Monday, September 12, 2011

C3C1 5 - Superheroes

Welcome to as personal of a look at me as you’re going to get here.

“C3C1 5” is a series of lists detailing my personal favorite...whatever topic I happen to choose. I am trying to make these a weekly ongoing feature. Of course, my reputation for regularity isn’t the greatest in the world; heck, I’ve already skipped a week due to having to get a lot of other work done while adjusting to a new schedule, but now we commence with round 02.

The reasons and rules for this are available in the first installment. Suffice to say, they can be summed up very simply with this statement:

The views and opinions expressed herein are those solely of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of the rest of the human race.

Welcome to round 02 (Fight!) of C3C1 5. This week’s list of five is:

Five Fave Superheroes

It’s that simple, folks - the big guns. The guys we all know and love from the funny book pages. I was actually going to save this because I wasn’t sure I wanted two comic-centric lists back-to-back, but there is a particular reason this is going up now. You’ll get a hint later and find out exactly why tomorrow.

Enough of the jibba-jabba. Let’s do this:

05: Green Lantern

Admittedly, I’m a little late to the game here. And Geoff Johns has a lot to do with GL’s placement this high on the list with the way he’s completely redefined the mythology. All that out there, Green Lantern - and make no mistake, this is certainly Hal Jordan we’re discussing here - has always fascinated me because of the idea of redemption. From losing his dad early on and living up to the ideal he thought his father would have had, to losing his schtuff when Coast City was destroyed, setting him on a path of evil and a return to righteousness, Jordan’s story has always been one I’ve enjoyed following and, at times, certainly relating to. And let’s face it, that ring can do some amazing stuff.

04: The Hulk

(A momentary aside: you can tell I’m pretty much a DC guy when there’s one Marvel character that cracks the C3C1 5. Not that I hate Marvel at all; I grew up with the X-Men. I dig the Avengers trinity as much as the next fan. But, when it comes to individual characters, you can tell which publisher has always had my attention more than the other.)

Anyone who’s seen my temper up close and personal knows exactly why The Hulk is on this list. I can rage with the best of them, and most times it’s for the same reason - I’ve always let myself be walked on when it comes to relationships with other people. When I see just how bad I’ve gotten the shaft for how long...yeah. I don’t grow to 5x my size or turn green (or gray or red), but this is pretty much the result. Nowadays I’m a lot better at not letting my temper get that far. However, if I went through what the Hulk did in Planet Hulk, I totally would have done what he did in World War Hulk (one of my fave Hulk stories). And I wouldn’t think twice about it.

03: The Flash

The Flash is what got me started on comics in the first place. It was The Trial of Barry Allen, and the end of his first series. Watching a man go through losing his first wife and then almost having his new fiancee murdered by the same person was captivating. That did it.

There’s a lot more to be said for The Flash and Barry Allen (the version represented here, although Wally West is a very close second). And it will be said tomorrow. Some news came about The Flash in the New DC that has to be discussed in detail. Yes, The Flash is the reason this list was posted now instead of later. Stay tuned.

02: Batman

Bat man is a straight-up icon of a man honing himself to be the pinnacle of human achievement using only his mind and his will. It’s the reason he tops probably a couple million “favorite superhero” lists - he has no superpowers; he’s just a man that built himself to be the best, an ideal most o0f us strive for.

What made me love Batman was Batman #400. It was here that Batman’s nightmare came to life, putting him against odds he couldn’t possibly overcome. And yet, he did. It’s a story that sums up his will and ability to overcome anything, all done in a beautiful, self-contained story.

01: Superman

If you don’t think the comic book fanbase has its share of hipsters, think again. It’s all the rage to hate Superman nowadays. “He’s too powerful”...”he’s such a boy scout”...”man his recent stories have really sucked.”

Okay, I can’t argue with that last one. But everything else is excuses in the form of gross oversimplifications. Superman was the first superhero. He captured imaginations in 1938 for the same reason he does now - who doesn’t want the ability to do damn-near anything? Many fans that bag on him now cover that jealousy with another excuse: “He can do anything he wants, yet he chooses to be a good guy?”

Yes, he does. And for all that ability and power, Superman is still mortal. He’s just as human as any of us. The best stories illustrate this perfectly, and even comic creators tend to screw that up. Hell, J Michael Straczynski inexplicably wrote one of the best and worst superman stories ever!

He’s a tough character to nail because not any people can fully grasp how someone so all-powerful can also be so vulnerable. But when he’s done right, Superman shows us that he is our actual self, while Batman is our ideal self. Batman has made himself perfect, while Superman was made perfect, but continues to show us how human we all are.

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