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Top Five Month continues (check here to see an archive of all the top five lists featured so far) with a look at the top five slayers in comic books!
SORTA HONORABLE MENTION
Demonslayer, an Avatar book (nee Image Comics) just barely edges out Spawn: Godslayer for the #5 spot, mostly because my pal, Blond, did some of his earliest professional coloring work on this series.
Otherwise…well, not much to say about this one, so moving on!!
Thanks to Craig for reminding me of this one that I forgot!!
The Spider-Slayers have plagued Spider-Man for YEARS! Dr. Spencer Smythe first made these pesky robots, and later on, J. Jonah Jameson commissioned Dr. Marla Madison to make some, too – and instead, he and Madison fell in love and married!
4. Skull the Slayer
Skull the Slayer was an interesting little book, particularly the timing of the book. Obviously, Mike Grell had his Warlord idea set in his head for quite a long time before he actually debuted the character in late 1975, but interestingly enough, Skull the Slayer came out in his own title a few months BEFORE Warlord debuted, and the stories are pretty similar.
Skull was actually Jim Scully, a Vietnam vet who was a POW for a few years, and when he came back to the US, his life was in shambles – his parents were dead, his wife had divorced him, his brother was a junkie – things were bad. Things got worse when his brother came at Jim with a knife. Jim easily blocked the attack, but his brother then accidentally fell on the knife and died! Fearing that he would be blamed for the crime, Jim took off and was arrested in Bermuda.
On the way back home, however, the plane went through some sort of time warp in the Bermuda Triangle and crashed. Jim and a few survivors of the plane crash found themselves on a lost world of dinosaurs and other stuff like that from all sorts of different time periods (including the future).
Early on, Jim found a belt that gave him tremendous strength. He used that belt to defend his friends and fight the good fight as Skull the Slayer!
Marv Wolfman wrote the first issue, but a series of writers did the book during its short run.
Years later, Mark Gruenwald brought him back as a member of a group of supernatural heroes under Doctor Druid’s command (the belt now turned Scully translucent, so he went by the name Blazing Skull).
He was eventually cured of the clear skin (other people usually have it the other way around – they take cures TO clear their skin), and years later, Fabian Nicieza used him as a character in his Hawkeye series.
Eric Simon Payne was also a Vietnam veteran like Scully, only he had a lot more problems than Scully!
He got caught up in a demonic cult, and they gave him a demonic shadow cloak as well as the ability to see demons. He then become a Devil-Slayer, although he was a really weird guy.
He went through some major issues over the years (working with the Defenders, mostly).
He recently popped up as a member of the 50 States Initiative.
2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy is quite lucky that Buffy Season 8 came out, because if it were not for that comic, she would be stuck at #3, because Devil-Slayer was a pretty darn cool (if bizarre) character, and up until Buffy Season 8, the comics version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer sorta paled compared to the TV series (as you would imagine).
Luckily, Buffy Season 8 DID happen, and Joss Whedon (and company) has been doing some nice work with the series, pushing Ms. Summers up the list to #2!
But who is #1?!?
Mike Grell’s story of an ancient Celtic warrior brought to the future to fight the bad guys (and later, actually slaying a star, which set off a whole new era of the book, where he was set against an actual Celtic Goddess!!) was pretty sweet.
And after Grell finished the first series for Pacific, it went to First Comics, where John Ostrander had a good run on it, as well.
Starslayer had back-ups, and in those back-ups, it introduced a mind-boggingly THREE awesome series! Groo, The Rocketeer AND Grimjack!! Pretty sweet, no?
Jon Sable, Freelance is better than Starslayer, so I perfectly understand why Grell has chosen the former to do modern work on, but damned if it wouldn’t be awesome to see him do some new Starslayer comics!
One last tidbit of info – Starslayer was going to be published by DC, but it was a victim of the DC Implosion, so Grell took it to Pacific a few years later.
Okay, just one more piece of info – Starslayer? That’s what Starlin wanted to call Dreadstar!! Cool, huh?
Okay, that’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!
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