Initially annoyed that Spider-Man got more acclaim than his astronaut son, whom he wanted to boost as 'a real hero', Jameson's hatred of Peter Parker's alter ego has grown into an overpowering obsession which has threatened his health and business. Ironically, he is also Parker's most frequent employer, buying the freelance photographer's blurry, out of focus shots of Spider-Man in action for the front page — and paying as little as possible for them.
On Screen : J.
When he first appeared on the scene in , Deadpool was a minor character, hailed as the mutant answer to Spider-Man. Or, rather, the mutant rip-off of Spider-Man, right down to the red costume with coloured rings around the eyes, the extraordinary agility and a propensity for delivering one-liners in the middle of a fight.
The constant regeneration of his brain cells has turned the former Weapon X subject certifiably insane — so much so that he realises he's in a comic book, and frequently refers to the fact. Although he began life as a villain, the Merc With A Mouth was given his own title in and is now officially a hero.
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Well, an anti-hero. And one of the most entertaining ones around. Trademarks : Mutant with a healing factor which constantly regenerates his cancer-ridden body , enhanced strength and agility, a variety of swords and daggers and the ability to wisecrack like no-one else. And, boy, did it connect with fans, electrifying first Comic-Con and then the box office to sequel-guaranteeing effect. His healing factor kicking in once the errant noggin was reattached.
Born on January 1, , Sparks died exactly a hundred years later — though she stopped ageing in her early twenties because she was mostly made of electricity, the motive force of the 20th century. Though she was introduced as a new recruit to fairly conventional superhero team Stormwatch, she became a key player in the more ambitious, ambiguous and generally cooler line-up mostly known as The Authority.
Various flashbacks have filled in her previous history as a World War II spy, a s space-woman and a s British superheroine, involved in a longstanding conflict with an alternate reality Sliding Albion where England rules the world thanks to collaboration with aristocratic aliens. Trademarks : Union jack t-shirt, bad temper, alcoholism, tough-but-posh British accent and control over electricity. A perky, atomic-powered robot created by Dr Tenma translated as Professor Boyton or Professor Balfus to replace his deceased son, Tetsuwan Atomo Astro Boy proved unsatisfactory and was sold to a circus — but emerged as a long-running hero working for the Ministry of Science.
Besides having superheroic powers, the naive young robot grappled with human emotions and personal interaction. He also got into at least one destructive fight with another robot or super-powered baddie each issue. Trademarks : Spiky shiny 'hair', red boots and his theme song: "There you go, Astro Boy! On your flight into space! On Screen : There was a live-action TV series in Japan in , and several episodes were cut together into a feature film, but Tetsuwan Atomo became internationally known well, famous in America thanks to the animated TV show which began in Garth Ennis ' masterpiece, Preacher , is so good that two characters from it make our list the other is — well, you'll see Choosing from the likes of Cassidy, Arseface, Herr Starr and Jesse Custer was tough, but if we hadn't plumped for the Saint Of Killers, he might have found us and killed us.
A grim, taciturn, implacable killing machine charged by God himself to be his gun for hire, the Saint is an engine of pure hatred, driven by his thirst for vengeance his family were killed, which precipitated his fall from grace. He's like the Terminator with a mullet. Indestructible and inexorable — like death himself — he's so badass that he manages to kill both the Devil and — spoiler warning!
Which makes him just about the most powerful character in the history of comic books, as far as we're concerned. Trademarks : The Angel of Death reinvented as a cowboy: stone-cold snarl, battered hat and a green trenchcoat concealing Colts that can slay a small army in seconds. On Screen : Ennis always saw the character as a combo of Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood although his artist, Steve Dillon, and Preacher cover artist Glenn Fabry made him look ten times more physically imposing.
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Buy P reacher Book One now on Amazon. In the s, DC revived discontinued titles from a decade earlier — reinventing The Flash, Hawkman and the Atom as 'all-new' characters, often using now-modish science fiction ideas rather than magic to explain their powers. The 'old' Green Lantern Allan Scott had a magic ring, but fearless test pilot Hal Jordon was given his 'power ring' by a dying alien who recruited him to take his place in a corps of space cops run by the Guardians of the Universe.
As long as he kept the ring charged while reciting his oath, GL could project all manner of giant green objects boxing gloves, etc and travel through space. Connoisseurs reckon he was at his best partnered with left-wing liberal superhero Green Arrow in a socially-conscious s run by Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams collected as 'Hard Travelling Heroes'. Trademarks : Power ring, domino mask, figure-hugging suit and his catch-oath: "In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight, let those who worship evil's might, beware my power, Green Lantern's light!
And that was it.
There was definitely no Green Lantern movie starring, say, Ryan Reynolds in, say, Never happened. Nothing to see here. Bryan Lee O'Malley's creation is one of the most authentic twentysomethings ever committed to comic booky paper. At once self-assured yet nervous about his social interactions and encounters with Ramona Flowers, the girl who appears in Scott's dreams before he meets her, Scott is an enormously likeable character: droll and funny, spicing his conversation with pop culture references and, like Deadpool, he seems to be aware that he's in a comic book from time to time , finding inner depths, emotions and resources he never knew he had, as his slacking ways are rudely challenged by the small matter of defeating those evil ex-boyfriends.
The six volume comic part four was released this year , in case you've never picked it up, reflects Scott: it's a mish-mash of styles and tones, mixing observational comedy with, say, videogame-inspired fight scenes, with the tone zigzagging about wildly and joyously. Go discover it. Trademarks : A year-old Toronto youth who's just like you — except for the Manga eyes, the gay room-mate, the band called Sex Bob-omb, and the girl of his dreams literally , whose seven evil ex-boyfriends he must battle before they can become an item. The World , an adaptation that's by turns manic and marvellous.
Take that, Dan Dare. You may be the one who gets to save mankind all the time, but it's your arch-enemy, the mega-meloned Mekon who makes our list! As created by Frank Hampson in the pages of venerable British comic The Eagle , The Mighty Mekon of Mekonta is an emotion-free genius, always coming up with nifty weapons a weaponised black hole is one of his latest whizzes with which he spectacularly fails to kill pilot-of-the-future Dan Dare and his chubby pal, Digby. Trademarks : A giant swollen green head to accommodate his mighty, over-sized genetically engineered Venusian brain; a levitating chair to hump his atrophied limbs around on.
Oh, and lots of evil plotting. On Screen : The Mekon has yet to be brought to the big screen, though there was talk of a Dan Dare movie, with Garth Ennis rumoured to be working on the script. If it ever happens we're sure it'll be CG, but we'd love to see someone in heavy-duty prosthetics, to be honest. And that man is David Thewlis. Buy Dan Dare Omnibus now on Amazon. Canadian artist Dave Sim, an outspoken proponent for the creative rights of comic book creators, a frequent marijuana and occasional LSD user and the man responsible for creating the longest-running, single-creative-team-driven series in comic-book history, is the person to thank for giving us one of pop culture's strangest and most complex characters: a misanthropic, anthropomorphic three-foot tall gray aardvark with a chequered history that has seen him playing the roles of pope, prime minister, mercenary and unwanted houseguest.
The saga of Cerebus is made even more compelling by the fact that he's a borderline alcoholic hermaphrodite with according to his creator a voice like George C. Scott and a general dislike for everything and everyone he comes into contact with. A character born of bizarre brilliance.
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Trademarks : Possessing of a bad temper, fine skills at hand-to-hand combat and a predilection for speaking in the third person. Oh, and he's an aardvark. On Screen : Despite numerous cross-fertilisation appearances in the likes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Flaming Carrot comics, Cerebus has never and is rather unlikely to ever make the leap to the big screen - just look what happened to Howard The Duck.
If it did ever happen, however, we're thinking Warwick Davis in the aardvark suit and Danny Huston providing the voice. Buy Cerebus Cerebus, Book 1 now on Amazon.
One of the superheroes created by Stan n' Jack during their burst of unparalleled creativity in the mids, Daredevil was one of the first down-and-dirty superheroes, choosing to base himself in New York's less than salubrious Hell's Kitchen. A mess of contradictions — he's a devout Catholic who dresses up as a devil, he's a lawyer by day, while getting up to some pretty intense, and illegal, vigilantism by night — Daredevil has never enjoyed the following of a Hulk or a Spidey, but he's a compelling, layered and visually striking character who's attracted some of the best talent in the business.
He also has incredible agility and balance. More recently, Charlie Cox took the part and run with it in a Netflix adaption that afforded plenty of screentime for both Daredevil and his lawyer alter ego. Pre-order Daredevil Omnibus Vol. Apart from being the coolest cat on several continents, Agent Graves also serves as the harbinger of moral dilemma. Appearing as the protagonist of Brian Azzarello's Bullets , Graves offers those who have been wronged the chance for revenge without consequences, if only they're prepared to take it.
A briefcase, a gun, 'untraceable' bullets and incontrovertible proof against the single person behind their woes, these are what Graves has to offer. Interestingly, neither Graves nor the writers pass judgment on whether taking up the offer is right or wrong. Graves' motives are never made clear but he used to be a member of a group called The Minutemen and harbours a great deal of resentment for the shadowy organisation known as The Trust, who betrayed him in the past.
Trademarks : An older man in a nondescript, government official-style suit, Graves is meticulous, calculating and rarely displays his emotions. On Screen : Someone unflappable, ice cold and possessed of extreme gravitas — we're thinking Chris Cooper or Alan Dale. Buy Bullets now on Amazon.
There are few characters more original or striking literally — Hellboy punches first, asks questions — well, almost never than Hellboy, the genius creation of Mike Mignola , who uses the character as the outlet for his obsession with pulp comics, Lovecraftian horror and tales of ancient folklore and the supernatural. Enhanced greatly by Mignola's artwork — pitch-black shadows and popping reds — Hellboy is a lumbering but lovable giant of few words although, "aw, crap" is usually high on the list who interacts with talking corpses and giant tentacled horrors while trying to deny the destiny he was created for.
For the movies, Guillermo del Toro gave Hellboy more inner turmoil and emotions, but the comics version is a blast as he investigates the paranormal in much the same way Gene Hunt investigates crime — fists first. Trademarks : Red skin, horn stubs, yellow eyes, prehensile tail, massive right hand made out of unbreakable stone and a penchant for cigars.
There's rarely been quite as immaculate a marriage of actor to character, with Perlman perfectly capturing Hellboy's contrary air of world-weary cynicism, and boundless, childlike optimism, while giving him a truly human edge. No wonder del Toro refused to make it with anyone else.
Buy Hellboy Omnibus Vol. This universe's 'sorcerer supreme' was originally an arrogant, money-grubbing surgeon who lost the use of his hands in a drunken car wreck and sought a miracle cure in the Tibetan lamasery of 'the Ancient One'. He then learned to master the mystic arts and moved into a mansion in Greenwich Village, New York, to take up the job of freelance psychic investigator and protector of the universe from menaces like 'the dread Dormammu' and even Count Dracula. Never a big-seller, Strange has consistently featured in outstanding comics, especially when drawn by Ditko and Gene Colan.
As the Marvel Universe's leading magician, he remains a mainstay of the company's crossover stories — and organiser of the occasional group of testy superheroes the Defenders with the Hulk, Silver Surfer and Sub-Mariner. Trademarks : Cloak of levitation, Eye of Agamotto amulet, magical abilities, orange conjuring gloves, white-tinged facial hair. Catch-phrase: 'by the hoary hosts of Hoggoth! Benedict Cumberbatch currently wears the cape for the MCU.
Also, one of Batman's earliest enemies, from the s, was Dr. Hugo Strange no relation. An alien symbiote with a thirst for violence and flesh, Venom started out as a living costume for Spider-Man, who thought the black-and-white threads were just that: threads. When Spidey rejected Venom's attempts for control, he latched onto the Daily Bugle's Eddie Brock, spawning a decades-long quest for vengeance. Arguably Spider-Man's biggest nemesis, Venom is the comic-book equivalent of a movie boogeyman like Freddy Krueger — he's meant to be terrifying and villainous, but readers thought he was so cool that eventually the symbiote became less obviously evil he always tries never to hurt bystanders , appearing in his own title.
In fact, he was so neutered that not only did he occasionally team up with Spider-Man, but Marvel created an even more evil symbiote, the mass murderer, Carnage, in order to mitigate Venom's crimes. Currently, the symbiote is not bonded with Brock, but that remains his most famous persona. Trademarks : Black, organic fabric with shapeshifting capacity and all of Spider-Man's abilities.
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