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 tabulated it all into a Top 50 list. We’re now revealing that list throughout the next few weeks. The countdown begins now…
50. Galactus – 311 points (2 first place votes)
Galactus showed up in the Fantastic Four (he was created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee) with basically one goal – he wanted to eat the Earth.
Check out how scary Lee and Kirby (and Joe Sinnott) make this seem…
I love the opening of the next issue, where we see the FF’s reaction to Galactus. When you have Reed Richards looking like that, you know that stuff is bad!
And the Earth was basically the first planet to ever rebuff his advances.
Since then, we have learned more about him, like how Reed Richards believes Galactus is actually a necessary part of the cosmic universe.
So Galactus is still out there, hopping around, eating planets.
49. Wasp (Janet Van Dyne) – 315 points (5 first place votes)
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Wasp was one of those great early 60s Marvel heroes who went through terrible tragedy and basically said, “Screw you, I’m just going to be a superhero and make up for my tragedy!”
Along with Ant-Man, she was a founding member of the Avengers. Over the years, she became much more of a stalwart with the Avengers than her partner (and husband). When they divorced, she remained an Avenger and even became the leader of the team for many years, as she really grew into her self…
During Secret Invasion, she seemingly sacrificed herself after the Skrulls boobytrapped her own body! She eventually returned and she became a key member of the Uncanny Avengers. Now that a version of the Wasp is set to co-star in a sequel to the Ant-Man film, she’ll likely get the spotlight soon again!
48. Spider-Man (Miles Morales) – 319 points (6 first place votes)
Created by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli, Mile Morales took over as Spider-Man from Peter Parker in the Ultimate Universe after Peter was tragically killed in battle against the Green Goblin.
Miles’ journey to being a superhero hit a snag when he realized that his own uncle was a supervillain (his uncle had actually stolen the genetically mutated spider that bit Miles and gave him his powers in the first place). Miles, though, is such a sweet kid that that comes out big time in his work as a hero. He has such a big heart. Maybe even more so than Peter Parker!
Pichelli’s design of Miles stands out, as she gave him such stunning fluidity.
Miles soon met the original Spider-Man, Peter Parker, in a crossover called Spider-Men…
Recently, the Ultimate Universe was destroyed and Miles will soon be living in the regular Marvel Universe, with Pichelli returning to the character to launch this new series! Oh boy, should be great!
47. Squirrel Girl – 325 points (8 first place votes)
Created by Will Murray and Steve Ditko, Squirrel Girl seemed destined to be a one and done character, appearing just in a single issue of Marvel Superheroes (a place where unuused stories ended up)…
However, in that one issue, she also defeated Doctor Doom…
Dan Slott found the humor in this, so during his work on the Great Lakes Avengers, he brought her on to the team and really played with the idea that she just went around defeating the most powerful villains in the Marvel Universe…
She soon became a popular character, as her earnest happiness as a hero was quite infectious (and also quite different from so many other heroes out there). She eventually got her own awesome series by Ryan Noth and Erica Henderson.
This one page sums up why she is so great…
“All I want to do is fight dinosaurs” is one of the best slogans of all-time.
46. Colossus – 336 points (2 first place votes)
Piotr Rasputin was a farmer on his family’s farm in Russia when Professor Charles Xavier recruited him to join the X-Men (like most of the other new X-Men, he was created by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum).
Known as Colossus for his ability to grow in size and strength (and turn into metal), Rasputin became a longtime, and valued, member of the X-Men. He entered into a relationship with his teammate, Kitty Pryde, which Piotr sorta screwed up by falling for an alien lady during Secret Wars.
Piotr is a sensitive, artist-type, which is a cool irony with his powers, which are basically aggressive ones. After serving with the X-Men for many years, Colossus, distraught that his sister, Illyana Rasputin, was killed by a mutant virus, Colossus actually left the X-Men to join Magneto!
After awhile, Colossus realized that that was silly, and ended up joining up with Excalibur, and when that team disbanded, he re-joined the X-Men, staying with them until he seemingly perished in an attempt (a successful one, at that) to cure the virus that killed his sister.
He returned to life and rejoined the X-Men and Kitty Pryde. He also got to do a fastball special again…
Colossus was one of the X-Men who was possessed by the Phoenix Force during Avengers vs. X-Men and after the event finished, he was feeling really guilty for his actions while possessed and also had a hard time controlling his transformations, so he ended up joining up with a new version of X-Force and pursuing a relationship with Domino (Cable gave him a harness to help fix his powers).
He eventually came back to the X-Men, as he normally does, and rejoined the team soon before Secret Wars.
45. Vision – 349 points (5 first place votes)
Besides a one-off appearance by Wonder Man, the Vision (created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema) was the first Avenger to join the team who had actually debuted in the pages of the Avengers, and like Wonder Man, he was created by an enemy of the Avengers, but also like Wonder Man, the android Vision broke free of his controlling by the evil Ultron, and soon became a valuable member of the Avengers, which made the Vision so happy that he cried…
Vision eventually became basically the backbone of the team, as you could tell from the corner box, which often depicted only the Vision.
Vision began a romance with teammate, the Scarlet Witch, and the two became the second Avenger teammates to marry each other.
The two lived wedded bliss, even having twin boys, until double devastation happened.
Soon before their children were born, The Vision was injured and had his mind hooked up with an alien computer – the alien computer corrupted The Vision, leading him to attempt to take over the world (in the process, the Vision did create the West Coast Avengers, which existed for quite a long time afterwards). Although the Vision was basically cleared of all wrongdoing, some government officials disagreed, and awhile later, they kidnapped him and took him apart, resulting in him losing all emotion and feelings for the Scarlet Witch.
On the heels of this, it was revealed that their children were not real, as well!!
Now basically re-booted, the Vision continued on with the Avengers, and ultimately began to re-establish emotions, even pursuing a romance with his teammate, Carol Danvers.
However, when the Scarlet Witch went insane and tore the Avengers apart, one of her moves was to turn the Vision evil, leading to a berserk She-Hulk to tear him apart, apparently killing him.
A rebooted Vision showed up with the Young Avengers, made up of the remnants of Iron Lad’s armor, but this Vision had no connection (besides visual) to the original Vision. The original Vision, though, was returned to life and the Young Avengers Vision was destroyed.
The Vision, fresh off his appearance in the latest Avengers film, is about to get his first ongoing series ever!
44. Hawkeye (Kate Bishop) – 370 points (4 first place votes)
Created by Allan Heinberg and Jimmy Cheung, Kate Bishop was a rich heiress who was highly trained in archery. When the Young Avengers formed, she decided that she was going to be a member of the team, whether they were interested in having her or not. She took the name of Hawkeye, after the Avengers marksman who was seemingly dead at the time (I guess he actually WAS dead, right?). A few years into the Young Avengers’ existence, there was this spotlight mini-series on the various members and Matt Fraction wrote the one about Kate. In it, she meets the now-alive Clint Barton (Hawkeye) and the two had very good chemistry (from a mentor/protege standpoint).
Fraction remembered this and when he and David Aja launched a Hawkeye ongoing series, Kate was just as much part of the cast as Clint was. In fact, for a period there, Kate went to California to work as a sort of bohemian superhero and the book would alternate between stories featuring Clint and stories featuring Kate. The great Annie Wu would draw the Kate issues. Here she is, infiltrating Madame Masque’s operations but unwittingly discovering her own father’s criminal activities…
43. Sub-Mariner (Namor McKenzie) – 372 points (5 first place votes)
Namor, the Sub-Mariner, was created by Bill Everett, and sold to Marvel (nee Timely) Comics, soon becoming one of their “Big Three,” along with Captain America and the Human Torch.
Namor was from the lost city of Atlantis, son of a human and an Atlantean, and was one of the comic world’s first anti-hero, as he was not exactly definitely on “our” side, although that changed with World War II, where Namor supporting the Allies against the Axis.
After the war, Namor eventually pretty much vanished, only to return in the pages of the Fantastic Four, where he decided to declare war on humans (although, at the same time, he did like one human – Sue Storm, the Invisible Girl).
Over the years, Namor has swung from noble villain (like this famous Daredevil moment)
to hero to villain to hero to villain to hero (even joining the Avengers!) that you really have to keep a scorecard. John Byrne came up with a cool solution to the problem, arguing that Namor’s half-human/half-Atlantean chemistry often threw Namor off if he had not gotten enough water (or, alternatively, enough air), which resulted in violent mood swings.
Namor joined the X-Men after the events of Civil War, and he was one of the members of the team who ended up being possessed by the Phoenix Force during Avengers vs. X-Men. As a result, he began to escalate conflict between Atlantis and the African country of Wakanda, and Namor and Black Panther have become sworn rivals in recent years, driving much of their stories together.
42. Magik (Illyana Rasputin) – 374 points (6 first place votes)
Illyana actually made her debut in the same issue that Colossus got his start, Giant-Size X-Men #1 (by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum). However, it was Chris Claremont who came up with the idea to give her a name and a personality and make her part of the X-Men’s supporting cast.
In Uncanny X-Men #160, she was captured in the demonic limbo for seemingly a second, but that was more than enough for her to live for years in Limbo…
The teenaged Illyana soon became best friends with Kitty Pryde. But we eventually learned that she had gone through some hardcore stuff while in Limbo and was now a powerful sorceress, on top of her mutant ability to teleport. The problem was that the use of these black arts slowly risked her very soul. Here, we see a little bit of the effect in an issue of New Mutants (she joined the junior X-Men team)…
After the events of Inferno, Illyana turned back to a little girl, but sadly she then contracted the Legacy Virus and was one of the first notable victims of the disease, with the extra indignity of dying with only Jubilee in the room…
Luckily, as it turns out, enough of Illyana’s soul had been left behind in Limbo that she was able to be sort of put back together, first as the demonic Darkchylde but eventually back to her normal self (well, teenaged normal self). She was one of the X-Men who was possessed by the Phoenix Force during Avengers vs. X-Men. When it all settled down, she joined Cyclops’ new team of X-Men, searching for new mutants to teach…
41. Hank Pym – 391 points (8 first place votes)
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Hank Pym actually first showed up as an unnamed scientist in an issue of Tales to Astonish done more as a monster story, as a man trapped at the size of an ant. Lee and Kirby were relaunching the Marvel superhero universe at this point, however, so they quickly revisited this character only now as a superhero!
Ant-Man had a weird inspiration for his name. His wife was from Communist Hungary and after she was killed in a visit back home…
What if she had told him a different Proverb?!?
Ant-Man became a founding member of the Avengers and it appears that this was the beginning of the end, in a way, as he became more and more self-conscious about his powers in the face of his powerful teammates, so he kept trying to improve his powers. He became Giant-Man then Goliath and then, after having a mental breakdown forming a split personality, he became Yellowjacket. In this split personality, he married his longtime girlfriend, the Wasp. You might think, “But Brian, marrying someone while they’re in the middle of a mental breakdown doesn’t seem like a good idea” and you would be correct.
After some more years of mental instability, Hank and the Wasp split after he phyiscally struck her during an argument. However, he slowly built his life back up again and became an Avenger under his own identity, Hank Pym!
That did not last that long and soon he was back to being Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, Ant-Man and even for a brief period when Janet Van Dyne was thought to be dead, the Wasp!
Even worse than his mental problems, Hank’s deadliest legacy was the fact that he invented the evil artificial intelligence known as Ultron. Most recently, Hank and Ultron merged into one being, effectively killing Hank’s human body in the process. Since this was done by Rick Remender presumably with the intent of picking it up in future Uncanny Avengers issues and Remember then left that book, I do not know what will become of Ultron/Hank. Hopefully someone separates the two in the future!
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