All-Time Top 10: Comic Book Heroes
Now that I’m a ‘serious’ writer I’m not supposed to talk about pop culture and the 80’s and celebrity gossip and the like. No, it’s all high-art for me. None of that cheddar and new- world wine. Give me French cheese and wine names that cannot be pronounced, where grape varieties have little importance and the region means everything. Yes this is the world I live in now. I eat canapés for breakfast and breakfast for lunch and sample every epicurean delight by night. I quote Wordsworth and Shakespeare and have read all the greats from Tolstoy to Steinbeck to Thoreaux and Yates. I only watch BBC World News and walk around in sandals. Gone are my t-shirts, Yankee caps and Jandals. There are manuscripts piled as high as the sun and Remington ribbons?… well there’s more than just one. There’s a cigar in the ashtray and I’m growing a beard…actually this digression is getting quite weird. So I think I’ll stop it there.
To be honest most mornings I have weetbix and I never get to read books unless I’m editing one of my own. In that sense I can be considered unworldly and poorly read but you should never let that stop you from knuckling down and writing something. When I do get to read, it is usually a chapter here or a chapter there or articles in my favourite magazine (that’s right, its the yellow one that tells you stuff about the world and stuff). But lately I’ve been thinking how cool it would be to have a comic book collection again. There’s nothing better than a bit of escapism and comic books fill that void in ‘bitesize’ pieces. It may seem the pastime of the lowest common denominator or eight year old boys but in some way I think I will always be eight. It is an age I will always remember. I don’t remember my teens because they were just a mess of hormones and rebellion nor my twenties for it was a chemically infused decade of predictable nine to fivers. But eight, now there’s an age to identify with. Lego was firmly established as the greatest toy ever known to humankind and transformers weren’t far behind and when I was done with them? Well it was time to read comics.
Here are some of my Heroes:
10. TMNT – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – It’s kind of an honourable mention really. But before this was a cartoon show and toy franchise it was a comic. I once owned the first issue of this comic and now I see it’s worth 4000 dollars!!! Whoever I gave it to…enjoy your round the world trip on me.
9. Phantom – The first fictional hero to wear a skintight costume. However that costume is purple, which is the colour of sexual frustration. The comic started in 1936 and is still going strong in the fictional African country of Bangalla. That’s a lot of frustration he’s built up.
8. Vigilante – A poor man’s Batman but another first issue I had. Vigilante was one of the first amoral characters in American comics. I thought he was cool but Vigilante didn’t get out of the 80’s.
7. Archie – Archie and his friends have been perpetual teenagers since World War Two. It felt a bit like Happy Days in a comic book.
6. Fantastic Four – Another from the Stan Lee stable. Of all the comics where there were a collective of heroes, these comics were the most fun.
5. Garfield ..for those who remember the books and strips. They were dead funny and perfectly capture his one way relationship with Jon.
4. X-Men – Let’s see now..Stan Lee at the peak of his powers. Top notch illustration and a huge variety of characters and back-stories. What’s not to like?
3. Tintin – Probably the character I most identify with…the travel bit anyway. I can’t really identify with owning a dog, having hair, solving mysteries or being Belgian though.
2. Asterix – Fightin’ around the world.
1. Batman – No super powers required. The single most awesome comic character ever devised and one of the only ones who is in any way plausible.