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CSBG Archive

2011 Top 50 DC Characters #50-46

After nearly 1,400 ballots were cast, YOU the reader ranked your favorite comic book characters from 1-10. I assigned point totals to each ranking and then tabulated it all into a Top 50 list. We’re now revealing that list throughout September. Here is the master list of all the characters revealed so far. The countdown begins now…

50. Death – 343 points (2 first place votes)

One of the most popular characters from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series (and he created a ton of great characters), Death is a member of the Endless, a group of siblings that each personify a natural force. The representation of Death is, surprisingly, a young woman. One of the most impressive things Gaiman did with the character was not overuse her. She’s such an interesting character that you’d be hard-pressed not to use her constantly, but he held true to making her each appearance in the series be a “special” moment. Gaiman also wrote two acclaimed mini-series starring Death.

49. Spider Jerusalem – 344 points (10 first place votes)

Spider Jerusalem is the star of Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson’s Transmetropolitan, about a journalist in the mold of Hunter S. Thompson forced to end his self-imposed exile in the country to return to “The City,” where he began the task of uncovering the truth, causing problems for “the man” and doing a lot of futuristic drugs.

48. The Question (Renee Montoya) – 357 points (3 first place votes)

Created for the Paul Dini/Bruce Timm Batman animated series, Renee Montoya became a stalwart member of the Batman supporting cast as one of the most prominent members of the Gotham City police department. She was partnered with Harvey Bullock for a long time before Greg Rucka began writing Detective Comics. Rucka paired her with Detective Crispus Allen. The duo became the nominal stars of the Gotham Central ongoing series written by Rucka and Ed Brubaker. It was there that Rucka revealed that Montoya was a lesbian. After the death of Allen, Montoya left the GCPD and drifted aimlessly for awhile before Vic Sage, the Question, took her under his wing and trained her to be his replacement. She currently fights the good fight (wherever it may be) as the Question.

47. Lois Lane – 367 points (4 first place votes)

There is an interesting duality to Lois Lane’s character over the years. Mark Waid captured it well in this scene from Superman: Birthright where Perry White examines Lois’ pluses and minuses…

46. Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes) – 376 points (6 first place votes)

Jaime Reyes had big shoes to fill, as the previous Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, was a fan favorite. But partially by embracing the memory of Ted, Jaime Reyes was adopted with open arms by many fans. Writers Keith Giffen and John Rogers (and then John Rogers solo) did a strong job establishing Jaime’s family and an interesting supporting cast, apart from the standard plots and locales of typical DC superheroes. The result was a unique and compelling (and FUN!) comic book series. Tony Bedard will try to duplicate that success with Jaime’s new series, a part of DC’s “New 52″ relaunch.

NOTE: If you wish to e-mail me (at bcronin@comicbookresources.com) your reasons for voting for any of these five characters (or really, for any of the characters on your list), feel free to drop me a line and I’ll edit your thoughts in (and feature them in future character pieces).

Check back tomorrow for Marvel’s #50-46!


Really glad to see Jaime make the list.

Also, “No good place to hide her body” on Perry’s list is pretty damn funny.

The Crazed Spruce

September 2, 2011 at 10:15 am

This time ’round, I started with a list of 20 from each company, and wound up adding to both lists. In the end, I sent in two Top 20’s, one for each company, along with two five-way ties for 21st, with a quick paragraph of my thoughts on each of my Top 10 finalists, and a quick thought on the next 10. (By the way, Brian, feel free to use my thoughts if you crack my Top 10.) Just wanted to get that out of the way….

I loved the character of Death, but she finished just outside of my list. (I think either Amanda Waller or Harvey Bullock squeezed her out.)

Haven’t read enough Transmetropolitain to properly judge Spider Robinson, but from the two issues I’ve seen, I get the feeling he might’ve made my list if I’d seen more.

Loved Renee Montoya in the cartoon, but I haven’t read much of her stories. I liked her arc in 52, though.

Lois Lane was part of my 21st place tie. (I had her at 20th, but then I remembered Jimmy Olsen, and had to resuffle.) I preferred the John Byrne version, with the late 70’s-early 80’s TV reporter version as a close second. The whole Weisinger-era “tricking-Clark-Kent-into-revealing-that-he’s-Superman-so-he’ll-marry-her” thing knocked her down a few points, in my book. (Athough if you stop to think about it, the fact that she knew Superman’s secret shows how good a reporter she was, even if she couldn’t prove it….)

Like Spider Jerusalem, I haven’t seen enough of Jamie Reyes to judge him, but I liked what I saw. (And I love him in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold cartoon.)

Hey, someone from my list shows up already! That would be Lois Lane. I’m a big fan of the tough-as-nails Golden Age version, especially from the Fleischer cartoons, but really I love her even in her psychotic Silver Age shenanigans.

But really, I’m a fan of all of the characters above–Spider probably the least of them, because there are so many Warren Ellis characters more or less just like him, but he’s a fun one too. I liked Renee better as a cop than as a costumed adventurer, but I’m glad she’s still kicking ass (and still kicking at all). I loved Ted Kord, but Jaime really won me over awfully quickly, even if he didn’t make my list (but his little sister totally did). And what’s there to say about Death? She’s a charmer.

No one from my list yet, but I’m excited we get to see the results throughout the month. I love these lists. Thanks for taking the insane amount of time to do this, Brian.

Death was the first character that popped into my head, so she got the #1 spot. She’s funny and insightful, with a remarkably simple yet effective character design. Plus, she got all the best lines in Sandman, at least when Delirium wasn’t on-panel. I’m glad she made the list.

There’s Death! That’s one down, 9 to go! (Although I doubt Count Vertigo will show up, but one can dream, right?)

That’s a pretty strong five. Imagine having forty-five characters better than this group.

My #1 gone already…nice to see I want the only Lois championer…

yay Renee ^_^

Where’s the Marvel? Or are you alternating day to day?

I’m pretty sure Brian said that this is one of the two special daily posts for September, so I’m guessing alternating days of 5 a day until we get to the top 6, and then 1 day after that.

None of mine yet, but I wasn’t comfortable with non-DCU Vertigo characters being on this list even though it was in the rules (unfair advantage) so that kept Spider off my list.

I’m pretty sure Brian said that this is one of the two special daily posts for September, so I’m guessing alternating days of 5 a day until we get to the top 6, and then 1 day after that.

Yep (well, the cut down from five a days will be slightly different, but that’s basically it).

I didn’t pick out-of-universe characters just cause they would have overwhelmed my list. I have a slight Marvel bias, but wow, this is a good batch of characters.

nice to see Jamie be on the list plus also happy to see the current version of the question made the cut

This is a batch that could have been subtitled “Vertigo was one of the five smartest things that DC ever did”.

Maybe it is just me, but it seems as though these fictional universes have a certain maximum capacity. The DCU sprang to life in two big spasms. Characters that were created after the end of the Silver Age have had a progressively harder time “sticking”, or making a lasting impression. It is as though there are a finite number of slots for A-listers, B-listers and so on. Once they are all filled, the only way for a character to get onto the list is to bump another character off. Marvel is newer with its two big spasms occurring later.

Vertigo mitigated that problem. The new imprint yielded a rich vein of new and re-invented characters.

50. Death: Conceptually brilliant, but I think that the degree of difficulty limits where the character can go post-SANDMAN. I always get a bit nervous when she shows up in DCU comics. I would hate for her to turn into a member of the JSA, or the antagonist in some crossover.

49. Spider Jerusalem: It is a shame that there is not a Vertigo Universe, because seeing old Spider bouncing around it. Can you imagine him interacting with the cast of FABLES? Or how about interviewing Death?

48. Renee Montoya: This is a character that sort of bums me out, since she found kind of the perfect role as a member of the GOTHAM CENTRAL ensemble. That series did not last nearly long enough, nor reach nearly the audience it deserved. Montoya seems badly miscast as a superhero. Worse, her transformation into The Question cost the DCU a nifty B-lister in Vic Sage. Being the third best lesbian superhero in the DCU (or fourth if Gen13 joins their Wildstorm fellows in the DCnu) is precarious place.

47. Lois Lane: If I was running the DC relaunch, then there would be a Lois Lane title at launch. She is damn near the perfect gateway character. She brave, endlessly curious and has a job that gives her an excuse to go anywhere. My hunch is that the bad rap endured by SUPERMAN’S GIRLFRIEND, LOIS LANE is why she has never gotten another crack at being a solo lead. It is a shame. That title was a product of its time, it remains the second longest running series starring a woman set in a superhero universe. It was also wildly popular and topped the sales charts for a time. Without the dated attitude towards romance and with more modern humor, it seems like a Lois Lane title could work again.

46. Blue Beelte: I really didn’t want to like the Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle as much as I do. The Ted Kord version was a personal favorite, who never seemed to catch a break as a solo character (or at least during his DC years). However, Jaime is awesome. His powers are a cool twist on the armored hero concept. He has a likable personality and a unique setting. Jaime is the rarest type of 3rd generations heroes: one that improves on the legacy.

Death Thought she whoul be higher just barley missed my DC list
Spider Jerusalem Same thoughts I had on Death
Rene Montoya Like her character just hate her as The Question
Lois Lane That fellow with the big S on his shirt bumped her off
Blue Beetle III I like Ted Kord to much to put Jamie on my list

If I’d thought of her, Lois Lane probably would’ve been #10 on my list.

And, MAN, I hate Renee Montoya. She was great on the animated series but dull as a comic book character. Then Greg Rucka made me hate the character even more when he rammed her down our throats in [I]Gotham Central[/I] at the expense of far more interesting characters. Montoya’s been tolerable as the Question, but that cost us a much better character in Vic Sage.

Spider was my #10

The others are good though – except Lois who I’ve found incredibly irritating for the last 10 years (roughly since Jeph Loeb’s run on the books) – and even more-so in Lois and Clark and Smallville.

I agree with Dean Hacker on Renee though. Great character in the wrong role.

“49. Spider Jerusalem: It is a shame that there is not a Vertigo Universe, because seeing old Spider bouncing around it. Can you imagine him interacting with the cast of FABLES? Or how about interviewing Death?”

That’s a terrible idea. Spider existed for 60 perfect issues in a well constructed narrative arc, and deserves better than being turned into some zany guest character. He’d wind up diluted, his original story would be forgotten, and worst of all they get goddamn Trudeau to turn him into Uncle Duke from Doonesbury. Ok, the last part not so much, but I argue that Spider should be left as his creators intended him.

I think we can skip the whole “staggered release” and get to

1. Batman: duh.


I don’t think Spider’s original stories would be forgotten

Spider Jerusalem>The Rest

Ronald Jay Kearschner

September 8, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Nice to see Lois. I’m glad some non-superpowered supporting characters represented.

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