Friday, January 16, 2015


Why this doesn't exist already is beyond me.
When my buddy Dan Greenwald recently asked if I would join him again as a guest on his podcast THE COMIC-BOOK PITT, I was happy to oblige. He graciously accepted my suggestion of a theme for the episode, which was discussing "Best of..." comic-book character lists. The topic has been on my mind since I came across two such compilations in the last couple of months which had some intriguing similarities worthy of exploring.

 The first was The 100 Greatest Comic-Book Characters of All Time, with selections ranging across the decades. There were a lot of super-heroes and American characters represented on the list, but it was far from exclusive. Entries like Archie Andrews, Lone Wolf and Cub, Asterix, Michonne (from THE WALKING DEAD) and Marv (from SIN CITY) made for an incredibly eclectic group snapshot of the media's stars. I didn't agree with a number of their entries or rankings - heck, I didn't even know who some of these characters were - and feel that several of their selections are far too recent to merit inclusion in a "greatest of all time" list. (Because, you know, it takes some time to see if you really are an all-time great.) That said, it was a fun read, a lot of their choices were perfect, and their top three picks were exactly what they needed to be.

The second list was The 50 Greatest Super-Heroes in Comic-Book History, and while I didn't agree with all of their inclusions or rankings either (for instance, I'm surprised that The Punisher wasn't included, but Deadpool was), the editors acknowledged that this is the kind of list of which there can be no definitive version. Most of their conclusions were solid though, and they even used a unique point-system to try and level the playing field. The top three choices here were the same as on the previous list, which I again considered to be the only proper choices. But this got me to thinking...

In list after list after list, we always come down to these same three characters, in different orders, but that part is debatable and almost unimportant. They are the Big Three, and their faces should be on the Mount Rushmore of Super-Heroes (along with two others who should always round out the Top Five, in my opinion.) -- so what about them is so special? Why them? Why are they so consistently considered by fans, creators and critics to be the best of the best?

Dan and I explored the various criteria which we feel should be used when evaluating comic-book characters, and gave our thoughts on some of the selections from both lists. Listen to our discussion and let us know what you think. And then go listen to Dan's tremendous archive of CBP podcasts. It's good stuff!

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