My absolute FAVORITE character

Recently we were asked as a team to choose our favorite comic book characters. For me, that is easy as it is clearly…

Spider-Man

The first comics I bought were all Spider-Man. I loved the hero so much I refused to get any comic with a different character on the cover. Being a young nerdy kid, Peter Parker spoke to me directly. He was a symbol of hope and it was easy for me to get lost in the escapism of his stories. Sure, I was reading the book before and during the HORRIBLE Clone Saga, but back issue bins were easy to dive into. Spider-Man had a great back catalogue of bronze and silver age comics that were just fun to read. It also helped that The Spider-Man cartoon hit at the perfect time, making my childhood surrounded by the character in every way shape and form. But then… the bubble burst. I thought I just stopped caring about comics but it turns out everyone did in the late 90s. My core group of friends had moved on from comic books and so did I. Spider-Man was the most important character to me, at the detriment of me finding out about anything else. So cutting that part of my life loose was as easy as removing the one thread connecting me to comic book culture. Then something happened.

Batman

When I was in university Batman Begins hit. Suddenly, comic book movies were cool again. I was completely lost in Christopher Nolan’s vision of the Dark Knight. And unlike the previous comic book films, this one actually got me to visit my local comic book store and pick up a Batman comic. I just looked up “Best Batman Stories” so I grabbed The Dark Knight Returns, Strikes Again, The Long Halloween, and others that you could probably guess. After devouring these trades I came to the realization that I missed so much by just following Spider-Man in my youth. I immediately added every Batman title to my pull list. He was my new favorite character. But Infinite Crisis was looming and I thought maybe it’d be a good idea to catch up on what that was about.

Geoff Johns leads to me caring about MORE than WHO was on the cover

Ok, I know Geoff Johns is not a comic book character, but damn he understands how to make them fun to read. In the lead up to Infinite Crisis I decided to read everything he was working on that could possibly have hidden threads. I scored every comic like a detective looking for clues. Through this I discovered Greg Rucka, and Gail Simone and their amazing lead ins to the event. It was Geoff Johns that taught me I should care about the creative teams on the title and not the characters posing. So I went back to the list of “Best Comics to Read” and just bought every trade I could afford. I didn’t care who was on the cover or the content inside. Someone thought these were worth reading so they had to be worth it. There was one book that so perfectly spoke to why comics are cool and the importance of them…

Animal Man can see me

The Grant Morrison run of Animal Man is my favorite series of comic books ever. Animal Man was everything I wanted in a comic; an exploration of political issues, and a post-modern deconstruction of the genre as a whole. Reading it makes you think about what actually makes up a comic book. Animal Man actually learns he is inside a comic book and travels to limbo finding lost and forgotten heroes and villains. He comes across Psycho Pirate in the most fourth wall breaking event that directly references “Crisis on Infinite Earths” as a comic book. The book even ends with Grant Morrison himself performing the only Deus Ex Machina that has ever been written in a satisfying way. So I guess technically my favorite comic character is…

Grant Morrison

It counts! He was there on a page in pencils, colors, and ink. His speech was lettered. After going through the stacks of trades I bought I realized my favorite books were all by the same people, and the most frequent being Morrison. Luckily it was at this time he was about to jump on Batman and later help out with other writers on my stack (Johns, Waid, and Rucka) on 52. I saw that with a Morrison comic I could love an obscure character like Animal Man, and still find Batman kick ass. When he wrote a character THAT was my favorite character. I was never able to get into or care about the X-Men but Morrison’s New X-Men made me appreciate those characters. You see, no one really has a favorite character. Sure I love Spider-Man and Batman and I am more likely to pick up a comic about them on a whim, but the contents inside might not be my favorite. That is 100% OK. Someone is probably enjoying that creative team’s vision and I am happy they have that. The truth is you need to find the voices that matter to you and connect with you. Characters are toys in a toys box that are owned by mega-corporations. The creative teams take out these toys and we get to see how they play with them. All stories are canonized fan fiction and we are along for the ride. If you get too attached to a certain toy you might be that kid on the playground complaining your friend is “playing it wrong.” Just find the person who plays in a way that is fun for you.

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