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2019 Top DC Characters 40-36

After nearly 1,100 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 revealing that list throughout the rest of the month. The countdown continues now...

In the past, I've typically done sort of "biographies" for each of the characters on the list, but you know what, they're on the Top 100 DC and Marvel characters list, I think we should be working under the assumption that you all pretty much know the basic information about these characters. Instead, I'll just write about whatever interests me about the character in question, including a notable comic book moment featuring the character.

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40. Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) -286 points (3 first place votes)

Blue Beetle was actually one of the more popular superheroes of the 1940s, but that was a whole other guy, Dan Garrett, and TWO COMPANIES removed from DC Comics. Blue Beetle was one of the first superheroes launched by Fox Features Syndicate, one of the earliest comic book companies that launched specifically in response to the success of National Comics' Superman feature (other comic book companies had already been around before Superman, but then there was a boom of companies trying to get their own Superman). Blue Beetle was popular enough that he even had his own newspaper comic strip! Eventually, though, sales fell by the wayside and Fox went out of business, selling the character to Charlton Comics in the 1950s. Charlton did not have any real idea on what to do with the character, either. They did a series of sporadic relaunches of the character but none of them sold. Eventually, they decided to just use the well-known name and drop the other elements all together. After becoming a major success at Marvel Comics, Steve Ditko was sick of Marvel for various reasons, one of which was that he felt that he did not have enough creative control at Marvel, despite the fact that he plotted his titles all by himself. There was always something that he had to deal with the company changing, either when Stan Lee scripted the issue or else when Marvel owner Martin Goodman just wanted to go a different direction with the series.

Charlton gave Ditko the freedom to basically launch his own line of superheroes, only Ditko's heroes were called "Action Heroes."

Ditko then introduced a new version of Blue Beetle as a science hero rather than a superhero, as Ted Kord, the new Beetle, was all about technology and athleticism...

Blue Beetle got his own title. Check out how awesome Ditko's action sequences were...

Sales did not do well for Ditko's line of superheroes and he soon made his way to DC Comics. Eventually, Charlton sold their superheroes to DC Comics, as well. The Editor-in-Chief of Charlton at the time Ditko launched these new heroes was Dick Giordano and Giordano was the head editor at DC years later when DC purchased the characters. It was almost as if they were buying them as present for Giordano.

Len Wein and Paris Cullens launched a fairly faithful adaptation of the Ditko Blue Beetle...

The series did not sell that well, though. However, luckily for Beetle, a twist of fate would work in his advantage. DC was relaunching the Justice League, but new writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis were not allowed to use most of DC's most prominent superheroes (like Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, etc.) and so instead they used other solo heroes who had their own titles, such as Blue Beetle.

Giffen and DeMatteis decided to turn Beetle into a sort of sitcom character, an everyman trapped in a world of absurd superhero shenanigans, much of which were perpetuated by Beetle and his new teammate, Booster Gold, who soon became Beetle's best friend...

For a while there, this version of the Justice League was one of DC's most popular titles and Blue Beetle and Booster Gold (or "Blue and Gold") became cult icons. Eventually, though, Giffen and DeMatteis moved on and later writers couldn't quite seem to capture the same voice for Blue and Gold and so they settled into comic book limbo. Beetle was brought out of limbo just to be the sacrificial lamb that launched Infinite Crisis, as he is murdered after discovering the OMAC Project ( something that Batman couldn't even do).

A new Blue Beetle took over, returning the character to superpowered adventures, but after the New 52 occurred, Ted Kord was brought back to life and Blue and Gold played a prominent role in DC's recent crossover series, Heroes in Crisis.

39. Donna Troy – 295 points (5 first place votes)

In the late 50s, writer Robert Kanigher, in the pages of Wonder Woman, had decided to give Wonder Woman the same approach that Superman was given at the time with the Superboy series, by telling tales of when Wonder Woman was a toddler (Wonder Tot) and a young girl (Wonder Girl).

These stories proved to be quite popular (so popular that, by 1965, there would be issues where Wonder Girl's name would be larger than Wonder Woman's on the title of the comic), so Kanigher's next step was, in the early 60s, to begin to tell "impossible tales" where there would be a team-up of Wonder Woman, herself as a toddler, herself as a girl, and her mother."

A few years later, Bob Haney then added Wonder Girl to the roster of the newly formed Teen Titans (Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad had had a team-up by Haney and Bruno Premiani a few issues earlier and it had done well enough that it got a sequel in Brave and the Bold #60, with the heroes now becoming an official team)...

Obviously, Wonder Girl should not have been able to join the Teen Titans, as she was just a younger version of Wonder Woman. However, in the comics of the era where Haney was creating the Titans, Wonder Woman's comic long stopped making references to Wonder Girl being anything but Wonder Woman's teen sister. She interacted with Wonder Woman as if she were her teenage sister and really, it would be completely unfair to expect Haney to know these facts when he was casting Teen Titans.

Wonder Girl was a major character on the team in the early years, but she remained just "Wonder Girl" until Marv Wolfman coined a name for her in Teen Titans #22, the same issue Wolfman had her come up with a new costume...

However, when Crisis on Infinite Earths changed DC's continuity so that Wonder Woman did not arrive from Themyscira until modern times, then that threw Wonder Girl's origin for a loop once more. She couldn't very well have been a longtime Teen Titan if Wonder Woman was only showing up now, right? So her origin was modified so that she was inspired by the Titans of myth, with her new name becoming Troia...

As Wonder Woman's origins have changed over the years, Donna Troy has returned to being an Amazon and/or Wonder Woman's sister, but she's kept the same basic name and star pattern of her Troia set up, only going by simply Donna Troy and rocking typically a much more simplified version of the Troia outfit.

38. Sinestro – 311 points (1 first place vote)

Created by John Broome and Gil Kane, Sinestro really had a hell of an origin...

He became a longstanding rival of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, but it was writer Geoff Johns who really brought the character to the next level with the introduction of the Sinestro Corps...

The Sinestro Corps War is one of the most acclaimed Green Lantern crossovers of all-time and Sinestro was, naturally enough, front and center. He played a key role in the expanding "Color-verse" of the Green Lantern comics, as he became practically a regular cast member of the Green Lantern comic. Heck, when the New 52 began, he even BECAME Green Lantern for a little bit.

He eventually received his own ongoing series. Most recently, he has been serving alongside Luthor and the Legion of Doom. In a recent one-shot, Sinestro cleverly defeated an enemy that was made nigh invulnerable through a race of microscopic beings that kept repairing the larger beings and Sinestro found a way to defeat them by giving the microscopic beings a slightly longer lifespan (they typically just lived 0.8 microseconds and Sinestro moved that to 1 microsecond) and this, in turn, gave them so much free time that they eventually began to question their lot in life and rebelled against their masters. Sinestro is so good at finding an order to things that he also knows how to cause DISorder, as well!

37. Starfire – 345 points (3 first place votes)

When she was first introduced by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, Starfire brought with her an interesting piece of innocence to the New Teen Titans, as Wolfman and Perez got a lot of good-natured humor out of her adjustment to living on Earth...

However, they never forgot that she could cut loose and be a total badass when the need arose...

Stafire's relationship with Dick Grayson highlighted her time with the Titans. They actually had a wedding but that's where her character fell apart in the 1990s. She sort of went nuts and then was written out of the book entirely. She slowly made her way back to the DC Universe at around the turn of the 21st Century.

When the New 52 came around, Starfire got a bit of the short shrift, despite starring in Red Hood and the Outlaws with Red Hood and Arsenal, she was treated as a bit of a blank slate. She literally couldn't tell her human friends apart in general. Eventually, though, she got her own ongoing series, which went back to the classic "fish out of water" angle again...

She has now settled into a more classic version of the character, most likely inspired by the success of the Teen Titans Go cartoon, where she is a major character.

36. Rorschach – 355 points (7 first place votes)

Rorschach was created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons in their classic mini-series, Watchmen.

Based on Steve Ditko's The Question, Rorschach was a ruthless investigator who believed in absolutism and objectivism, and also was probably more than a little bit insane. Alan Moore actually found some fascinating influences for Rorschach. Not only did he turn to David Berkowitz, the serial killer known as the Son of Sam, for Rorschach's distinctive writing patterns, but Moore looked to the 1960s comedic comic character, Herbie the Fat Fury, for Rorschach's distinctive speaking pattern!

Herbie the Fat Fury was a young super-powered boy created by artist Ogden Whitney (with scripts by Richard E. Hughes) for American Comics Group who was, well, let's just say was one of the strangest "superheroes" that you'll ever see. Each Herbie story was more outlandish than the previous one.

Here, from Forbidden Worlds #114, we see Herbie meet the President and the First Lady...

and a few issues later, he sells his soul to the devil for lollipops...

Moore loved the cadence of Herbie's delivery and he adapted it to fit Rorschach, whose single-mindedness was sort of the logical conclusion of an obsessed character along the lines of Batman. In fact, it is that single-minded desire to solve a problem that causes Rorschach to lead the drive of the murder mystery in Watchmen, as he attempts to discover who killed the former superhero, The Comedian.

In issue #6, Rorschach is thrown into prison (because he has been operating as a vigilante illegally for years). That issue becomes a Rorschach spotlight, as he slowly consumes his own prison therapist in his madness...

Similarly, later in the series, it is Rorschach's single-minded approach to justice that will not allow him to accept Ozymandias' plan for world peace, because it doesn't fit into Rorschach's idea of justice. He is far too much of an obsessive Objectivist to give any room for compromise.

Visually, Rorschach is known for his mask, which is based on the Rorschach psychological test.

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