We’re continuing our countdown of the Top Comic Book Characters.
To see how these rankings were generated, click here
To see who was ranked #100 to #91, click here
To see who was ranked #90 to #81, click here
#80 – Green Lantern – John Stewart
Introduced in 1971 as the “backup” Green Lantern for Earth’s sector 2814 to Hal Jordan, the character largely languished in obscurity until the mid-1980s, when he was prominently featured in Crisis on Infinite Earths and Hal Jordan briefly retired from his position. He had a romantic relationship with fellow Green Lantern Katma Tui, but she was later murdered, and he was stripped of his ring by the evil ex-Lantern Sinestro. Following the collapse of the Green Lanterns, Stewart joined the Darkstars and kept peace in the galaxy; but when the Green Lantern Corps reformed (and when Hal Jordan went insane/died), Stewart once again became the primary Green Lantern for this sector of space and was a prominent member of the Justice League in the early 2000s. Even after Hal Jordan came back to life and herodom as Green Lantern, Stewart continued to wear the ring and serve as a member of the Green Lantern Corps. He has not yet appeared on either TV or in movies, but there are Internet rumors that the John Diggle character in the Arrow TV series will become the John Stewart version of Green Lantern.
Like fellow Green Lantern Guy Gardner (#83), Stewart’s most frequent collaborations are with members of the Green Lantern Corps or with members of the Justice League:
John Stewart appears as an important character (50+ issues) in only one comic – the third Green Lanterns series, where he appeared in 71 issues between 1990 and 2004.
#79 – Venom
Introduced in 1984 as, literally, Spider-Man’s new costume; the character was eventually revealed to be an alien symbiote that attaches itself to a host and merges with it. After Spider-Man went back to his original costume, Venom merged with disgraced Daily Bugle reporter Eddie Brock and the two united to become one of Spider-Man’s greatest foes. Venom would pass into a few different hands over the years (including Peter Parker/Spider-Man’s high school bully Flash Thompson) and, depending upon its host, would shift between villain, hero, and anti-hero. After spending a few years in outer space as a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Venom has returned to Earth and is once again paired with Eddie Brock. He was recently portrayed by Tom Hardy as the Eddie Brock version of the character in the 2018 movie, Venom.
The symbiote’s most frequent appearances were with Spider-Man, his hosts (Eddie Brock and Flash Thompson) as well as Spider-Man villains, and the more prominent members of the Marvel Universe:
Venom is featured as a recurring character in Amazing Spider-Man Volume 1, where he appeared in 59 issues between 1984 and 2018.
#78 – Superboy – Kon-El
Following the “death” of Superman in the iconic 1993 storyline, “Kon-El” was introduced as one of the man of steel’s replacements. He is a bio-engineered organism created by the villainous CADMUS organization to resemble Superman as much as possible. He starts off as an immature teenager but slowly grows into a champion befitting the hero in whose image he was created.
Kon-El strikes up a relationship with the returned-to-life Superman, who has his own parents adopt and raise the youngster, whom he calls his cousin. He went on to become a member of Young Justice, the Teen Titans, and the 31st Century Legion of Super Heroes. He had a strong friendship with Tim Drake (the 3rd Robin) and a romantic relationship with Cassie Sandsmark (the 2nd Wonder Girl). He lost his life during the 2005 Infinite Crisis storyline, only to be returned to life in 2009, where he is in the 31st Century and fighting the evil “Superboy-Prime”. When the New 52 was formed in 2011, Kon-El’s backstory was changed. When the DC Rebirth universe was relaunched in 2016, the character was retconned, replaced by the new Jonathan Samuel Kent (the son of a Superman and Lois Lane from a parallel/destroyed Earth); although recent developments hint at his return. He has yet to appear in any live-action TV or films.
His most frequent partnerships were with members of the Superman family (Superman, Lois, Steel, Supergirl and even Lex Luthor) as well as members of the Teen Titans and Young Justice (including Tim Drake’s Robin, Impulse and his longtime girlfriend Cassie Sandsmark/Wonder Girl):
As for long-running series, he appeared in 101 issues of the Superboy Volume 4, which ran between 1994 and 2002.
#77 – Hawkman – Carter Hall
Carter Hall was an archeologist who learned that he was the reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian prince who regained his lost memories once he touched the knife used to murder him. Fusing together his past and present selves, he creates a belt from the mysterious Nth Metal that allow him to fly and arms himself with medieval weapons to fight crime, including the evil Dr. Hastor (the reincarnation of the man of killed him). He goes on to become the chairman of the Justice Society, the world’s first team of superheroes. He also discovers that his girlfriend is the reincarnation of his previous life’s love and the two eventually marry. This version of Hawkman disappeared in the early 1950s as the Golden Age of Comics came to an end; but he was later revived when Earth-Two was reintroduced as a parallel universe during the Silver Age. Now there was also a Hawkman in the Earth-One reality, but that was an alien with a similarly-named Katar Hol; but the two were treated as distinct characters. Carter Hall’s Hawkman frequently appeared in the JSA/JLA crossovers, the All-Star Squadron series from the early 1980s and in the later Infinity Inc. series when he was revealed to be the father of the hero Silver Scarab. When Crisis on Infinite Earths rewrote the DC Universe, the Carter Hall version of the character remained. In later versions of the series, it is revealed that Katar Hol was just another reincarnation of Carter Hall, although the two lived at the same time. In the new DC Prime Universe, the World War II era character has been replaced by a different merged version of the archeologist and Thanagarian warrior; but there are hints that the Golden-Age Hawkman will soon make a reappearance. A version of the character was played by Falk Hentschel during the first season of Legends of Tomorrow.
His most frequent collaborators are with either his Justice Society counterparts and members of the Justice League (several of which had the same name as their Golden Age counterparts which were also counted in these totals):
As for long-running series, he appeared in 104 issues of the Golden Age Flash Comics between 1939 and 1948 as well as in 73 issues of the Golden-Age (and relaunched 1970s series with continued numbering) of All-Star comics.
#76 – Maria Hill
A former Marine, Maria quicly rose through the ranks of S.H.E.I.L.D. and is seen as follow-the-rules kind of leader. During the Civil War storyline of the mid-2000s, she has been promoted to the head of the organization and is seen as upholding the Superhuman Registration Act to the point of sending agents after non-complying superheroes such as Captain America and Spider-Man. When Tony Stark becomes appointed head of S.H.E.I.L.D., she becomes his deputy director; although at first she does not trust the instincts of her new boss, the two eventually for a friendship. She eventually becomes the organizations liason to the Avengers, and is promoted to acting director and once again, director, of the organization; but due to recent developments she has been removed from that position. She is portrayed by Cobie Smoulders in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Her most frequent appearances were made with various members of the Avengers, which often work with S.H.E.I.L.D., especially Tony Stark’s Iron Man due to his tenure as the head of that agency.
She has yet to appear in at least 50 issues of any one series. Her most frequent appearance was in the Invincible Iron Man series between 2007 and 2012 where she appeared in 32 issues.
#75 – Perry White
The first “normal human” on the list is the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Planet. The character actually first appeared as a character in the 1940 Adventures of Superman radio drama and he then replaced George Taylor as the Daily Planet editor in late 1940 and has been there pretty much ever since. Besides being the boss of Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, Perry is known for his exclamations “Great Caesar’s Ghost” and “Don’t call me Chief”. He was heavily featured in the “Superman Family” of comics of the 1950s and 1960s, but by the time the 1970s started and DC and Marvel started releasing more titles; his prominence faded. Still, he’s appeared in at least one comic ever since 1940. He’s been portrayed on TV by John Hamilton and Lane Smith and on the big screen by Jackie Cooper, Frank Langella and Lawrence Fishburne.
His most frequent collaborations were with other members of the expanded Superman family, including the staff of the Daily Planet, the family of Clark Kent and even his nemesis Lex Luthor. He also shows up with Batman and the original Robin due to their joint appearances in the long-running World’s Finest series.
Compared to the previous characters on the list, Perry White has appeared regularly in multiple Superman-related comics. He’s been in 238 issues of Action Comics between 1940 and 2018; 152 issues of Superman Volume 1 between 1940 and 2011; 91 issues of World’s Finest Volume 1 between 1941 and 1985; 76 issues of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen Volume 1 between 1954 and 1971; 63 issues of the Adventures of Superman between 1986 and 2005; 63 issues of Superman Volume 2 between 1987 and 2006 and 62 issues of Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane Vol 1 between 1958 and 1974.
#74 – Starfire
A princess from the planet Tamaran, Koriand’r was betrayed by her elder sister who was passed over for the throne for her younger sister. Her sister was captured by alien invaders and tortured. She was able to escape after being granted enhanced abilities and found her way to Earth where she quickly befriended (and subsequently joined) the Teen Titans. She was a member of the group when it was at its peak of popularity in the 1980s. After leaving the team in the early 1990s, she largely disappeared from the DC Universe until a new version of the team formed in 1999. Since then, she has also been a member of the Outsiders and spent several years fight with the Red Hood and his team, the Outlaws. Most recently, she has been named the leader of the newest version of the Teen Titans. She is portrayed by Anna Diop in the DC Comic’s streaming series Titans and has been voiced by Hynden Walch in the long running Teen Titans/Teen Titans Go animated franchise.
Her most frequent collaborators are various members of the Teen Titans, as well as DC’s “Big Three” (Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman).
She has appeared in 57 issues of the New Titans series which ran between 1988 and 1995 and well as in 54 issues of the comedic Teen Titans Go series between 2003 and 2008.
#73 – Falcon
Created in 1969, the Falcon was part of the first generation of African-American superheroes in the two mainstream comic universes. After the deaths of his parents in two separate crimes, he gives up his community volunteer persona, moves to Los Angeles and becomes a gang member. He later finds himself on a secluded island where he helps Captain America defeat the Red Skull and gains a psychic connection to a falcon called Redwing. He adopts the falcon has his pet and joins Captain America as a masked crimefighter, serving as Cap’s partner throughout much of the 1970s. It’s during this time that he is given a set of mechanical flying “wings” by the Black Panther. In addition to his role as Captain America’s partner, he had a few stints as a member of the Avengers. When Captain America is aged into an old man, Falcon assumes the role of Captain America, although he gives up the shield and costume when Steve Rogers is returned to his Falcon persona. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe he has been portrayed by Anthony Mackie.
Aside from his longtime partner/mentor Captain America, the Falcon most frequently appeared with other members of the Avengers:
He appeared in 160 issues of Captain America Vol 1 between 1969 and 2011 and in 50 issues of the first Avengers series between 1971 and 2018.
#72 – Robin – Damian Wayne
The “secret son” of Bruce Wayne (a.k.a. Batman), he was raised by the villianous League of Assassins, by his mother Talia al Ghul (the assassin/occasional lover of Batman). When he was ten years old, he was deposited at Wayne Manor where he was determined to claim the mantle of Robin from it’s current owner, Tim Drake with whom he had immediate animosity for. Drake defeated the younger boy; but the two would clash repeatedly in the next few years. When Dick Grayson took on the mantle of Batman, he selected Damian to be his new Robin (with Tim becoming the new Red Robin) and when the New 52 recreated the DC Universe, Bruce Wayne was once again Batman and Damian was his Robin (although the previous histories of Dick Grayson, Jason Todd and Tim Drake fulfilling that role was maintained). In addition to being a core member of the Batman Family over the past decade, he’s also been a member of the Teen Titans and is currently one of the “Super Sons” along with the latest Superboy, Jonathan Samuel Kent.
With the exception of Superman, all of Damian Wayne’s most frequent collaborations are with members of the Batman family; including all three of his predecessors:
He has yet to appear in 50 issues of any one series, but did appear in 48 issues of the Batman and Robin series that ran between 2009 and 2011.
#71 – Doctor Doom
Born in the fictional Balkan state of Latveria, Victor von Doom’s early life was full of tragedy. His mother, a witch, was killed by the demon Mephisto and his father, a healer, was executed for “letting” the ruling Baron’s wife die. These early tragedies fueled von Doom’s desire to gain revenge. He mastered both science and witchcraft and went to NYU where he first met his future rival, Reed Richards (a.k.a. Mister Fantastic). Blaming a Richards’ experiment for his disfiguredment (it was a small scar), he vows revenge on the Richards and his Fantastic Four teammates. With his combination of Technological and Magical prowess, he became the Fantastic Four’s (and Marvel’s) greatest villain. He would succeed in seizing control of his homeland and used it (and the accompanying diplomatic immunity) to launch hundreds of attacks against the Fantastic Four and other heroes from the Marvel Universe. Despite all his evil, he was a competent (and popular) ruler and genuinely loved his family. He briefly attained status as a “God” and that changed his outlook. When Tony Stark retired as Iron Man, von Doom picked up the mantle of Iron Man and acted as a hero and when his homeland collapsed into terror in his absence, he was persuaded once again to take control and bring stability. Whether hero, villian or something inbetween; Doctor Doom remains one of the smartest minds in the Marvel Universe who will pursue any path that he sees as just. He was portrayed in the 2005 and 2007 Fantastic Four movies by Julian McMahon and in the failed 2015 relaunch by Toby Kebbell.
His most frequent appearances are against the members of the Fantastic Four, trailed by various members of the Avengers and his sometime collaborator/sometime rival/sometime enemy the Sub-Mariner:
As befitting his role as the greatest villain of the Fantastic Four, he has appeared in 104 issues of the first Fantastic Four series between it’s launch in 1962 and its ending in 2012.
Stay tuned for number #70 thru #61
Written by Dave Curewitz