2015 Top DC Characters 50-41

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. Superboy (Kon-El) - 288 points (3 first place votes)

After the Death of Superman, four being showed up that people confused for being the return of Superman. One of those beings turned out to be the CLONE of Superman, only taken out of his development before maturation finished, so the clone was still a teenager. Eventually going by the name Superboy (he was created by Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett), this clone was a brasher version of Superman, with powers that worked more based on telekinesis than actual Kryptonian powers (the clone was cloned from half Superman DNA and half human DNA).

After an impressive solo career on the island state of Hawaii, this young hero (who had long been given the Kryptonian name of Kon-El by Superman) moved to Smallville and began living with Superman’s adopted parents, the Kents. Here he adapted Kon-El to Conner Kent, and began wearing a new costume (originally he wore a leather jacket – now it was a black T-shirt with a Red S on it and blue jeans). He became a member of a newly reformed Teen Titans and developed a relationship with Wonder Girl. However, he soon discovered that the human half of his DNA was from Lex Luthor!!! Luthor then showed that he had put in some failsafes in Superboy’s DNA, and he was able to turn Superboy against his teammates. Superboy eventually fought this off. However, it was only in time to sacrifice himself to help save the world from an insane version of Superboy from another universe. Luckily, he was able to return to life in an adventure involving the Legion of Super-Heroes, and he returned to Smallville as a local hero (in the tradition of Superman as a teen hero named Superboy in Smallville).

The New 52 Superboy...well, let's not get into that. It will not make any one happy.

49. Green Lantern (John Stewart) - 289 points (4 first place votes)

Introduced in the early 1970s (created by Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams) as an alternate Green Lantern, John Stewart eventually took over the role full time for a while during the 1980s and even when Hal Jordan returned, John continued to be a major player in the Green Lantern comics. An architect, John's finest moments in the comics might have come in the early 1990s when Gerard Jones and Cully Hamner did a series called Green Lantern: Mosaic, where John starred as the main protector of a so-called "Mosaic" world made of various cities from around the universe...

It was a nice, thoughtful approach to a character who had gone through a lot of turmoil in the late 1980s, from his wife being murdered to his arrogance being responsible for the death of a planet (him dealing with the guilt of the planet that was destroyed was, like, his main character trait for YEARS).

John Stewart was a supporting character in the Green Lantern comics after Kyle Rayner took over the role but his biggest spotlight came when he was made a member of the Justice League in the animated series adaptation of the comics. This John Stewart was a Marine and that approach was eventually adapted to the comics version of John (I explored the transition here) until it has now become his largest trait by far - he is a former Marine and that is what all of his adventures tend to revolve around, him as a military veteran.

48. Animal Man - 290 points (1 first place votes)

Due to some alien visitors, Buddy Baker gained the ability to borrow the abilities of animals, like flying like a nearby bird, running like a nearby cheetah, etc. This led to Buddy becoming the hero, Animal Man (created by Dave Wood and Carmine Infantino).

Eventually, Buddy grew tired of the hero game, and settled down with his wife and his two young children. He popped up occasionally with a few other mostly retired heroes in the Forgotten Heroes. After Crisis, though, he was back to being retired. However, eventually he got restless and became Animal Man again, even joining the Justice League!!

It was during this time that Grant Morrison wrote Buddy's first ongoing title, where Morrison used Buddy to explore both animal rights and also metafictive concepts about comic books, like acknowledging Crisis and how the series had changed "continuity." Morrison even appeared in the comic, as "The Writer."

After Morrison's departure, Buddy's book became more and more surreal, until its cancellation when, after being absent for a few years, Buddy just basically went back to the way he was at the end of Morrison's run.

Recently, Jeff Lemire had a strong ongoing series starring Buddy that managed to toe the line nicely between the surrealism of Morrison's run and having Animal Man still be a superhero. Jeff Parker has continued to maintain that approach in the pages of Justice League United.

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