Green Lantern Corps vanished. So now Hal is a seemingly rogue ex-Lantern, trying to figure out WHAT the heck to do next.
7. Flash (Barry Allen) – 1853 points (27 first place votes)
Barry Allen was a police scientist when a bolt of lightning hit a bunch of chemicals which splashed upon Barry, making him gain the power of super-speed!
Inspired by his boyhood hero, the Flash (Jay Garrick, who was actually living on a separate Earth!), who Barry read about in comics, Barry became the NEW Flash, with a snazzier outfit than Jay’s. Barry was created by Gardner Fox, Bob Kanigher and Carmine Infantino.
For years, the Flash was a steady force for good, as a solo hero and as a founding member of the Justice League of America.
Sadly, tragedy struck the Flash after he married his longtime love, Iris West, when his rival, Professor Zoom, murdered Iris. Some time later, when Barry was prepared to move on an re-marry, Zoom showed up again to kill Barry’s NEW wife! Barry stopped him, but in the process, killed Zoom.
This haunted Barry for quite awhile.
Good news came to him, though, when he discovered that his wife, Iris, was not actually dead, but living in the future! Barry joined her there, and the two WOULD have lived happily ever after, if not for the events of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, where Barry had to come out of retirement to stop the evil Anti-Monitor.
Barry was successful in his attempt to stop the Anti-Monitor from destroying Earth, but in the process, Barry died in one of the most iconic comic book deaths of all-time…
He returned many years later (after his nephew Wally had taken over as the Flash) and picked up right where he left off, including his marriage to Iris.
In the New 52, Barry was pretty much rebooted (including making him single and never having been married, as he was de-aged, as well).
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