Friday, December 28, 2012

Who are the most recognizable characters in comics?

Who are the most recognizable characters in comics?

Well this is my opinion. Comics and their characters are bigger now than they have been in years. Due to more movies and cartoons and other media. Not to mention the “New 52” and “Marvel Now”. The big 2 are always trying to put their properties into the spotlight. I think there are 5 from DC and 5 from Marvel that have become so globally known, all I would have to do is show a picture and most would know who was in the picture.  Merging to our pop culture conscience. Who are these 5 from each company and why do I feel this? Do you agree? Check out my list after the jump.

5. Captain America / Thor:  (Soldier, Patriotic / Mythology, god) My first choice from Marvel was hardest. I feel these 2 are dead even, but have jumped in recent years. 5 years ago, I wouldn’t have put these 2 even on the list. I would have put Punisher or Daredevil or Storm from the Xmen.  But having a solo movie under each of their belts, a combined movie that was larger than almost any other before and solo sequels coming out this coming summer? Not to mention multiple Avenger titles, solo titles, Cartoons, and some of the best accessories in all comics. Mjolnir (Thor’s Hammer) and  Cap’s bad ass shield. Captain America is incredibly Iconic! And Thor pulls in so much mythology! Who wouldn’t recognize these guys in any line up???
4. Hulk: (Strength / Anger) 20 years ago, he may have been number one or two. His tv show was one of my first exposures to comics/heroes at all. Still pretty disconnected to any other Marvel reference, the “Incredible Hulk” dipped our toes into Super hero waters. Now with 2 solo movies and some of the best moments in the Avengers movie, make the Hulk a household name. Let’s not forget, a handful of cartoons and comics with other spin-offs. Heck, I had a Hulk birthday cake growing up. Hulk is super well known and the Strongest there is!!!
3. Ironman: (Wit / Technology) 10 years ago I had a debate about Ironman. I asked a friend who was also a nerd if the general populace would know Tony Stark? He said no, (And I believe he was right) despite a song by Black Sabbath, and a couple of cartoons. He was still pretty obscure to the general population.  When the Ironman movie was announced, I was pretty “blah” about the prospect. Rumors of Tom Cruise playing “Stark” didn’t help at all. Then out of the blue, “Robert Downey Jr.” was announced to play Tony. I knew he was perfect. The rest is history. Downey has put Ironman on the map. Period. Now the “Avengers” and comics and cartoons have contributed since. But Robert Downey has made Ironman a household name! With a 3rd Solo movie and of course the Avengers sequel on the horizon, Ironman is cemented in Pop Culture!!
2. Wolverine: (Coolness / Badass) Since his creation, ol’ Logan has been unique. His size, his attitude, he costume, his claws! A hero with an offensive weapon as lethal as his... just awesome. I became a fan in the mid 80’s, because of what little comics I knew at the time, where the X-men dominated the spinner racks. And Wolverine was on every cover. The early 90’s had Logan in the X-men cartoon on Fox and then Hugh Jackman’s portrayal in the X-movies. Then in recent years, Marvel figured out the Justice League idea and put all of its top heroes on one title. And who is more popular than Wolverine? Only a few. With another solo movie and scenes in the new X-movie, as well as multiple comic titles. Why do we love the runt? I think Tracie hit the nail on the head in a conversation we had. Logan is a killer, no doubt, like Punisher and Ghost Rider, and as a society we like a little violence and action. Someone who doesn’t take crap. But Wolverine is more. He’s a killer with a heart. He tries to do good. He tries to be better. There is a redemption faction about Logan we love. Wolverine isn’t going away any time soon.
1. Spider-Man: (the whole package, Relatable) Marvel’s Flagship character. His face is everywhere! He has a Macy’s Thanksgiving day Parade Balloon! Cereals, Cartoons, Movies, Comics, Underroos, Flash lights, and tennis shoes!!! Spider-man is the ultimate hero. he’s relatable, he’s the everyman. He’s honest and pure, but he makes mistakes. Its far from perfect and is sometimes the “luvable loser”. He’s colorful and funny, he’s brave and fun. He is the best comics have to offer. I’m not even a huge Spider-man fan, but let’s face it, He’s is quiet possible the best ambassador to pop-culture. He’s not as dark as Batman, despite have a similar tragic origin. He’s almost as Iconic as Superman or Captain America. He’s cool because of his abilities and costume, his intelligence. Spider-Man is what is fun and good in comics. Like all of these characters, he’s had good and bad eras. But as a whole, in every incarnation, Spider-man is who we wish to emulate. We want to be powerful and overcome adversity, but we want to be humble and do the right thing. And we want to have fun while doing it. Spider-man is the whole package.

5. Green Lantern: (Space Cop) This can be Hal Jordan or John Stewart. I feel like in recent years both have contributed a lot to the GL name. First of all Green Lantern has been around since the Golden Age. (In one incarnation or another) But the basic idea has been the same. A man with a power ring! What recently put GL in the public has been the perfect storm for him. A comic series that has been epic at DC. With multiple spin-offs and mini series all inspired by Geoff John’s take on the “Green Lantern” mythos. This led to a Movie that came out. (Despite flopping) Was still a huge hit with children and inspired a cartoon network series. But let’s not forget, John Stewart’s GL run with the Justice League Cartoon helped put the Lantern in the public eye as well. So much so, there was outrage when Ryan Renolds was announced as “Green Lantern”, because many said “GL is black”. To many, Stewart will always be their Lantern! Either way, the Emerald Warrior is a part of Pop Culture! In Brightest Day... GL is here to stay!
4. Flash (Fast) (Not Flash Gordon...grrrr) Everyone Knows the Flash!!! Right? Like the Green Lantern, he’s been around since the Golden Age. (In some incarnation) He has had a TV show and been in the Justice League and Super Friends Cartoons. On the “Big Bang Theory” He is Sheldon’s favorite Superhero and when you say “fast” and “superhero” you think of him!! Right? I don’t even recall where I first saw the Flash, I just know, he’s always been around. Even when his comics do poorly. Even when he’s not in movies or TV. Flash is just... around!
3. Wonder Woman: (Iconic Girl Power) To say Girl power is almost demeaning. But lets face it, she’s the only female on my list. Can you name a female character more recognizable than those listed. (Lois Lane comes to mind, but not enough in my opinion, to knock someone off the list) Wonder Woman is genuinely iconic! Whenever they touch her costume, there is an uproar. She has had one television show, and had 2 attempts to make more. Joss Weedon was in process of making a feature film with her... that didn’t work out. (Oh i’ll bet you are kicking yourselves now, dumb movie guys, when you saw Avenger numbers) Many times she is looked at as just a “female Superman”. But if you look closer, she is so much more. She is a champion of strength and femininity. She has a patriotic costume and super strong ties to mythology. She has been connected to many cartoons and is rumored to play a part in the up-coming Justice League movie. She has been a symbol to feminist movements and been at the center of a debate or two. Diana, is comics and pop culture and feminism and heroics all in one package. Wonder Woman isn’t going away any time soon!
2. Superman: (The first, the role model, the Hero’s Hero) Icon is an understatement. Superman is as well known as Spider-man. But has a few more years under his belt. Radio shows, Macy’s Balloons, Tattoos on Shaq and Jon Bon Jovi, (And me). Superman is everywhere too! 5 movies, like 5 different versions of TV shows, Many Cartoons, and comics comics comics. Superman is the ultimate in good. He is the best. He is unwavering and never ending. The hero others turn to when they need help. Colorful and Powerful, yet still humble. Superman is who you think of when you say Super Hero. Anywhere on this planet, you show a cape and they think Superman! With 2013 being his 75th year, and Superman getting a new movie this summer. I promise Superman will stay in the public conscience. Truly a never ending battle.
1. Batman (Dark/Tragic) The dark king of modern comic media. Batman over took Superman in the late 80’s with the Tim Burton movie and darker/ realistic interpretations in comics and has never looked back. Batman is almost as old, but so much “cooler” than Superman. Superman is the “good” cop, to Batman’s “bad” cop. They both do the same job, but one does it cooler. And without powers. All of these characters have had a variety of “interpretations, but none as many as Batman. From Super Campy 60’s TV show, Batman. To the Nolan, raspy voiced shadowy figure or vengeance and justice. And in my opinion each one is right. This is what makes Batman appealing. If you mess with Superman, people get really mad. He has to be a certain way, but Batman has been molded and shifted many times. Batman seems to have a new cartoon out every year and some of the greatest video games every created. The iconic bat-mobiles and other toys. His rogues gallery including the Joker and Bane. And his partners, including Robin and Batgirl. Batman is beyond recognizable! He is pop culture!


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