I’m not going to lie, this list was really hard. I had to think about the characters that meant the most to me but also the ones that I really just liked for no other reason than I just liked them even if it was weird. Mostly this list contains superheroes and anime characters. With the loads and loads of characters that have been created in the many fandoms, it was super hard.
Other than the Pink and Yellow Rangers, and the Sailor Scouts, Batgirl was one of the first girl heroes that I admired. Batgirl had no powers, only her brains and natural skills as a detective and a gymnast. Then, I discovered that there was more than one girl who held the mantle of Batgirl. The Barbara Gordon Batgirl will always be one of my favourites because of Batman: The Animated Series, but her development into the Oracle made me love the person under the mask more. Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown and the original Betty Kane (retooled into Bette Kane, these days) were all Batgirls too. And I love all the ladies that were ever Batgirl. I think that it’s an important legacy.
Batwoman/Kate Kane is one of my newer favourites. I like Kate Kane’s origin story and how she dons the Bat-symbol but does not really live under the shadow of Batman. She’s an intense character and hard to like, but she’s her own person. She makes her choices and lives with them. She’s an honourable soldier of justice. And it’s pretty cool that how she decided to not lie about herself anymore and felt compelled to confess that she was gay to her superiors in the Navy.
8. Ichigo Kurosaki
Bleach just ended recently and it was one of my favourites. Even though creator Tite Kubo made loads, and loads, and loads of characters, Ichigo is my favourite character in the series. He reminded me of Yusuke Urameshi from Yu Yu Hakusho, but didn’t have the edge that Yusuke had as a character. He was a good kid, a smart kid, but because of his hair and his scowl, people thought him a hooligan.
Ichigo was a mama’s boy and when he lost her, he changed from a smiling little boy to a scowling teenager. He’s very protective of the people that he loves, especially his sisters and his friends. He goes through a lot but also chooses to do what he believes to be the best way to protect everyone. (By the way, his name literally means ‘one who protects’ or alternatively, ‘strawberry’).
7. Naruto Uzumaki
Naruto ended a few years ago. Out of Masashi Kishimoto’s plentiful amount of characters, Naruto was always my favourite. Naruto started off as a bratty kid who wanted to be strongest ninja in the village. But immediately we learn that this kid houses a horrible evil fox demon and everyone hates him. Naruto was the ultimate underdog. While Naruto did drag on sometimes, I was always waiting to see Naruto achieve his dream. Sometimes in anime and manga, the hero doesn’t always get a happy ending or it’s a bittersweet one. Naruto needed a happy ending, an ending where he got what he always wanted—not being Hokage, but having a family that loved him.
6. Monkey D. Luffy
One Piece is never going to end. Luffy is awesome. Out of all the anime characters, I love Luffy the most. He’s kind of an endearing, but adventurous idiot who wants to be the King of the Pirates. He shanghaied most of his crew into joining him. Does this guy follow plans or logic? Hell no. Does he care what other people think? No. Never tell him that you’re going to be the King of the Pirates because those are fighting words. Worse, make his crew upset or anyone he considers a friend cry, enemies beware that Luffy will kick a$$. The rubber man pirate who can’t swim wants to be the King of the Pirates…it’s the greatest ridiculous story ever.
5. Ms. Marvel
By Ms. Marvel, I mean not the amazing Carol Danvers (who doesn’t mean the same to me as she does to other people), but Kamala Khan. This girl is adorable. She’s us. She’s a fangirl who actually writes fanfiction about superheroes and then, bam! The Terrigen mist of the Inhumans covers the Earth and what?! Kamala Khan is an Inhuman. Of course, she’s going to be a superhero. As Captain Marvel is her favorite hero, Kamala becomes Ms. Marvel of Jersey City.
Oh, wait, she’s from a traditional Muslim-American family, and where her parents want her to do well in school and don’t really understand her. Kamala’s struggle to find herself among being an Inhuman, being Muslim in America, being the daughter of immigrants, being an American teenager but at the same time, not feeling like she belongs is a great story because it’s a reflection.
4. Damian Wayne/Robin
Tim Drake was my Robin growing up, but is he my favourite Robin? No. I like Tim and Dick, for sure, but they are merely okay. Batgirl was always my favourite in the BTAS and such. Jason Todd is an interesting anti-hero as Red Hood, and he’s cool too. However, my favourite Robin is the ten-year-old son of Batman/Bruce Wayne and Talia, daughter of Batman’s enemy Ra’s Al Ghul, Damian Wayne. Damian is difficult, harsh and doesn’t understand normal human interactions. All he wants is to have his father’s approval (and love). He’s a hurt kid lashing out at the people that he thinks are trying to steal his father (i.e. Dick, Tim, Jason). Damian’s always going to be on the path of redemption and he’s a frigging kid.
3. Mary Marvel
Mary Marvel, the sister of the original Captain Marvel, was the All-American girl and the girl next door rolled into one. Mary was smart, as powerful as her brother, but kind and sweet and generous. Her alter ego as Mary Bromfield-Batson was just the same. She’s one of those characters that I just like. Maybe it’s her horrendous treatment in the late Pre-New 52 world as Black Mary Marvel or maybe she’s the every girl. I don’t know why.
2. Wonder Woman
Of course, Wonder Woman is on my list. Most people who know me would think that she would be number one, but she’s not. Diana’s amazing. She’s powerful. She’s brilliant, but kind and uses her words before fighting. I still maintain that in a fair fight Wonder Woman would be able to beat Superman. She’s level-headed and will try to right all wrongs one step at a time.
1. Shazam/The Original Captain Marvel
I have been told that it’s weird that he’s my favourite. But a kid who can say a magic word and turn into a super-powered hero, isn’t that just fabulous? I really like Billy Batson’s story. The history of the character is so convoluted in comic book and in real world. He was once the most popular superhero in the 1940s. But he’s one of those heroes that royally got screwed over by lawsuits.
The character was subject to lawsuits, a lot of them. Fawcett was under fire for supposedly copying Superman from DC (then National Comics). Cap and his Marvel Family was put on the shelves lost to time. Timely Comics eventually grabbed up the ‘Marvel’ term when the copyright on the original Captain Marvel and his Marvel family lapsed. When DC revived the characters in the 1970s, Marvel threatened to sue DC for using the name Captain Marvel.
When “Crisis on Infinite Earths” finally crashed the Elseworld that was home to the original Captain Marvel and his family into the main Earth. The character does not belong on the same world as Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman…because he’s not the strongest, nor the smartest, nor the fastest hero. He’s symbol’s no longer just his (he shares the lighting symbol with the Flash) and his mythological and magic origin has been done with Wonder Woman. His only role these days is to fight Superman, because of Superman’s vulnerability to magic. He’s over-shadowed and under-utilised.
These are my favourite top 10 characters. I surprised myself when I create the list because Sailor Moon and Son Goku are not on it. I stopped liking Goku after the Namek arc and gave up on him at the end of the series when he left his family to train Uub because it was for selfish reasons and not for protecting Earth. And Sailor Moon’s great, but she’d be in my top 30 characters for sure.
Who are you’re favourite characters in comic books? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!