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CSBG Archive

Top 200 Marvel Characters #121-140

And here’s some more…

121. Harry Osborn – 44 points

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122. Spider-Man 2099 – 42 points (2 first place votes)

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123. Ultimate Nick Fury – 41 points


124 (tie). Juggernaut – 39 points


124 (tie). Mr. Sensitive/The Orphan (Guy Smith) – 39 points (1 first place vote)

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126 (tie). Morph – 38 points (1 first place vote)


126 (tie). Marvel Boy (Noh-Varr) – 38 points

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128 (tie). Baron Zemo – 37 points


128 (tie). Blade – 37 points (2 first place votes)


128 (tie). Warlock – 37 points (1 first place vote)


131 (tie). Wolfsbane – 36 points (1 first place vote)


131 (tie). Aunt May – 36 points

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133 (tie). Valkyrie – 35 points (1 first place vote)


133 (tie). Ultimate Iron Man – 35 points (1 first place vote)

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133 (tie). Bishop – 35 points (1 first place vote)


136 (tie). M – 34 points


136 (tie). Man-Thing – 34


136 (tie). The Human Torch (Jim Hammond) – 34

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139 (tie). The Captain (Nextwave) – 33

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139 (tie). Moondragon – 33



Mutant heavy batch this time.

That Juggernaut cover might be the worst cover you could have used. It’s hideous. However, that Aunt May cover is quite possibly the best cover you’ve ever used, for any character. Well done.

While that one shot wasn’t a high point in Valkyrie’s career in terms of characterization,I’m nonetheless pleased to see her make an appearance,at last.If only Marvel would give her more page space,my #1 Marvel vote favorite might garner a following more in line with the letter pages & occasional collectibles of the 70’s & 80’s.

Her interaction with Dr.Strange,Hulk,and Namor was,at times,quite special in the classic Defenders and other guest shots.I’ll also never forget Val rending Hulk limp with a pressure point attack and tossing him off the Empite State Building in Hulk #142.

Dumb question, but I just recently started reading the mutant books for the first time in 15 years or so- Is “M” the same character as Monet in X-Factor?

Spider-man 2099, cooler than Juggernaut? Did I die and Go to hell? wtf


After all of the great character work that creators like Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza have heaped on Baron Zemo he placed at #128?


And even though I know he’s more a plot device than a “character”, the best Man-Thing could rate on this list is #128? Steve Gerber’s work on Adventures Into Fear and Man-Thing v.1 have to be some of the best comics Marvel’s ever printed!

This… this just doesn’t add up.

And then you expect us to believe that there are at least 44 people on earth who actually LIKE Harry Osborn?

That’s it. I call “shenanigans”.

Am I on TV? ;-P

Heh. Manny placed at #136, not #128.

It’s late and I’m tired. Sue me.

You know sometimes when characters best work is some 25 years behind them it can hurt them with the voters.

People have continued to get into comics and picking up ManThing may not be on there “must read” list.

Oops, that may be all sarcasm.

Yes, M is the same as Monet.

As for a character’s best work being 25 years behind them, I’m sure somebody somewhere could make the same argument for at least half the characters on this list. Has any Fantastic Four comic been better than the original Lee/ Kirby? Have any Spider-Man comics surpassed the Ditko work, or the Romita issues, or the Stern stories? Not to mention Thor post-Simonson, Warlock post-Starlin (the first time), Moon Knight post-Moench & Sienkiewicz, any of the X-Men post-Byrne or post-Smith or (in Nightcrawler’s case) post-Davis…

Gerber’s Man-Thing (and Howard the Duck and Defenders) comics are a cut above 99% of Marvel’s output from the Bronze Age on. That kind of quality sticks in readers minds. Being out of the public eye hurts comic book characters’ popularity, yes, but Essential Man-Thing has come into print recently. His best stories are now accessible to those of us who were not around the first time.

And yet, Manny still ended up at 136. I’m surprised he placed lower than Harry Osbourne or Ultimate whoever. Not shocked, because, let’s face it, Man-Thing is not exactly a great character. Still, I would expect the quality of the material to raise up the character.

I think that Valkyrie cover is actually worse than the Juggernaut one – it’s that bad!

But as jazzbo says the Aunt May Marvel Team-Up cover is cool.

Speaking of covers, the cover of Amazing Spider-man #136 (one of my all time favs) would have been great for Harry Osborn.

Don’t you have to have a character to be a character? I recomend Man-Thing comics heartily, but Man-Thing is as much a character as Slaughter Swamp.

I smile to think of Moondragon making someone’s top ten. It seems like her very purpose in the MU is to be Unlikeable Lass.

I voted for Harry Osborn. I like him. I like him more than Norman, usually (though Ellis’s Norman is pretty awesome right now). I wish HE had been brought back at the end of the clone saga instead of Norman. I liked that he was Peter’s best friend, but sometimes was his worst enemy. I was even willing to overlook the constant bouts of amnesia to get those stories. Those issues of Spectacular Spider-Man (of which the cover Brian posted was one) where Harry appeared were great. When he would snap, he was very creepy, and seemed dangerous. There was always this threat that he would hurt MJ or even Liz and Normie. Also, Sal Buscema’s art on those was classic. To this day, if I picture the Green Goblin, it’s Sal’s “Spectacular” harry-Goblin I see. Good stuff. Harry is missed.

Though, as much as it pains me to admit, I think the 44 points does not represent 44 people. He would get multiple points for each person, depending on when he was on their lists, I believe. Right Brian?

I guess my post should have read when an obscure characters best work is 25 years past.

I’ve read numerous good Spider-Man stories and one pretty awful Man-Thing story. Man-Thing seems like the poor mans Swamp Thing in the story I read.

I think that’s my first-place vote for Warlock!

Only problem with Warlock is he’s hard to draw right. Sienkiewicz could do it. Art Adams could do it. Not everybody could do it.

Yeah, boo for Zemo’s poor showing.

Past maybe Bucky, he’s the most interesting Marvel character of the last ten years.


November 7, 2007 at 8:04 am


I LOVES me the Man-Thing.
Uh… the CHARACTER. Don’t read anything else into that statement.

It was MAN-THING that really got me interested in collecting comics (as opposed to just READING the odd issues that would come in those “random-comics-in-a-bag” things that were sold at the local 5-&-dime) way back in the late 1970’s (sadly, because, since my other friends had big allowances and/or parents who would buy them pricey comic back-issues, I had no such grace and was relegated to the 25cent bins – where old first-run Man-Things dwelt).

And it seems I was paid off a much higher dividend, because Man-Thing (mostly by Gerber & Ploog) were such ambitious tales, written with a higher sense of narrative & literary craftsmanship than the usual 1970’s fare.

Then, when his 2nd series came out in 1980, I was primed with ALL the back-story I needed and dove in with abandon.

THEN… in a magical issue (# 4) the cover showed him battling against this guy with the lame name of DOCTOR STRANGE, with a looming head of MORDO (“…what the heck’s a MORDO?”, I thought) in the background.


It was a very interesting & gripping story.
AND…it was continued in the next issue of DOCTOR STRANGE’s book, so I had to pick THAT up.

And THAT story was awesome too, so, then I picked up the NEXT issue of DOCTOR STRANGE and the next and the next…

It wasn’t long before I went on, what is now, a now 27+ year epic-quest for ALL-THINGS Doctor Strange & Man-Thing related.

They weren’t the only titles I was buying back then, but they were my favorites.

As a slight benefit, while my friends were having their usual “Whose favorite could beat up whose favorite” arguments, I would be disqualified (which I took as a “win”) by default. Can’t hurt Man-Thing and NO ONE beats Doctor Strange. Magic y’know.



The best written, best drawn, best inked, and best coloured story ever designed by comic’s best creators across the ages still wouldn’t encourage me to vote for a character who is a bland and motivationless as Man-Thing.

Sorry, but I consider him a walking plot device. Not a character in his own right.


Oh, he is more of a walking plot device than a character, definitely. In Gerber’s hands, however, he became a heck of a plot device with a smidgen of character thrown in. (See also: Simon Garth, Sludge) Reading the Gerber (and DeMatteis) issues, however, I found that I liked Man-Thing, and wanted him to win. Can a reader root for a plot-device? Maybe.

I wouldn’t expect him to be in the top 100, but I was surprised by some of the characters that appeared higher on the list.

I think good creative teams are responsible for the higher showings of Madrox, Runaways characters, and even Daredevil. I don’t think Swamp Thing would be much higher than Man-Thing if not for the Alan Moore factor.

The final character on my top 10 finally came in!

It’s good to see a few other people voted for The Captain.


God, i miss Nextwave.

I object to the characterization of Man-Thing as “a walking plot device.”

That’s a shambling plot device to you, bucko.


November 7, 2007 at 9:36 am


Under MUCH of his published history, you would probably be correct in your belief that Man-Thing is more plot-device than character.
Far too many of his appearances have him relegated to the role of “watcher” and “focal point”, or worse; “the tree-stump Spectre”, where he senses “evil” and burns its cowardly lot.

However, there HAVE been some stories where the muck (and tired tropes) part from his mind long enough for the MAN to come forth.

In some instances he is found to be a flawed and unlikable person.
In others, he is shown to have depth and heroic capacity.

He almost NEVER is the “I-will-do-the-right-thing-for-right-thing’s-sake” type of hero, but is instead a very relatable character, full of all our strengths and weaknesses and fears.

He is US, thrown into the worst possible situation.
In some sense, like ANY man (or a child) drafted into war and thrown all alone into an unfathomable landscape to battle an ever-changing enemy with ONLY survival as his ultimate goal.
And yet, even then, he has been given some “depth” of character by doing what might not be in HIS best interest if it is instead needed by someone under his protection.

Sadly, it’s a rare instance when a writer will do so with him, but it has happened and those are good tales.

One failing, however, is that by the end of the issue, ANY growth and understanding that he has made is lost into the dim recesses of his mind, so that by the start of the next issue, there is only the tabula-rasa again, where the next series of events will prompt a new set of actions & reactions from him.

This COULD be used as a writing strength, as one instance might evoke a completely different response than a similar one might have earlier, thus removing any traditional reactions, but instead, newly learned ones each and every time.
Much like someone who constantly loses their memory (what was that movie…”MOMENTO”?) must re-evaluate every event and their take on it.

Sadly, this has never been properly followed up on in his tales.

However, even as a nearly MINDLESS empath he is not without the lure of viewer empathy and likability.

Sure, nearly all of his stories are dictated in a 2nd or 3rd person narrative style, with his actions and motivations stated to the reader, but even in THIS is shown some depth within the murky mire of his brain.

While he is nearly devoid of higher cognisance and motivation, even within his “lower life-form” level of awareness he has been shown to possess actual “character”.

I am reminded of an old French film called “THE RED BALLOON”, where a lonely young boy is befriended by a balloon.
The balloon follows him and reacts to him and even ACTS on its own in it’s empathy towards the young boy’s needs, and damn if the viewer doesn’t begin to LOVE the BALLOON.
(This, of course, depends on the viewer not being cold and cut off from their emotions.)

To a MUCH lesser degree (for anyone who has never seen “The RED BALLOON”) is the “character” of “WILSON”, the soccer-ball “companion” of Tom Hanks’ character in the film “CAST AWAY”.
The major difference here, however, is that “Wilson” NEVER emotes ANY character of his own, but instead has it superimposed UPON “him” by the tortured and lonely mind of Hanks. When “Wilson” is lost at sea, no one in the theatre was unaffected by the sense of loss.
They were made to care for the “character”, while there NEVER was one at all.

The RED BALLOON, and MAN-THING, however, DO have their own CHARACTER, despite their overall existence as “plot device”.

Man-Thing is a character in much the same way as the balloon.
One that reflects our own (and the writer’s) humanity back upon us.
Almost as a distorted mirror or ourselves (or the writer or characters in the story).

To appreciate HIM as a character is to appreciate OURSELVES as well.

Of course, THAT really relies upon the reader having a properly balanced sense of “right and wrong” so that they can also see what is tormenting the Man-Thing.

If a reader is distant (any puppy-kickers in the audience?), then they will not understand the “character” of the Man-Thing as social-conscience.

Of course, I’m SURE this will open up discussion as to how much of a sap I am (guilty!) and/or how pretentious or erroneous my views are.

That’s fine.
I don’t claim to be RIGHT.
These are merely my opinions and “takes” on it all.

Your mileage, as they say, may vary.


FINALLY!!! MIGGY!!! My #1.

And yes, he’s tons cooler than Juggy. So there.
I’m talking about the Peter David version. Chris Claremont wrote him recently as if he were merely an alternate universe version of Peter Parker, even going so far as to fabricate a completely out-of-character Gwen Stacy/Mary Jane relationship for him! Fuck the hell? And then he wrote him out in a story that made absofuckinglutely no sense whatsoever. Chris Claremont sucks. Please, do us all a favor, and retire.

Also showing up here, my #5, Morph.

Interesting that both the DC and Marvel batches this time around had my #1 and #5 picks.

I miss Nextwave too. Of them, I picked Aaron Stack/Machine Man/X-51, as my #7.

Is Squirrel Girl EVER going to show up?

Franklin Richards, Galactus and a glowing Aunt May. Now thats a comic !

And yes, Man-Thing is a character, obiviously

Though, as much as it pains me to admit, I think the 44 points does not represent 44 people. He would get multiple points for each person, depending on when he was on their lists, I believe. Right Brian?

You are correct, Jordan!

It’s interesting to see characters like Blade that Marvel obviously put a lot of stock in this far down. It’s the same with Steel on the DC list. Both have even had movie money thrown at them (granted not a lot in Steel’s case!). Maybe it’s time for Marvel to look at which characters are actually popular with the fans (i.e squirrel girl…sigh) if they want to make a bigger return at the box office…..ohhh..I get it vampires sell in General to a wider audience …I blame the Buffy factor…pah too many kids wearing black and wearing tights on their arms, make-up, piercings etc….whats wrong with cheesecloth shirts and twill trousers…open-toed sandals…blah blah etc

Ultimate Nick Fury, ahead of Ultimate Iron Man…I think not! Actually I don’t care about that, I’m not really into the whole ‘Ultimates’ thang. Marvel Universe was cool enough without reinventing it yet again…mumble mumble.

Still Man-Thing….cool. He is a character…just one made of twigs and mud is all. He’s got more personality than Cable for Chrissakes!!

Acespot: Squirrel Girl was number 59, so if we’re waiting around it’s just for a few of her favorite squirrels.

A first place vote for Wolfsbane? I didn’t even know she had fans..

Moondragon? Really?

My first real comics indulgence was the Infinity Gauntlet / War / Crusade, and the following Warlock stuff, and I always hated her. Pip, Drax, Gamora, all cool. Moondragon. Not cool.

No personality to speak of. No definable powers.

Waste of votes people.

Moondragon’s powers are just as definable as any other Marvel telepath — which is to say kind of definable, depending on a story’s needs.

And sure she has a persoanlity. She’s a jerk.

buttler said:
“And sure she has a personality. She’s a jerk.”

And a lesbian apparently, or at least bisexual, as she once seduced Rick Jones’ hot wife away from him…

Mike Loughlin said:
“Yes, M is the same as Monet.”

Thanks! I thought as much, but I wasn’t 100% sure.

The first Blade movie was a good call. All my friends like it and since Blade looked like a doofus on the cover of his comic book I’ve never read it. So whatever you call that geek thing were you get annoyed at plot diffrences tween comic and movie didn’t tingle once.

Poor Juggy. I thought he had more love than that.

Finally Aunt May shows up.

And that comic was the best Assistant Editor’s Month issue.

Nice to see Miguel O’Hara show up. Wondering where he’d place.

No dissing Moondragon. She’s one of the hard-to-get-along with characters, because she’s arrogant and prissy.

I like when she conquered a world and when she was convinced only Thor deserved to be her consort.

Hey, I enjoy Moondragon’s churlishness, although I haven’t read any of her recent big gay adventures with the new Quasar so I don’t know if she’s suddenly a more sympathetic character.

But yeah, the Thor-raping storyline was particularly choice. You just don’t do that.

She is a jerk, but why would you vote for her? She’s not a cool jerk like The Captain or the Irredemable Ant-Man. They are fun jerks.

And whats this about her and Marlo Chandler? I kinda dropped out for a while, is Marlo still married to Rick Jones? This wasn’t PAD taking his fav characters into other titles again was it?


November 8, 2007 at 7:03 am

Moondragon was always a good character.
Her term with the New Defenders was particularly full of comic-book-pathos (she had to learn how to be more humble and deal with the power-regulating headband that Odin slapped on her for being such a haughty pain-in-the-ass).

Valkyrie had to mentor her in being a better person, but the limiting power levels didn’t stop her from getting her way.
She’d use her feminine whiles to manipulate the men of the team (Angel & Ice-Man were practically fighting over her attentions).

Her inflated sense of self was always her strongest strength & greatest weakness, because no matter what she was up against, or how low her power level at the time, she still felt like she was queen of the universe.

Plus, with her hubris and Machiavellian sense of values, you could never know for sure whether she was a hero or villain in any specific instance.
She wasn’t 2-dimensional and wouldn’t act in a “pre-formatted” way.
Different scenarios evoked different reactions or responses.

ALL you would know was that she’d most likely be a celf-centered prima-donna. But, she even bucked THAT on occasion.

Definitely one of the more “sexy” female characters at Marvel.

The addition of the “bi”/lesbian angle was an intriguing and logical next step in her characterization.

I wanted to buy the whole ANNIHILATION saga (she being one huge reason), but I had to draw the line (for the sake of my wallet) somewhere.

Mary kay cosmetics.

Merle norman cosmetics studio. Bare essentials cosmetics.

I’d love to see someone with tons of guts and even more talent reinvent Valkyrie (perhaps with a somewhat more human demeanor, without losing her morbid edge). Marvel’s always blathering on about getting more girls into comics – enough with the Sex and the City-style series, you’ve got a kick-ass female lead with her own freaking horse! You’d have to be idiotic not to see how that could work, as long as you don’t draw her like something off a wall in Saddam’s palaces.

Aunt May….ha ha ha brilliant Super Chin!
Man Thing’s got to be a winner surely…

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