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…
15. Martian Manhunter – 879 points (15 first place votes)
Created by Jack Miller and Joe Certa, J’onn J’onnz was brought to Earth by a scientist who was attempting to communicate with Mars. Tragically, the scientist died soon after J’onnz arrived here, so J’onnz was stranded on Earth. That was not THAT big of a deal, as J’onnz was actually the last survivor of his Martian race.
He quickly acclimated to Earth, and used his power of shapeshifting to appear as an Earthling. Going by the name John Jones, he became a detective. He would also shape shift into a form of his actual alien form (although more human in appearance) and use his other Martian powers (flight, telepathy, strength, heat vision and more) to help fight crime.
J’onnz, as the Martian Manhunter, co-founded the Justice League of America.
He took a good deal of time off from the League, but returned and was a stalwart member of the League, seeing it through the dissolution of Justice League of America and the formation of Justice League International.
One of my favorite Martian Manhunter moments is when Despero returns from the seeming dead to hunt down the last Justice League that he fought, which had Gyspy and others on it. He kills Gypsy’s parents and is about to kill her…
J’onn was a stalwart member of the reformed Justice League during Grant Morrison’s run. After that League ended, though, J’onn floundered for a few years and was even temporarily killed off. He was one of the heroes brought back to life during Blackest Night.
In the new 52, J’onn started off as a bit mysterious but he has slowly but surely rounded into the hero we always knew him to be.
What a well framed cliffhanger.
14. Catwoman (Selina Kyle) – 900 points (7 first place votes)
Catwoman (created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson) was one of Batman’s most popular villains throughout the 1940s and early 1950s.
After making a comeback, of sorts, during the late 1960s and early 1970s, the early 1980s saw Selina Kyle make her longest sustained attempt at reforming.
First, as Selina Kyle, she began to date Bruce Wayne. Even after they broke up, though, Catwoman was now a legit costumed adventurer, teaming up with Robin and King Faraday for a mission in a far off land…
Crisis reshaped Catwoman and gave her more of a hard edge. Even after she got her own ongoing title in the early 1990s, she was pretty much a hero but did not interact with Batman that often, except when the whole Bat-line of books would have crossovers.
That changed during “Hush,” when Batman and Catwoman gave their relationship a real go…
She even tried to stop him from killing the Joker…
Ultimately, though, the relationship stalled, partially, I presume, because of her then-ongoing book, where Ed Brubaker re-established her as the protector of Gotham City’s East End (it was a really good book).
In the new 52, Catwoman continued her complex relationship with Batman as well as balancing her life a hero versus her life as a crook.
13. John Constantine – 981 points (14 first place votes)
Created by the classic Swamp Thing creative team of Alan Moore, John Totleben and Steve Bissette, John Constantine showed up in the pages of Swamp Thing to advise Swamp Thing on supernatural matters, but mostly, he was there to con Swamp Thing into doing stuff Constantine wanted to get done. Luckily for everyone on Earth, Constantine mostly wanted to do GOOD things.
He soon became so popular that he graduated into his own title, which ended its run at #300 as the then-longest running DC Comics title.
Constantine is basically a con man who uses magic to get his way. One of his most famous deals was when he learned that he was dying of lung cancer. He sells his soul to three different devils and then opens up his wrist with a razor – this is all done to force the issue amongst three “devils” (remember, since this book shares a universe with Sandman, Lucifer is not in the picture anymore down there) to go to action, because Constantine has promised his soul to all three of them. Therefore, if he dies, they’d have to go to war over his soul. They realize that is not the best thing for them, so they are “forced” to keep Constantine alive…
After some painful cancer surgery…
What a brilliant encapsulation of what makes Constantine work as a character.
Constantine mostly does magic as a rush, but he does get a lot of good things done, too. All while usually wearing his trademark trench coat, white shirt and black tie.
A few years back, he became more a part of the DC Universe proper, even being part of a Justice League team (albeit Justice League Dark). He currently has his own ongoing series set in the regular DC Universe.
12. Harley Quinn – 1016 points (10 first place votes)
Introduced in the Batman: Animated Series as Joker’s love interest/sidekick, Harley Quinn became so popular that she ultimately made the move over to the DC Comics Universe.
Originally a therapist, she fell in love with Joker while interning at Arkham Asylum. In the DC Universe, she was committed to a mental institution but escaped during the great Gotham City earthquake. She then joined Joker as part of his gang. The Joker betrays her, though, and leaves her for dead, seriously injuring her. Poison Ivy comes across her and saves her life and then gives her enhanced abilities. Harley goes to get her revenge on the Joker, but as it turns out, she just can’t turn on the guy…
She then works with the Joker for a while more and eventually goes off on her own to have her own ongoing series, where she tangles with Batman some more…
In the new 52, much of her origin is the same, although she is slightly deadlier and had been working on the Suicide Squad for a while.
11. Aquaman – 1033 points (14 first place votes)
Created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger, Aquaman is one of the few comic book characters to last from the Golden Age of superheroes, as a backup in the pages of Adventure Comics.
Aquaman was notable in that he had TWO distinct origins at first. The first one, the son of an explorer who, through science, taught his son to breathe underwater. The second one is the one we have all grown to know and (sorta) love, which is Aquaman being the son of a fisherman and a woman from under the sea, who later grew up to be the King of the lost city of Atlantis. That has later been adapted to say that the human, Arthur Curry, discovered Aquaman as a child, and that both of his parents were Atlantean.
Aquaman was a founding member of the Justice League of America, where he served for many years.
Aquaman married another underwater denizen, Mera, who became his Queen and bore his son, who was sadly killed by the evil Black Manta.
In the New 52, much of Aquaman’s history is different, but Mera still played a major role in his life.
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