Comic books have such a long and rich history it would be impossible for everyone to agree on who the top 5 characters of all time would be. What I did was choose the 5 that really stood out to me, and have made a lasting impression. It would be too easy to get upset that someone didn't include the character(s) you love, but that is what makes comic books so great. We all have a personal connection to these characters and what they mean to us. So without further delay, here are my top 5 comic book characters.
5. Yorick Brown (Vertigo Comics)
Being the last man on earth sounds like a fantasy come true, but don't tell that to Yorick Brown. After a plague only leaves two males (one human, one monkey) left on earth Yorick treads through a sea of estrogen to meet up with his girlfriend. What follows is a tragic and heroic story. Yorick may not be a superhero and possibly only survived the plague due to his pet monkey's feces, but his tale is about how our life experiences change what and who we value. The plot is far fetched, but Yorick's character development hits close to home. Yorick's journey around the apocalyptic world is almost as fascinating as his journey of personal discovery.
4. Green Arrow (DC Comics)
I'd be lying if I didn't say the phenomenal CW show Arrow didn't increase my love of the emerald archer ten fold. But Oliver Queen has always been one of my favorite characters in comic history. Some would argue his weapon of choice is archaic and ineffective, but ask this guy if he thinks that (BTW he won't answer, because he's dead/fictitious). What sets Green Arrow apart from other comic characters to me were the stories his comics tackled. His shared comic series with Green Lantern was one of the first to address drug use, racism, and socioeconomic struggles. Green Arrow may have started as a Batman/Robin Hood hybrid, but he evolved into his own unique character and to me, what he became was my all time #4 favorite comic character.
3. Rogue (Marvel Comics)
Mutants already have it tough in the Marvel universe. They're feared and hunted just because they're different. Rogue's burden on top of that is she hurts and drains whomever she comes into physical contact with. If that wasn't bad enough her powers manifested themself during her first kiss with a boy. I know my first kiss was awkward (just happened yesterday *high five*), but I don't think my lip partner ended up in a coma afterwards (unless that's why she won't return my texts). Rogue started her super powered career on the villain side, but soon saw the light and joined the X-Men. She has gained and lost additional powers during her time as an X-Men, but one thing that hasn't changed is her devotion to peace between mutants and humans. What I admired most about her was that even though she couldn't have a normal life, she fought so others could.
2. Spider-Man (Marvel Comics)
I'm sure Spider-Man shows up high on a lot of these lists, with good reason too. Peter Parker was and always will be one of the easiest characters to relate to. He made mistakes, suffered losses, and had to face everyday fears along with the occasional supervillain ruining his plans for the evening. Spider-Man to me was proof that being superhuman didn't stop you from being human. In fact, he only became a hero after failing to take action cost him the life of his Uncle. Don't even act like you've never heard "with great power comes great responsibility." His stories ended with him getting dumped, failing a class, or sometimes losing the love of his life. Spider-Man showed readers that doing the right thing didn't mean reaping the benefits, but instead making the necessary sacrifice. Spider-Man puts good first and sometimes that means he'll finish last.
1. Superman (DC Comics)
Go ahead, call me cliche. But to me, there's none greater. There's many reasons to make him my #1 comic book character of all time. He was the first to usher in an age of superheroes that is still going strong today. Even more influencing to me is what he represents. Kal-El, born of another planet is sent to earth where he is essentially a God with powers no one can match. He decides (with some influence from both his biological and adoptive parents) to use his abilities to serve the people of this planet. Furthermore, he takes up the identity of a nobody so that he can live a "normal" life, when in reality he could have whatever he wants. I'd like to think that I'd make the same choice, that if I somehow got powers that I wouldn't use them selfishly. I can tell you thanks to Superman's lessons of sacrifice and courage I would be more likely to make the right choice. So can I have powers now?
So that's my list, thanks for taking the time to read it. I'm sure you have other characters in mind that I missed. Feel free to tell me why they belong in the comments.