Wow, was this a hard one. After a few weeks off because of my crazy convention and travel home schedule, we’re back on track now. But picking my favourite three superheroes? Alright, that excluded a few people from the list. And, when it comes down to it, I’m way less passionate about men in comics then I am women. A lot of the typical male heroes I’m not a fan of – from Batman to Cyclops, there are many I could do without. I was able to pick three in the end, two that came easily, and the third… Well, I can’t believe I didn’t think of him earlier to be honest.
Thomas Blake shouldn’t be someone I admire. In fact, to call him a superHERO may be pushing the boundaries of the term a bit, but this is my list, and you’re stuck with it.
An old school villain, Blake got scared and ran away. He got fat and out of shape. He stopped being anything other than pitiful. But then something changed. Some might say it was Green Arrow threatening him, but I know it was Gail Simone flipping through a book of DC villains and asking which ones she was allowed to use. Of course, that’s another matter. Because once she took a hold of Thomas Blake she changed him entirely. He went and lived with the lions. He found himself. And dude, when he came back, he came back with a vengeance. He more than any of the six is desperate to be a hero. He’s desperate to be redeemed, and yet there is something deep within him that believes never will. Where his story goes later on in the six, and how dark it gets… That’s something else entirely. He is a conflicted man, and his conflict and torment gets played out brilliantly within the pages of Secret Six.
I’m not sure when I started liking Kurt Wagner so much. He was always in the X-books I read as a kid, but I never really noticed him until a short while before the original Excalibur run. I started paying attention to him because of how he interacted with Kitty, of all things. From there I had to go back and look at his story, and re-read a whole lot of comics.
In a world of tragic backstories, Kurt managed to have one that was unusual. For a long time he was a mystery, his background unknown. Even when it came out that he was Mystique’s son, it was still a fascinating story.
Kurt always had a strength I admired. He was a good friend, but he didn’t deal well with bullshit. Those are traits I admire in people I know, and that I’d like them in him as well. But there was a sorrow about him that was also intriguing, as well as a charisma and charm. When done well, it was an interesting balance that I loved.
I have to admit over the past few years I haven’t read a lot of X-Men, so I can’t comment on how Kurt continued to develop, or on his death.
I spent a lot of time trying to think of the third guy to include in this list. What I came up with was another character that fits into the not always a hero category.
One of the lead characters of the series Fables, Bigby is literally the Big Bad Wolf of legend. All of the legends, in fact. Little Pigs, Red Riding Hood, if there was a wolf in it and he was big and bad, it was Bigby (see what they did there, Big B? Clever, huh?). Now he’s the Sheriff of Fabletown, in New York city. Constantly smoking, always gruff, he’s a looming presence in the life of the Fables.
He’s also one of the only Fables to truly be interested and involved in the Mundy world. Functionally immortal and generally ageless, most of the Fables keep themselves apart. Bigby however, went to fight in the World Wars, among other things. It’s his view that they live in this world, they are a part of it. It’s a view that few of the Fables share.
There’s always the question with Bigby, as how he went from being the bad guy to the good one. How did he flip from the menace of fable-land and become the sheriff who is respected but not quite trusted all the time? Seeing him trying to woo Snow White in his own strange way is also awesome. He’s fleshed out a lot more completely than many of the other fables, and as he is a linchpin of many of the stories, it’s unsurprising.
Because this is me, I can’t leave it at just three. I know, surprise! There were a few people I considered, but none of them quite won out over these three. Nightwing and Red Arrow/Arsenal from various DC titles. Boy Blue from Fables. Chase Stein from Runaways. They’re all characters that almost made the cut, but didn’t have what it took to make it over the line in the end.