I have have been an avid fan of Comics since I was about 7 years old. I was not introduced by my parents or a friend. I became a fan of my own volition when I saw a comic rack in Borders and saw those awesome covers. As I "grew up" my interest only grew stronger and my passion was solidified when I found my local comic shop, Fat Jack's Comic Crypt in Philadelphia, in tenth grade. There I met some awesome people who helped me find the stories I was really into. Enough of this origin story (maybe I should have left this in my Bio); here are my top five Comic Book characters:
#5 This is a hero I consider to be very different from who I identify myself as. He is a man unhappy with his role as a hero. He is ungrateful for the powers bestowed upon him. He does not want to accept the responsibility. He is a vengeful hero. He will bring the sinners to justice. He is Ghost Rider:
The Spirit of Vengeance is in my top 5 for doing what he has to do, even if he doesn't want to. He got rid of the powers at one point, but realizing what the consequences of his actions were (A villain did a really bad thing with John Blaze out of the way) took them back.
#4 Ever since the first episode of Justice League Unlimited, this guy has been one of my favorite heroes of all time. Though I am not too happy with his recent iterations, this Emerald Knight will never be forgotten. He is a rich hero who is not Batman or Tony Stark. He had to go through hell on an island after being betrayed by his partners. He's like Robin Hood, but he's not Hawkeye... He's... He's just really cool alright? He is Green Arrow:
Oliver Queen became one of my favorites for his resourcefulness. Here is a hero with no actual powers but isn't brooding or an alcoholic, at least not in the iterations of him that I've seen. He is fun, and he is good natured. Like all heroes, he wants to do his best to save everyone and the ones he loves, but he does it in a way that's not generically heroic.
#3 There is something to be said when one of my favorite comic book characters is one who ferociously tears people apart and in some cases eats them, but that's to be expected of a crocodile man. Here's Killer Croc:
He became one of my favorite characters when the Joker's Asylum series came about. It was just a single issue, but it managed to make a character like Croc sympathetic. Here is a character shown nothing but fear and hatred, when he is essentially adopted by a man and his wife (after breaking out of Arkham right after brutally slaughtering a therapist). They climb their way up the mob latter, and you can feel a sense of familial connection. Croc was devoted to these people, when it turns out they were just using him. When he inevitably kills them out of rage, and Batman comes to find him, Croc does not fight back. He goes back to Arkham quietly stating that they are the real monsters. Croc is not just a one dimensional monster, he is a full character, and we don't often get to see that. (The issue I briefly described is probably my favorite Comic Book Issue of all time.)
#2 I am a reader who likes to read about characters I can relate to. I self Identify as a relatively good person, I try to do what's right be it through speech or action, and, this is a minor detail, but one that does connect me further to the character, I am a relatively faithful Christian much like Kurt Wagner aka Nightcrawler:
Nightcrawler is my favorite X-Man of all time. He is kind, good natured, and tries to see the good in people. He wants nothing more than the best for all people, and is all this in the face of adversity. From the moment of his creation, Kurt had been the subject of public scrutiny. He was arguably the best part of X2 having some of the more insightful dialogue from any of the characters in the film. Words that are inspirational for many, words that make you think about your outlook on others, on life. "Outside of the circus, most people are afraid of me. But I didn't hate them. I pitied them...Because most people will never know anything beyond what they see with their own two eyes." Nightcrawler's time on the team, up to and after his death and his return, has proven to be my connection to the X-Men, and, in my opinion, acts as the heart of the team, the compassion the team always needs.
#1 Here's one I'm sure a lot of people saw coming, mostly because he is a cultural phenomenon annually. He is the epitome of what a Hero should be. He puts everyone before himself...well usually. He is a hero that has always been defined by his greatest failure, but also his substantial amount of responsibility. Yeah, it's Peter Parker:
It's not Spider-man believe it or not. I think Spider-man, while funny, is a little too grating sometimes. No, the one I like and want to be is Peter Parker. While spider-man makes jokes through out all of his fights, Peter is the one taking the situation seriously. Here is a man who has almost always been dealt the worst hand. He is one of the most relatable characters I have ever read. I like him for similar reasons as I do Kurt, and for one other. Superheroes are given implied responsibility, but Peter, responsibility was a part of his upbringing, and is in the forefront of all his conscious decisions. He is always trying to do what he believes to be the right thing, and can own up to his mistakes when he realizes them. He is a humbled hero who wants nothing more than to protect all.
Today, comic book characters are no longer one dimensional heroes. They have flaws, they have the capacity to grow, they have arcs. For me, for a character to be enjoyable, they can't be perfect. They can't be infallible. They can't be unbeatable. When a character is invincible, they are boring to me. These characters aren't those things in my opinion. They have flaws, they have vulnerabilities, and they either fall victim to them, or they overcome them.