Some people look at comic books and all they see are magazines with flashy characters and simple plots meant for children. But if they were to really look into them, they'd see that they are so much more than that. Comics are representations of life. They feature love, loss, and many more of the themes that occur in every day life. Sure, they're sometimes hidden behind characters in colorful costumes thwarting evil plots to take over the universe, but that's what makes them so brilliant! Stuffing so much symbolism behind these characters and their settings takes a lot of dedication. I've been reading comic books since I was young; but as a young child, I of course never picked up on what my favorite characters really meant to me. Now that I'm older, nearing that line that once I cross enters me into adulthood, I've started to realize why I loved these characters so much.
So I bring to you, my top 5 favorite comic book characters, and why I've loved them since I was a child! In no particular order!
Amazing, Spectacular, Superior, no matter what the title, Spider-Man was and always will be one of my favorites! In truth, Spider-Man is one of the most influential characters in comic book history. His story speaks to so many people in so many different ways! From his lack of parents speaking to young kids without a mother, father or both, and showing them that you can still be the best you and jump the obstacle no matter how high; to his motto of "With great power comes great responsibility" teaching children that they are responsible for their actions, Spider-Man is definitely a motivational character.
I'm still learning lessons from Peter Parker. Being in college is tough, so is growing up and managing school with other things important to me, but if Peter Parker can study for his math test and still go out and fight crime, I think I can handle it! Granted, I won't be going out to fight crime any time soon. But who knows, maybe one day I'll be bitten by a radioactive spider and instead of my face melting off, I'll get super powers!
Anyway, Spider-Man's many themes, motivational story and amazing character is why to this day, he's on my favorites list!
I know, I know, why would a crazy and homicidal character such as Deadpool be a favorite of mine since childhood? Well, for one thing, Deadpool is awesome and deserves to be on any favorites list, regardless of whether or not it even has to do with him! But seriously, the reason Deadpool has stuck with me for so long, is that he's a hero who isn't a hero. Deadpool's standpoint on the battle of good versus evil is questionable, but he's officially listed as an anti-hero who started out as a villain. Most heroes are very one-dimensional on the outside. Like I said, if you look more into them, you'll see they are about so much more.
But you don't need to extensively look into Deadpool to figure out what he's all about! He's crazy, funny and obsessed with chimichangas, yet he still manages to be a great anti-hero with a complicated origin story! It's the unusual-ness about his whole character that makes him so interesting. To me, he's a bit of a clever parody of the superheroes we've grown up with. If you saw a man in stars & stripes spandex running around with a shield, or a man flying around in a heavy iron suit, you'd probably think they're insane! This reflection on the typical hero makes Deadpool an intriguing character.
We've all wanted to be a number of things as kids; pirates, knights, astronauts etc. But the number one profession on our list of dream jobs, was superheroes. Young Billy Batson received the envy of every kid on earth when he was granted super powers by an old and wise wizard! DC clearly read the minds of every impressionable young child when making this one; it had everything we've ever wanted in life! But as a kid, I only focused on the fact that this kid, Billy Batson got to live my dream. I never noticed the actual lesson behind his origins.
Sure he got powers, but rather than do what every other kid would do, and go around blasting things with lightning bolts and seeing how far he could throw a semi, he actually acted responsibly with his powers. Shazam taught kids that having powers isn't all fun and games, and that when you're given special abilities, you should use them for good.
I think that Billy was meant to be a role model for young children, who without even knowing it, were learning lessons about growing up, being mature and finding yourself, all by looking at this kid their age who quite literally had to grow up. I'm 17 years old, and I started college back when I was 16. Not because I'm some incredible genius (trust me I'm no Dexter, the science whiz not the...serial killer guy...), but due to family situations, I had to step up. Granted, I'm still an immature teenager with a mind as impressionable and mold-able as wet clay, but I owe heroes like Shazam for my sense of maturity.
Truth be told, I never read Static Shock comics as a kid. But I got my fill of the electrifying teen hero's adventures thanks to the TV series! Back when DC shows on Cartoonnetwork were good, and not Teen Titans Go Away and Never Return, Static Shock was my favorite! Interestingly enough, I had no idea he was a DC character back then. Actually, I didn't really know who was Marvel or DC when I was young, I never paid much attention the logos back then. Anyway, Static is a teenage superhero with the ability to control electromagnetism, meaning he has lightning powers! As if that wasn't cool enough, he flies around on a sick hoverboard that he powers with his electricity volts!
Back then, as a child, I was humbly ignorant to the racial issues our society faced, and still faces today. But despite these racial tensions, Static, a minority character, managed to become a hit amongst all children, and became one of CN's highest rated shows! His popularity unknowingly encouraged a young half-Hispanic, half-black me that anything was possible! If Static could be as successful as Batman, despite his race and age (age was/is also a debatable topic when it comes to social issues, in a way), then why couldn't I become what I wanted to become? For a while, I wanted to be Static! Then a scientist, and then president. Again, the usual children dreams. But looking back on it, Static was teaching me that as long as you worked for it, you could achieve whatever it is you want to achieve. Unless it's becoming a superhero with electrical powers, that's pretty much impossible. For now at least.
Commissioner James Gordon
He may not wear a tight suit of spandex or possess godlike powers, but Commissioner Gordon is still very much a superhero! James is the head of the GCPD, and is a close friend of Batman, aiding him in any way he can. Despite being an officer, James is much more than your average, donut-loving cop. He knows martial arts, and trained himself to withstand the toughest of torturous situations. When he's called on by Batman, he's no nuisance, able to handle himself against Bane if he had to!
Commissioner Gordon is always regarded as a side-character in the Batman universe; but it was James, not Bats, that showed every reader that he didn't need a flashy suit, or a utility belt, or insanely overpowered abilities to save the day! James came from a poor family, unlike Bruce, and yet still has managed to get to a physical point where he can go head-to-head with Batman and actually stand a chance. Lesson learned, you don't need fancy gadgets or crap loads of money to be successful!
There you have it, my top 5 comic characters, and the lessons they taught me throughout my life! It may seem like I'm reading too much into these characters, but comics are impressionable and taken different ways depending on who reads them.