If you’re one of those tiresome people who shoves their fingers in their ears and shrieks about SPOILERS! when the conversation turns to Luke Skywalker’s paternity or who won World War II, then skip this column, because it indirectly touches on a reveal in the biggest superhero movie of all time, The .
Like many of the geeks reading this blog I fairly came out of my seat when I saw Thanos in the Avengers end credits. Avengers purist that I am, I’d prefer the sequels circle around the Hank Pym/Yellowjacket/Ultron/Vision saga, but Thanos is a fine consolation prize. He’s one of my favorite Marvel bad guys (celebrated in a recent Panel Gallery) and the backbone of fondly-remembered Captain Marvel and Warlock runs that were among the first books I reviewed here at Longbox Graveyard.
We’re still years out from an Avengers sequel, but speculation is already flowing hot and heavy that if Thanos is involved, then the “Infinity Gauntlet” can’t be far behind. Marvel has shown off an Infinity Gauntlet prop at recent road shows, and sharp-eyed viewers spotted the Gauntlet in Odin’s treasure room during 2011′s Thor.
Put Thanos, the Avengers, and the Infinity Gauntlet together, and it’s small wonder the Infinity Gauntlet graphic novel is “flying off the shelves,” as I was informed when I bought a copy at the cosmically awesome House of Secrets comic shop in Burbank, California a couple weeks ago. It appears a least a few fans of Marvel’s new billion-dollar franchise are eager to get ahead of the curve and soak up all the Thanos and Infinity Gauntlet lore that they can.
I recommend the terrific “Thanos For Beginners” primer that Mars Will Send No More put together if you want to know everything about the next Avengers villain, but for now it’s enough to note that Thanos is a Death God from Titan, a superpowered alien obsessed with Death personified in female form, whom he courts as a lover. Unfortunately for Thanos (and everyone else), Death doesn’t much care for Thanos, driving the Titan to greater and still greater acts of murder as he tries to win her favor.
Back in those Captain Marvel and Warlock runs, Thanos threatened to destroy our solar system, leaning heavily on the Cosmic Cube (or “Tesseract,” as they call it in the movies). But for the Infinity Gauntlet limited series, Thanos took his game to the next level, using the Gauntlet to annihilate half the life in the universe with a snap of his fingers. (For starters).
How did Thanos come by such awesome power?
Following one of his many resurrections, Thanos collected the “Infinity Gems,” cosmic MacGuffins affording all sorts of nifty magic powers. Binding them together in a gauntlet, Thanos became a god with power over time, space, and dimension — kind of like Sauron, Darth Vader, and Dick Cheney all rolled into one.
With that kind of power in Thanos’ grasp, the only solution was to create a big, sprawling mini-series, authored by Jim Starlin, and illustrated (for awhile, at least), by George Perez, who has made a career out of drawing these every-superhero-in-the-universe team-up books. The six issue series uses the entire universe as the setting for the ultimate battle between good and evil.
It’s not just the Marvel heroes that get into the act — Starlin puts out a casting call for every cosmic god in the Marvel Universe, too. Odin and the Sky Fathers are stuck in Asgard, thanks to a shattered Rainbow Bridge, but more space gods than you can shake a stick at respond to the call, including Galactus, Eternity, a couple Celestials, and less well-known gods like the Living Tribunal.
It’s this very scope of the book that most undermines the drama. When half the Marvel Universe is wiped out in your first issue, it’s not a matter of “if” — but “when” and “how” — the carnage will be undone. It’s fun, in a disaster-movie sort of way, to watch California slide into the ocean and see Manhattan in ruins — but because we know it must all be set right somehow, it’s hard to take the story seriously.
Which means that what we really have here is an apocalyptic wrapper for a bigass superhero beat down, and in this Infinity Gauntlet delivers. The defense of creation is led by Adam Warlock, who rounds up the requisite Avengers and other Marvel heroes to keep Thanos distracted by beating on his head. Warlock maneuvers to checkmate his old foe by playing on Thanos’ weaknesses, such as the hubris that leads the Titan to create a pretty damn groovy outer space floating palace of death.
But even after awarding her the next cover feature of Tomb & Garden Magazine, Death still won’t give Thanos the time of day. Finally getting wise to Death’s ways, Thanos throws her under the bus for a woman of his own creation — Terraxia The Terrible — who looks like Oprah Winfry in Thanos drag.
Thanos and Oprah
Infinity Gauntlet might span all of time and space, but when the chips are down, it’s still about comic book characters throwing haymakers at each other. And that’s fine with me. It’s genre-appropriate — and even kind of comforting — to debate the nature of good and evil with a smack in the mouth.
It’s not all fist city. Even with such a vast cast of characters beating each other up, Starlin finds time for some nice spotlight scenes, such as a little Hulk/Wolverine bromance over being the toughest guys in the room.
So Infinity Gauntlet really is quite a traditional comic book event, with a universe-devouring threat, and a bunch of heroes solving things with their fists. Kind of like Secret Wars, without all the angst and cross-overs. It does get a little silly at times, but all is redeemed by a solid ending, which sees Thanos defeated in clever fashion (“spolier,” I guess), and the ol’ re-set button punched in a way that I didn’t see coming. I would have preferred that Jim Starlin both draw and write the book (or that George Perez had done the whole series, rather than yield to Ron Lim half way through), but for the most part I’m satisfied with Infinity Gauntlet, for it’s high stakes action and an overload of Thanos triumphant!
Of course there would be more “Infinity” series to follow, before the property extended into cash grabs and parodies, first as the Infinity Gems sought to bring my beloved Rune and the Ultraverse into the Marvel Universe, and then later as they became fodder for the Pet Avengers.
When I get an Infinity Gauntlet of my own, I’ll wish three decades worth of Marvel comic book continuity into the cornfield.
In the meantime, I’ll wish for Thanos to be handled as well in the next Avengers movie as Loki was handled in the first!
- Title: Infinity Gauntlet
- Published By: Marvel Comics, 1991
- Issues Reviewed By The Longbox Graveyard: #1-6, July-December 1991
- LBG Letter Grade For This Run: B
- Read The Reprint: Infinity Gauntlet
NEXT WEDNESDAY: #54 Top Ten Manliest Superheroes!
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- Who Is The Marvel Character At The End Of The Avenger’s Credits? (firewireblog.com)
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- Film: Spoiler Space: The Avengers (avclub.com)
- Listen: An In-depth Look The Future of the Marvel Movie Universe (slashfilm.com)
- ‘Avengers’ ending: What was that [spoiler]? And what does this mean for ‘Avengers 2′? (popwatch.ew.com)
In issue #11 of Longbox Graveyard I decided that Jim Starlin‘s Captain Marvel wasn’t so marvelous after all. This week, I take to the spaceways with Starlin’s Warlock, and things are better. Quite a bit.
There’s a quantum leap between Captain Marvel #32 and Strange Tales #178 — a quantum leap and five months, if my comic book database’s information on publication dates is to be believed. In that period of time, Jim Starlin apparently developed the pull to go from having left Captain Marvel over a dispute to getting to pick his next assignment (and start drawing it that very night) — and that next assignment proved to be Warlock.
You can see why Warlock appealed to Starlin. He was cosmic (check), under-developed (check check), was ripe for reinvention (check-and-re-check) and had messianic overtones and a budding death complex (ka-CHING!). Add Thanos, stir, and serve, and Starlin could pick up exactly where he left off with Captain Marvel.
Not quite “exactly,” actually … because in that five-month gap, Jim Starlin evolved considerably as an artist. The powers-that-be also appear to have realized that the best way to employ Jim Starlin was to just let the guy go off and do what he was going to do, without saddling him with a lot of name characters or continuity or cross-overs (at least until the Warlock saga was clumsily concluded in Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2, but nothing lasts forever).
Warlock starts with a bang — our golden-skinned spacegod is quickly pulled into conflict with the Universal Church of Life, which we just as quickly learn is headed up by Warlock’s own future self, the Magus. The Magus is even more glam rock in appearance than Warlock, being painted silver and sporting an afro that, yes, reminds us this was 1975, even in outer space. The Church gleefully exterminates non-believers, which might have made them a poor stand-in for Thanos, except that Thanos is cleverly cast as Warlock’s circumstantial ally, for some long-range, diabolical reason that I can’t remember right now (and which was probably made up later in any case).
the very-glam Magus!
So far we’ve got all the best parts of Starlin’s uneven Captain Marvel run — an outer space epic, Thanos, and a spacefaring superhero — but this story is made considerably better, due to the focus afforded by Starlin’s creative control, and by the smart introduction of supporting characters for sex appeal (Gamora, the “deadliest woman in the universe,”) and comic relief (Pip the Troll).
the deadliest woman in the universe (also the greenest)
Warlock, himself, is a bit of a stiff, but seems like a well of bottomless depth compared to grim old Captain Marvel, and when Warlock goes off into his self-important soliloquizing about life, the universe, and his Hamlet-like relationship to everything, we don’t mind so much, because there’s usually someone around to tell him to stop being such a knucklehead and like, you know, take a stand, or something.
Also working in Warlock’s favor is a frothy cocktail of Michael Moorcock character tags. He’s got a magical jewel in his skull (like Dorian Hawkmoon), and that gem sucks souls and has a powerful and evil will of it’s own (like Elric’s runeblade, Stormbringer), which gives the character a stage for internal conflict as he decides whether to let his gem loose and wipe out a bunch of mooks. And like Elric, when armed with such an awesome trump card, it seems the only bad guys worth fighting are either rogue gods or sheer weight of numbers, which Starlin ably renders with page after page of his weirdly wonderful, vaguely reptilian aliens, most of which seem to sport a single eye.
Starlin seems less interested in contorted panel layouts here than he was on Captain Marvel, but he makes up for it with those aforementioned mass alien battles, and with an overall improvement in his art that probably owes more than a bit to consistent inks from Steve Leialoha (Starlin had seven different inkers in eleven issues of Captain Marvel). Starlin does channel his inner Steve Ditko, particularly in Strange Tales #180, where our hero travels, Lewis Carroll-like, down through a trap door and into a surreal sham court of mouthless defense attorneys and monstrous magistrates who have decided Warlock’s guilt before the first arguments are heard.
Warlock goes through the looking-glass
But moreso than Lewis Carroll or Michael Moorcock, the fantasy author I was most reminded of while re-reading these books was Jack Vance, whose Cugel the Clever stories bear a striking and I am certain entirely accidental resemblance. Like Vance, Starlin’s strengths are in plotting and world building, where thinly-developed characters service set-piece situations pregnant with allegory. Warlock isn’t nearly the self-deceiving rogue that is Cugel (that role is reserved for Pip), but he does share some of that character’s babe-in-the woods naivety. He stumbles from one outrageous situation to the next because, well, the author wants it that way, and it’s convenient to explain the wise hero is so much less perceptive than the audience because of his self-absorbed nature.
Which makes it sound as if I dislike Warlock, which isn’t true at all, but as was the case when I revisited Vance a couple years ago, I found Starlin’s Warlock stories were still quite good, just not in the way I remembered. The second time around, I enjoyed Vance’s stories more for their language and sense of humor than their dialogue and narrative, and returning to Warlock I found I far better enjoyed the supporting characters, the bad guys, the big battles, and the sinister church than the tiresome Adam Warlock, who pegs wildly between apathy and rage (which, to be fair, gives him one more emotional setting that Starlin’s Captain Marvel).
Had this been a mini-series (not that we had such things in 1975), Warlock would have been a classic, but with the conclusion of the Magus storyline, the book lost its way. With Warlock having witnessed his own future death in issue #11, and the meter running on that event, it’s almost like the series was just marking time until it can conclude. Issue #12 was a tongue-in-cheek solo story staring Pip the Troll, which is fun enough, but the sense of relief coming off the page when Warlock is written out of the issue doesn’t bode well for the character’s long-term health. When Warlock returns to battle the Star Thief the book feels desultory, like a last place baseball team playing out the string. By the time Warlock fights his way across the universe to confront a villain (Star Thief) who is then defeated by a minor character of no consequence to our hero, the book feels ripe for cancellation. When your most thrilling moment is Warlock fighting a dumbass space shark (I wish I was kidding!), cancellation could not have come as a surprise.
It was a surprise to the creators, though, or at least to whoever wrote the letters page in fifteenth and final issue of the run, who seemed certain he’d be “back in sixty,” though with the final caption on the final page of the story reading, “Fin,” someone seemed to be in the loop about what would happen next. Books did come and go all the time in the 1970s, and Marvel bi-monthlies were always on life support, so with it’s weird outer space stories and lack of recognizable supervillains, it isn’t a surprise the book went down so much as it lasted as long as it did.
Marvel did have an eye toward finishing stories even if their books were cancelled, and Warlock was no exception, leading to a strange coda in a pair of 1977 Annuals — Avengers Annual #7, and Marvel Two-In One Annual #2. Even with two double-length stories to bring things to a conclusion, there’s plenty of shoe-horning here — Gamora is killed off between issues, and to no one’s regret the silly subplot where Warlock has expanded into a giant many thousands of time larger than the sun is forgotten. Plenty of pages have to be turned over to the headlining Avengers, which further cramps the Warlock story, but Starlin turns it into a kind of old home week, bringing in Captain Marvel and Moondragon as well as Warlock, and pitting them all against Thanos, who is yet again trying to blow up Earth’s sun. It’s a lot of fun, actually, to see Starlin take on the Avengers — Starlin draws a great Iron Man, and Starlin seems especially at home writing and drawing the furry blue version of the Beast, who so adequately covers Pip’s comic relief role that Starlin can lobotomize his little troll sidekick and keep the story going without missing a beat.
The result is a fun, old-fashioned superhero beatdown, with plenty of spaceships blowing up and the Avengers in mass combat with disposable aliens that I remembered after thirty years (Qu’lar the Massive!). It’s the same story, really, that Starlin told back at the end of his Captain Marvel run, but it holds together better this time around, and when Warlock dies at the end, only to find himself inside his soul gem surrounded by the blissed-out spirits of every soul he’s claimed, it’s actually kind of sweet, and a better conclusion to Warlock’s tale than you would have thought possible for the last page of an Avengers book. The second part of the tale, in Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2, reduces Warlock to a ghostly cameo, and while Starlin handles Spider-Man and (especially) Ben Grimm nicely in the story, it’s still Spider-Man in outer space.
And that was it! The worth-what-you-paid-for-it summary of Starlin’s publication history over at Wikipedia shows Starlin mostly doing various one-offs and fill-ins for Marvel after that, and some work for DC, too, most notably scripting work on Batman. I gather his most ambitious work was for Metamorphosis Odyssey, which started in Epic Illustrated and would evolve into Dreadstar, a series that yet lurks somewhere in the Longbox Graveyard. (And for a peak at some of this work, be sure to visit the always-cosmic Mars Will Send No More).
But Starlin’s cosmic superhero work in the Bronze Age was pretty much over with the end of Warlock, which was a shame, because Starlin’s “Cosmics” were a real breath of fresh air in the 1970s, offering rare reinventions of conventional characters and some mind-expanding plots.
They were among my favorite books as a teen, and they held up pretty well, easily earning a spot in the Collection.
- Title: Warlock
- Published By: Marvel Comics, 1972-1976
- Issues Rescued From The Longbox Graveyard: Strange Tales #178-181 (February-August 1975); Warlock #9-15 (October 1975-November 1976); Avengers Annual #7 (November 1977); Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2 (May 1977)
- Your Outer Space Oddity Sound Track: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars — David Bowie
- LBG Letter Grade For This Run: B-
NEXT WEDNESDAY: #22 Glorious Bastards
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A month ago I posted my Top Ten DC Comics Characters list, and today I weigh in with my favorite Marvel characters. That DC post ended up being one of the most popular entries here at Longbox Graveyard, with a nice little nerd skirmish breaking out in the comments section — hopefully this entry will provoke even more Geek Rage!
Thanks to Brian Cronin’s “Comics Should Be Good” column at Comic Book Resources for the survey that inspired these entries (and those CBR results are in now if you want to check them out).
Marvel Comics Top Ten
I had a hard time coming up with ten characters for my DC list, but as a “Marvel guy” I had the opposite problem this week. I could easily list two or three times as many characters than those mentioned here, but rather than resort to trickery like the scoundrel who runs the otherwise-excellent Mars Will Send No More blog, I’ve knuckled down and made the hard choices, holding myself to just ten Marvel characters! Agony! Pain!
#10 Black Panther
When I filled out my list for CBR’s survey, I was fresh back from San Diego Comic-Con with a stack of Jungle Action back issues and all hot for the Black Panther. I could have picked any number of characters for this #10 slot, but with that pile of books on my nightstand, Panther got the nod.
Since then, I’ve read those books, and found them a little … overwrought.
above scan snagged from the aptly-named (and recommended) Diversions of a Groovy Kind blog
The “Panthers Rage” saga from Jungle Action #6-18 is regarded as a minor classic, and even holds some claim to being the field’s first graphic novel. The run is certainly a cut above for 1970s-era Marvel, with inventive layouts and a storyline set entirely in Africa that was largely bereft of the usual superhero action. My problem with the series was that I thought Don McGregor’s script just didn’t flow. I found the books over-written, and presented in a kind of fractured syntax that I couldn’t quite grok.
“and the words lose their meaning,” indeed
Even if I found the series a disappointment, it only slightly dented my enthusiasm for the character, who is intriguing on a lot of levels. He’s the king of a hidden African kingdom, heir to the mystical powers of a panther cult, and his country is a weird mix of tribal tradition and sci-fi high technology thanks to the wealth afforded by Wakanda’s stock of the precious metal, Vibranium. Panther’s powers aren’t much (he’s just a guy who jumps around in a cat suit), but I respond to the character’s nobility, and in the 1970s it was a rare thing when a black Marvel hero wasn’t shouting “Christmas!” to remind us how “street” he was (sorry, Luke Cage). After struggling through those Jungle Action books I am a bit less attached but no less intrigued by the character, so maybe I’ll fast forward a bit and try the Christopher Priest run from the 1990s (which I sampled and remember as being too clever by half).
Like Black Panther, Warlock was born from Jack Kirby‘s pencil, and like the Panther, Warlock definitely had his best days on another author’s watch. Jim Starlin is one of my favorite comics creators (for all that I graded down his Captain Marvel), and of his Marvel work, I think his run on Warlock is his best.
Warlock himself is kind of a pain in the ass … he swans about the space lanes, swinging wildly between ennui and rage, stumbling into allegorical adventures against a weird gallery of villains (including his own future self). He’s a limited, doom-driven character in the mold of Michael Moorcock’s Elric. There are probably fewer than a dozen of his books that are genuinely worth reading. But as a tormented teen I identified with him … and he’s just so damn glam with that blonde perm and the SKULL clasping his cape to signal how he’s — you know — all grim and deep and stuff.
I could totally see myself walking around a Los Angeles airport hotel for a 1977 science fiction convention wearing that outfit.
One of the reasons I prefer Marvel to DC is because of Marvel’s many anti-heroes, with the Hulk being the best-known of the bunch. Hulk was the first comic character I ever knew about (probably thanks to those crappy 1960s cartoons), and purchase of a Hulk Aurora model kit got me started buying comic books stuff (followed shortly by actual comic books) in the first place.
aside from being unpainted, with gaps where the parts didn’t fit, and covered with glue thumb-prints, the Hulk kit I made in 1974 looked EXACTLY like this pro build!
I love the idea of the Hulk — the Jekyll/Hyde rage thing, the Hulkbusters out in the desert, the radiation-saturated villains, purple pants, “Hulk Smash!”, the works. Unfortunately, as I found when sorting through my Accumulation, I don’t own a lot of worthwhile Hulk comics. I came to comics too late for the Roy Thomas run, and was out of comics entirely during the Peter David era. I still have a pile of really bad Hulk books, though, which means I kept buying the comic, month after month, even though I knew it would be terrible.
What a damn idiot.
Sure, Daredevil is really just Spider-Man with his eyes closed, but Spidey never grabbed me, while I found myself collecting Daredevil books even before Frank Miller came along and made his magic. With his dark, street-level villains, and his subtle powers based on elevated senses of everything except sight, Daredevil seemed a more down-to-earth hero than Spider-Man (who blasphemously does not make my Top Ten).
I want to attribute some of my affection to Gene Colan’s flowing pencils …
… but the truth is I came to the book during Bob Brown’s less-than-memorable 1970s run. Memory is a funny thing, I could have sworn I had a bunch of Gene Colan Daredevils … guess I will have to knock over a bank so I can own those Silver Age classics. (And in the meantime I still have Colan’s run on Tomb of Dracula — one of my favorite Marvel books, though Drac himself doesn’t rate for today’s list).
#6 Red Skull
I won’t even try to suggest that the Red Skull is the best villain in a comic line that is home to Doctor Doom, Magneto, and Galactus … but he is my favorite, in all his two-dimensional glory. The Red Skull benefits by drafting behind Captain America, who (SPOILER!) heads this list, but the Skull is here mostly for punching above his weight.
The Red Skull doesn’t have a battlesuit, or magnetic powers, or a colossal physique letting him eat whole planets. Nope, he’s just a rage-filled bell-boy armed with a Luger, fear gas, and the impossible-to-satisfy expectations of Adolph Hitler.
With those scant powers, the Skull has gone on to battle Captain America to a standstill for three quarters of a century. And while most every other Marvel villain has had an issue or two where they seemed vaguely sympathetic, the Skull remains an unreconstructed Nazi bastard. I love to hate the Skull! That’s why I have a Funko Red Skull Bobblehead on my desk at work (one of only two bits of superhero swag I keep in my workplace).
To understand my affection for Thor, look no further than my recent columns (parts one and two) on Walt Simonson’s take on the character … but I loved the character from the moment I discovered his book in 1974, a decade prior to Simonson’s brilliant run.
That first Thor book blew my twelve-year-old mind. It had ancient mythological gods, in a space ship, fighting an insane living planet, told as a superhero story. Crazy, man. It scratched my interest for fantasy in a safe superhero setting (it would be a few years before I’d get into Conan), and it immediately broadened my mind to what a comic book could be. The Marvel Universe wasn’t just Spider-Man swinging around Manhattan — it was an actual universe, a wide-ranging cosmos of gods and men! That idea thrilled me.
An outright dick.
Seriously, Subby is a dick, and I love him for it. Perpetually pissed-off, trying to steal Reed Richards’ wife, leading sea monster invasions of New York City … and that’s when he’s a good guy. When Sub-Mariner is batting for the other team — as in the so-bad-it’s-good Super-Villain Team-Up — Subby emerges as Marvel’s greatest anti-hero, putting even the Hulk in the shade. I mean, Hulk is a moron, and not really responsible for his actions. But the Sub-Mariner? Guilty!
Sub-Mariner is ancient even by comic book standards, dating to World War II-era comic strips by creator Bill Everett. Originally re-introduced to the Marvel Universe as a quasi-villain in the pages of Fantastic Four, Subby has been like a professional wrestler, by turns a good guy and a bad guy as the story and audience demanded.
Subby was extra-cranky during his fashion disaster Pimp Suit era
During the war, Subby put aside his differences with surface-dwellers to battle Hitler, but he was still a prickly ally. When Ed Brubaker took over Captain America, he caught the soul of Sub-Mariner in this 21st century Christmas Eve exchange between Subby and the Winter Soldier (himself a resurrected wartime Bucky Barnes):
I love the concept of this character — the superpowered fishman, king of Atlantis, acting out his rage against everything that lives on the other 30% of the Earth’s surface. But here’s a crazy thing — for all that I rank this character #4 on my list, I don’t think I own more than a single Sub-Mariner comic book. I love him as a guest star, or a bad guy, or a crappy team-mate in the Defenders or the Invaders, but I never got into his solo books.
If the group wisdom of my readership would like to suggest a half-dozen best Subby stories, I’d sure like to read them. Give a shout in comments.
#3 The Thing
I have enormous affection for this character, the rocky elemental from the Fantastic Four that is the archetypal tough guy with the soul of a pussy cat. Defined by powers he regards as a curse, the Thing wears his heart on his sleeve and is the warmest, most approachable, and most heartbreaking of Marvel’s epic-scaled characters.
He reminds me of my Dad, and my old pal Bear Peters from Arizona, of my video game colleague Jeff Brown, my buddy Sarge at Appy, and of all the craggy, larger-than-life characters I’ve known through the years. In his long, slow coming to terms with his monstrous appearance, the Thing makes a powerful statement for diversity and identity. One of the best-developed characters in the Marvel line, it feels strange to call him “The Thing” — he’s a character that has evolved beyond his powers and his form. It’s much more natural to call him Ben Grimm.
Of all the characters on this list, he’s the guy with whom you’d most like to share a beer.
Maybe this is a cheat, because Conan isn’t even published by Marvel any more, but the classic 1970s run for this character was a Marvel production through-and-through.
in the 1970s, Conan was one of Marvel’s biggest books, garnering a cover feature of Marvel’s in-house fanzine, Foom
I’ve already enthused about the Barry Windsor-Smith era on this book, and the truth is I could write about Conan every week, but my sad devotion to Robert E. Howard’s barbarian already led me to waste fifty bones on that dreadful 3D movie earlier this year, so I shouldn’t push my luck by further trying the patience of a readership that’s already soldiered through two Conan blogs in the first ten issues of Longbox Graveyard. Suffice to say that Conan has virtue enough strictly as a comic character to rate highly on this list, even if he is a rapidly-diminishing part of Marvel’s history. Like Thor, Conan was a genre-stretching book that changed what comics could be.
(And in December, I’ll write about him again!)
Even if I didn’t telegraph my number one choice when talking about Red Skull, it should come as no surprise to Longbox Graveyard readers that Captain America tops my list, given that I’ve already devoted columns to writing about the character, both old and new. Another character that I’ve stuck with since childhood, Cap’s always been my favorite, owing to his iconic nature, spectacular costume, and his connection with another great fascination of my life — World War II.
As living legend, leader of the Avengers, and the most badass guy in any room full of costumes, Captain America is the hero that other heroes find heroic — the superhero’s superhero, and unchallenged champion of my Top Ten list of Marvel Comics characters!
All right, for better or worse, that’s my list … the comments section is open for you to tell me how I got it wrong!
NEXT WEEK: #17 Supergods
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