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Kevin Harkins’ Top 10 Comic Book Characters

For the final of my top ten lists I am going to be looking at my top ten favourite characters. This was probably the hardest list for me to do and there are a lot of characters I love that I did not put on this list since I could only have ten. While doing this list I was reminded of a film course I took in college and one thing we discussed was what is more important story or characters. I was on the side of characters as for me personally I care more about characters, their motivations, and the moments between them then the overarching plot. 

Now do not get me wrong I like a tight, well plotted story too, but if you give me some good characters I can be a little more forgiving on the plot aspect. This is probably also a reason why I have noticed I tend to be a little more forgiving of sequels then most people because I just love spending time with characters I love. For this list the only rule is they have to be a character who originated in a comic book, a character that was originally in a movie or TV show and then put in a comic book later will not be on the list (sorry Harley and Coulson). Without further adieu here is my last top ten list.

10. Ramona Flowers

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As you have seen from my other lists I am a huge Scott Pilgrim fan and one of the main reasons for that is the eccentric ensemble of amazing characters that story has. However there is a special place in my heart for Ramona Flowers who is my favourite character in the story. From the moment she first roller skates through Scott’s dream you can see why he would instantly be smitten with her. Some people accuse her of being a manic pixie dream girl and while she has some of those qualities there is enough back story and character development that goes against that trope.

You find out that she is just as messed up as Scott and runs away from her past and problems.  She is afraid she will never change and does not deserve happiness but Scott convinces her it is worth the fight to try.  In the end that is the ultimate triumph of Scott Pilgrim: not happily ever after, but the courage to try to be a better person with someone you love.

9. Hit-Girl

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One of the most bad ass characters in comic book history, and she is an eleven year old girl. From the moment she saves Kick-Ass it was apparent that this was a girl not to be messed with and a new superstar was born. A lot of appeal comes from the fact that such a personality can come out of the person you least expect and it works wonderfully here. If you love anti-hero vigilante characters she is one of the best. 

But for all the toughness she posses she is still just this little girl and after killing the main villain in the first series she breaks down about her father’s death. That is what make her work so well, the fact that the story never forgets that underneath it all this is a little girl. A Punisher in pint size form, Hit-Girl has become a modern comic book icon.

8. Kitty Pryde

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First introduced as a new teenage character so the readers had someone to relate too, Kitty has grown significantly over the years while still staying true to her original character. What makes Kitty great is she will never give up on her friends and always fights for them even if they are in disagreement. I still remember the end of “God Loves, Man Kills” when she sticks up to Stryker for Nightcrawler and how despite his appearance he is more human than him.  It has also been great to see her evolution from teenager to teacher to now Guardian of the Galaxy. But no matter what she is still Kitty Pryde and will always be one of the best X-Men.

7. Captain America

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The sentinel of liberty, the Captain has always been the hero along with Superman who represents our country most.  Why I am a fan of Superman, I prefer Cap as a character. I find it interesting how one of the superheroes who does not have the fanciest or strongest powers is the one most respected and leads the others. There is also the man out of time aspect and seeing how someone from the 1940s would react to our world today. This has always led to great moments where Cap is conflicted and has to adjust to a world with a more grey view of things. Also as someone who is fascinated by World War II and loves stories set during that time it is always great when we see glimpses of his past and fighting in the war.

6. Iron Man

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Tony Stark was a man who had it all. He was rich, powerful, woman loved him and he could do or say whatever he wanted and get away with it.  But then he had a wake up call and realised what a horrible legacy he was leaving on the world and how he needed to atone for what he had done in his past. The origin of Iron Man is a huge aspect of what makes him such an intriguing character.

It is the man trying to be better and make up for his past, but you can still see some of the worst aspects of himself such as the ignorance and the self-righteous. He can still be a jerk and do the wrong thing but now it can come out of him trying to do the right thing and it blows up in his face. But he never gives up and continues his journey of atonement for his sins which is what makes him one of the greatest superheroes.

5. Rorschach

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My favourite character in my favourite comic book I have already written an article about him which you can read here. To explain why he’s on my list though Rorschach is the one character in the story who will never compromise and always do what he thinks is right no matter what. Why it is true this arguably leads to consequences that could be terrible, it is fascinating to read a character so rigid and sure of who he is and as he is put into an impossible situation wonder what he will do. This is what makes him a standout among one of the greatest cast of characters in comic book history.

4. Wolverine

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He’s the best at what he does but what he does isn’t very nice. In the X-Men world Wolverine has played the role of the outsider. The rugged, darker character who is not always there and will do questionable things that the others will not. What made Wolverine so interesting was the combination of mystery since he could not remember his past and the rage that was always inside him and threatened to come out at any moment. Wolverine is a man torn between his better self and the animal instincts inside him and reading and watching that conflict is what has made him one of the most beloved characters in comic book history.

3. Spider-Man

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Peter Parker has always been the ultimate nerd and loser. He is always struggling with life, work, getting the girl, and trying to get anything to go right for him. But when he is Spider-Man he may not be the most graceful and best hero, but he is more free but always focused on the most important thing which is saving people. While he is not the top character on my list he is the character I relate to the most.

Like many we struggle with life and try to always do the responsible thing, even if it is to the detriment of our own self interests. What makes Peter so great is seeing a mainstream hero like us who is just trying to get through this thing called life while doing the right thing. Whenever I feel overwhelmed or wondering why things seem to be going wrong in life, Spider-Man is there to keep me grounded and remind me things are not as bad as they seem and everyone deals with it.

2. Batman

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What makes Batman my favourite superhero is the fact that he is a normal person with no powers who has trained himself to physical and mental conditioning that he can take on superpowered foes and has earned the fear and respect of his enemies and allies. There is also his “wonderful toys” including some amazing gadgets and the greatest car of all time, the Batmobile. He also has the greatest rogues gallery of any hero and has more iconic villains than any other, think of how every Batman movie has an in-depth discussion of who the villain is going to be. In the end there is his unending pursuit of justice and that no matter what the cost he will always be there to continue the mission, looking out for the innocent and punishing the criminals who prey on them.

1. The Joker

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The clown prince of crime and the greatest comic book villain of all time, Joker tops my list as my all time favourite comic book character. What makes Joker so fascinating to me and why I love him most is his inherent unpredictability. You never know what he is going to do and if he is being serious or not about his motives and threats. This is also depicted in the many different variation of him in the comic and other media and shows what a versatile character he is. In one such as the Adam West show he is a prankster and thief. In Tim Burton‘s Batman he is a mobster bent on revenge and ruling the city. 

In The Dark Knight he is a terrorist out to prove that the system just keeps people from being who they really are and chaos is what reigns. In Suicide Squad he is a modern day gangster who owns a club and wants to rule Gotham with his queen. What always stays constant though is his humour and obsession with his foe. Without Batman there is no Joker and vice versa and these two will always be ensnared in the endless struggle of order vs. chaos that will entertain us for years to come.

So there it is my list of my top ten favourite characters.  I hope you have enjoyed this and all my other lists.  Whether you agreed or not I hope you found it interesting and enjoyed seeing what stories and characters I am passionate about.

In the meantime what about you?  What are some of your favorite comic book character? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

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Kevin Harkins

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