What does it take to be one of the greatest comic book characters of all time? For my own personal list, it takes a great back story, interesting characteristics, and pure awesomeness. There are so many great comic book characters to choose from, and to only list five is pretty difficult, but I have made my decisions! Who's to say they might chance once this article is complete, but for now, this is what I have!
#5. Superman/Clark Kent
After his birth parents sent him to planet Earth to save him from the annihilation of their home planet Krypton, Kal-El is adopted by Jonathon and Martha Kent; Two rural farmers from Smallville, Kansas. Growing up on the farm, Kal, now renamed Clark Kent, learns of his alien blood and slowly discovers who he really is and where he came from. After years of discovering powers such as super strength, speed, and flight, Clark realizes that he was put on this planet for a reason. To project humanity and fight for truth, justice, and the American way.
I chose Superman/Clark Kent as my number five because Clark uses his secret identity in a different way from how other superheros do. Superman doesn't wear a mask. He doesn't feel the need to hide his face when up against evil. When Clark Kent is Superman, he is simply being himself. He is Kal-El. However, when Superman is being Clark Kent, that's when the alter-ego comes in. Unlike most superhero alter-egos, Superman must hide who he is as Clark Kent. A dorky, well mannered writer for the Daily Planet. The kind of man who's nervous, wears glasses, stutters and is not exactly the ideal man. But when evil is afoot, Clark finds the nearest telephone booth, and becomes the man he really is: Superman. I chose Superman to be on this list because of his uniqueness as a character. Not because he's gosh darn Superman, but because of how interesting of a character he is.
#4. Dick Grayson
Look up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! No! It's the Flying Grayson's! Dick Grayson and his family were a team of acrobats in the circus. After his parents were murdered, Dick was orphaned at a very young age. Billionaire Bruce Wayne opened up his home to the boy, understanding how it feels to be a frightened orphan at such a young age. After learning about Bruce's alter ego, Dick wanted to fight alongside the Batman. Finally Bruce agreed, and trained Dick as his young ward, Robin. Together the two had their good times and disagreements over the years. Eventually as Dick grew older, he faded away from the sidekick persona and moved to Blüdhaven to become his own superhero, Nightwing. He successfully proved that he didn't need Batman by his side to fight crime, and that he was a great hero on his own. Bruce still kept in touch with Dick, but it was never the same after he left.
I chose specifically Dick Grayson and not just Robin or Nightwing for a reason. The character of Dick Grayson has so much history to him, there's no way I could say that Robin or Nightwing is better then the other. I absolutely love the character development of Dick. How he was just like Bruce Wayne at a young age, orphaned and scared. Then how he was trained to become the (arguably) best Robin in Batman history, to his own crime fighting standalone hero Nightwing. I love the hashing out between him and Bruce, how Bruce still wants to protect him like a child but Dick wants to go out and be his own man. It's such a great father-son relationship. Honestly I would say that my favorite fictional family-relationship would probably be Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson. Batman and Robin.
#3. The Joker
Nobody truly knows who the Joker really is. Just a maniac in clown makeup that just showed up one day and began a never-ending havoc on the city of Gotham. One of the most evil, sadistic, sickening characters in comic book history. He murders because it's fun. There is no motive. There is no reason for what he does. The Joker does whatever he can to make Gotham City the most horrid place on Earth. No amount of jail-time, bat-beatings or torture can stop the Joker from doing what he loves to do. The Joker is responsible for some of the most iconic events in Batman history. He murdered Robin. He crippled Batgirl. And he took the greatest toll on Bruce Wayne's life. He never managed to kill the Batman, but the Joker has mentally obliterated him over the years. Hundreds and hundreds of lives destroyed at the hand of one man. The Joker is an appalling, horrific, monstrous excuse for a human being.
I chose the Joker as my number three because he is such an interesting specimen of person. The shear mentality of this man is so incredibly fascinating to study. Now I understand why Harley Quinn fell for him. If the Joker was a real person he would be looked upon as someone like Charles Manson, or even Adolf Hitler. Not so much the dictator side, but the amount of murder and death attached to his reputation. I guess the question is why the hell does he do it? How could someone be so mentally disturbed that they would commit these gruesome murders? Now of course if we're talking about the silly 60's Joker, these questions and suggestions aren't exactly coherent. I wouldn't compare Cesar Romero with Adolf Hitler. I'm talking about the newer Joker stories where he is seen as a literal psychopath. I chose the Joker because I want to know more about his past, but at the same time I don't, because the mystery of why he does what he does is one of the biggest reasons why i love him so much. Because we don't know. I guess it's true. Some men just want to watch the world burn.
Peter Parker was just an ordinary high school geek. He lived with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben, had an above average IQ, loved science, and didn't have many friends. His life was forever changed when one day on a school field trip he was bitten by a genetically-altered radio active spider and given the powers of wall climbing, speed, super strength, and spider-sense. At first he used his powers for his own profit to make some money, but when his uncle Ben was shot down in cold blood, Peter decided to use his gift and fight crime to make his city safe. Living by the phrase used by his uncle, "with great power comes great responsibility," Peter became New York City's favorite wall-crawling, web slinging hero, The Amazing Spider-Man! He developed his own webbing material used to fight crime and get around the city faster, and quickly became one of the most popular superheros in the world.
I chose Spider-Man as my number two because he has always been a favorite. Ever since I was a little kid, Spider-Man was the best. When I got older growing up in middle school and high school, the character stuck with me, because Peter Parker was so relatable. I was and still am a total dork, and liking the same things as Spider-Man always felt pretty cool. Whenever Peter put on the mask and became Spider-Man, he was a totally different person. He was no longer the shy, awkward nerd in high school, he was now the fun, quick-witted amazing Spider-Man. I love how his character changes when he hides his face and no one knows that it's him. I completely understand that. It's like going to comic-con or on Halloween, when I put a mask on I'm a new person. I can do whatever I want because no one knows it's me. I can be me. Peter Parker can be himself when he's Spider-Man because no one can judge him, or bully or pick on him. Spider-Man will always be a favorite for the rest of my life and always be extremely special to me.
After his mother and father were murdered in front of his eyes, young billionaire Bruce Wayne spent the next ten years of his life being raised by his butler Alfred Pennyworth. From the moment his parents were gunned down and he became an orphan to crime, Bruce vowed he would avenge his parents and keep his city safe from crime. After a frightening childhood encounter with a bat, Bruce later realized how he would do it. How he would keep his city safe. He went away for a while and trained. He became a master in fighting, an incredible detective and increased his already above average IQ and understanding of knowledge tenfold. When he returned to Gotham City, he used his wealth and fortune to create the best gadgetry money could buy. He finally came up with his dark, crime-fighting persona, The Batman. By day, he was billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne, but by night he was Gotham's hero, the dark knight.
I chose Batman as my number one because he's the god damn Batman! But seriously, Batman in my opinion is the perfect superhero. He has no super powers. He doesn't come from another planet. He doesn't have any special mind-blowing ability. He's just a tough, regular human being who worked hard through pain, torture, and darkness to become this incredible dark, crime-fighting avenger. He uses his wealth to benefit others. He knows how it feels to lose someone he loves and to live in a terrible city where no one cares who you are or what happens to you. He knows how it feels to be powerless and weak. He's stood up with the greatest super-powered figures on Earth, and in the universe, and he is seen as one of them because of his strength and ability to never give up. He knows he can't fly, or lift cars or run super fast, so he does everything humanly possible to match up with those forces. He does this to make his world a better and safer place. As dark, and gritty, and mind-numblingly dreadful as batman and his world can truly be, at the end of the day he's doing what he does to keep the good people safe. So a child can go outside and play, without the possibility of him not coming home. So a couple can sleep peacefully in their bed at night, without the thought of someone invading their home and entering their bedroom. So a family can go out and enjoy a show, without the worry of them getting mugged on the way home. Batman will always be number one.
Thank you so much for reading this! It took me a while to really narrow down five characters, so for my own sanity here are my Honorable Mentions!
Wolverine, Daredevil, Deadpool, Captain America, Hulk,