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CSBG Archive

2011 Top DC Characters #45-41

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 continues…

45. Flash (Jay Garrick) – 374 points

Comic book characters just don’t have origins like Jay Garrick anymore. Garrick was a college student working on a chemistry experiment on hard water (writer Gardner Fox certainly meant to say “heavy water” instead of hard) and knocked over the hard water…WHILE TAKING A CIGARETTE BREAK!! How awesome is that? Dude knocks over a bunch of chemicals while getting his cig on! Anyhow, the liquids mix to form a gas that gives Jay super speed. After graduation, he decides to go into action as the Flash. For whatever reason, Jay decides not to wear a mask, just a helmet with wings like Hermes. Do note that the helmet is never explained in any of the Golden Age Flash comics, so everyone was cool with the idea of Jay covering up his secret identity with just a winged helmet.

Jay went on to have a number of nifty adventures before his comic was canceled. When it was revived with a new Flash taking over, Jay eventually showed up, introducing the concept of Earth 1 and Earth 2. Jay has been an “elder statesman” ever since, and he has really excelled in the role of the father/grandfather/great-grandfather to characters like Barry Allen, Wally West and Bart Allen. He’s also been one of only three members of the Justice Society of America that have lasted from the beginning of the group until its most recent configuration.

44. Deadshot – 378 points (4 first place votes)

Deadshot has to be the only character in comics to have become awesome just because of his cool-looking costume. Deadshot was a really lame 1950s Batman villain who Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers revived during their awesome Detective Comics run. During his revival, Rogers designed Deadshot a sweet-looking costume. Years later, when John Ostrander was picking members of the new Suicide Squad comic book, Deadshot made it based on his costume alone. Roughly five years later, Deadshot left the Suicide Squad as one of DC’s coolest characters. Ostrander did such a great job with the character that he even got a spin-off series. Since Suicide Squad was never a top-selling comic book, the fact that it got a spin-off mini-series says a lot about the awesomeness of Deadshot. After the Squad ended, Deadshot was used sparingly for over a decade. In 2005, though, he had a sudden resurgence. First, Christos Gage wrote a cool mini-series starring Deadshot (that sadly introduced a new costume that was thankfully shortlived – why mess with success?) and that was almost directly followed by Gail Simone’s Villains United, which introduced the Secret Six. Since then, Deadshot has been treated quite well by Simone. That’s roughly a decade of really good comics starring Deadshot. Not bad for a character who was only saved from limbo because of his cool costume!

43. Supergirl – 381 points (7 first place votes)

How annoying must it have been for Supergirl when her cousin Superman first allowed her to be seen by the public? You see, when Supergirl first showed up on Earth, Superman said that she had to be hidden, for some vague reasons that did not make much sense. Then eventually he decided she could be publicly seen – and she was TOTALLY accepted and loved by the public. She must have thought, “THIS was what you were afraid of?” Anyhow, that version of Supergirl died in Crisis on Infinite Earths (and was then erased from continuity). Nearly two decades later, a new version of Supergirl showed up and after some growing pains, she has become a valued member of the superhero community. Now she is going to be re-made once again for the new 52. Hopefully all things go well!!

42. Question (Vic Sage) – 382 points (6 first place votes)

The Question is really an example of three very different characters that are all the same character.

Steve Ditko created the character for Charlton Comics. Vic Sage was a reporter who, while doing an investigation, discovered a method of creating artificial skin. Sage used a model to make it appear as though his face was blank. As the Question, he became a force for good in Hub City. Ditko, a believer in Objectivism, used the Question to espouse those beliefs. The title was quite a philosophical one.

When the character then came to DC Comics, writer Denny O’Neil took a shine to the character, and wrote a notable series (with Denys Cowan artwork) where Sage took a more Zen approach to life.

On the popular Justice League Unlimited series, the Question was a conspiracy theorist.

Recently, Sage was used more as a mentor to other heroes. He helped the Huntress and later he helped Renee Montoya, ultimately choosing her to be his successor once he discovered that he was dying. Upon his death, she took over as the new Question, carrying on the legacy of her mentor.

41. Jesse Custer – 393 points (7 first place votes)

Jesse Custer (created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon) was a small town Reverand who was possessed by “the word of God,” the ability to tell people to do something (anything) and they would do it. He gained this by being basically possessed by a forbidden offspring of an angel and a demon.

Jesse goes off on a travel to find God, and make God answer for his actions. Along the way, Jesse is paired with Cassidy, an Irish vampire and Tulip, Jesse’s former girlfriend who has now become an assassin.

Jesse is a big Western fan, carrying on conversations with John Wayne the way Clarence in True Romance talked to Elvis Presley.

Jesse’s family upbringing was quite psychotic, so it is quite an impressive accomplishment that he turned out so honorable.

Come back tomorrow for Marvel’s #45-41!!

25 Comments

Deadshot! Yay! Villanious moustache wins again!

The Crazed Spruce

September 4, 2011 at 3:41 am

Wow, only the third post, and already I’ve cracked my Top 10. Must be a new record….

Jay Garrick finished just outside of my Top 25. I made a point of only including one Flash, and it wasn’t him. (I liked him just a little bit better than Barry, though….)

Deadshot also finished just short of my list. Loved the character in Suicide Squad, but there were at least 25 other characters I liked just a bit more.

The Peter David “earth-born angel” version of Supergirl wound up at #18 on my list. (Hey, Brian, any chance we can get a breakdown on which version of the character people voted for?)

Outside of 52, I haven’t really read any stories featuring Vic Sage, but I get the feeling I would’ve liked the character. (And he was my favourite from the Justice League cartoon….)

Jesse Custer was #5 on my list. There’s just something about a defrocked priest with freaky mind-control powers roaming the land looking for God, kickin’ plenty of ass along the way, that kinda appeals to me. I’m weird that way, I s’pose….

I’ll second that notion about The Question being one of the best characters on JLU. I loved Green Arrow too.

Huh. That’s a fairly major drop for the Question from the last poll. Interestingly, he got a similar amount of points last time (395/4 first place votes), but the increase in the number of votes dropped him from 13 to 42. Being dead hasn’t helped, but I suspect that means he’s got a core group that will vote him no matter what, and then limited casual support.

There’s also a general Vertigo character drop in popularity (for arguably the same reasons and the Vic Sage drop). I wonder if we’ll see the Watchmen characters have lower ratings as well.

Nice to seen the Maiden of Steel make the cut. I just hope the new 52 Supergirl can charm even more fans. (Also, DC, please do a Batgirl/Supergirl comic; it would be awesome!

It’s very strange that I notice this, because I almost never notice oddities in posing or anatomy until somebody points then out to me, but…WHAT is going on with Supergirl’s right leg on that cover of #60? She’s either got an extra joint in there, or it’s a fake leg attached to the end of her skirt; I can’t figure it out.

How can Deadshot have 4 fp votes? hehe….

Thought Supergirl would be top 25.

Jay Garrick in the top 50? My mind is blown. I guess the obvious affection all the writers have for the character has imprinted on the readers. So we’re going to end up with three Flashes in the Top 50? Maybe four? Mind. Blown.

Big drop for Vic Sage from the last poll. I guess because JLU is not on the air anymore. And because he’s dead. DC had two great characters in Sage and Montoya, and a great concept in The Question. They traded two for one. That’s just so stooooopid!

I honestly have no idea who Supergirl is.

I had Herr Starr in my list. I guess with Jesse’s appearance, Starr’s not gonna top him. Oh well.

My list this year was very Vertigo-heavy compared to four years ago. Spider’s shown up, but it’ll be interesting to see who else does (some likely, others less so). My DC list this year was way less nostalgia-driven, so Batman got turfed out of my #1 spot (but I suspect he’ll show up nonetheless).

So we’re going to end up with three Flashes in the Top 50?

Last poll had four Flashes in the top 50 as well. This time will probably have three exactly; Bart Allen seems like a character who would have dropped in popularity since the last poll. (Wally will drop some as well, but there’s no way he’s dropping to worse than sixth, and likely he’ll be third or fourth.)

Half of the characters on the list so far don’t even appear in comics anymore. Interesting.

Hey, another one from my list! Nice to see Vic made the cut. I’m mostly a fan of him from the Denny O’Neill years, but really I like every version of him (even if I found him kind of annoying in 52).

I enjoy all these characters, even if Jesse is my least favorite character from Preacher (not that I don’t like him, just not as much as Cassidy, Tulip, Herr Starr, the Saint of Killers, etc.). As much guff as she gets for various writers not knowing what to do with her, I always really liked pre-Crisis Kara.

Wow. This is an eclectic group. Fifty-five years separated the creation of Jay Garrick from the creation of Jesse Custer. The five characters come from four different imprints (DC, Vertigo, Charlton and All-American Comics). The takeaway, I suppose, is that DC characters are bit less wholesome than their popular image would suggest. This group features two straight superheroes, a couple characters that are more antiheroic and a straight sociopath.

45. Flash (Jay Garrick): It strikes me as being noteworthy that Jay placed this well without getting a single first place vote. To me, that suggests a beloved supporting character. Jay in the elder statesman role is certainly the way I am most familiar with him. It should be interesting to see how James Robinson handles him in the new JSA series.

44. Deadshot: There is an informal debate between what I think of as the Wolfman school (i.e. – continuity makes the best writers serve the worst) and the Simone school (i.e. superhero comics are like improv, you roll with what you are given). Deadshot is example #1 of the virtues of the Simone school (or #2 after Oracle).

43. Supergirl: The Silver Age Supergirl was such an interesting character. She was the primary female survivor of an advanced alien race. She was one of the few surviving Kryptonians who had living memory of that culture. Yet, she chose to become (essentially) a cheerleader upon her arrival in the United States. It is one of those contexts that I would love to see re-visited from a modern perspective. Instead, she has been shoved into various ill-fitting boxes that were designed for other characters.

42. The Question (Vic Sage): Talk about a character with a rich and very weird history. The progression from Ditko’s objectivist to Moore’s satire of the American Right-Wing to O’Neil’s Zen seeker to Dini/Timm conspiracy theorist was kind of awesome. Of course, they killed the guy off.

41. Jesse Custer: PREACHER is something that I am still waiting to read.

kind of though super girl and the question would rank higher. though was hoping dead shot would rank on the list. but a little higher

ok I finally got one of mine ticked off with Deadshot….I had him at #7 I think….

Flash[Jay Garrick] Hmmmm didn’t see that coming
Deadshot Very cool character however he didn’t make my list
Supergirl Whould have voted for her but I already had one member of the Superman family[Superman himself]so it seemed kind of unfair to have her
Vic Sage The beeter Question has won
Jeese Custer Wait a minute he is above Death really I mean I like him and all but really

Yay! Deadshot was my #9. Like Spider, I couldn’t bring myself to lump in Jesse with the DCU characters. It just doesn’t seem fair to put creator owned Vertigo characters in the list because they don’t have the same challenge as the others of being cool from the pens of many writers. If I hadn’t self-imposed that extra rule then at least half my list would be most of the cast of Preacher and Transmetrapolitan.
@dhole: I wouldn’t count Starr out yet. I don’t think buttler is alone in finding Jesse, while awesome, not as incredibly compelling as his supporting cast, especially Herr Starr. His descent into such utter madness as he loses more of his body is just so fun to watch.

I still can’t understand the argument that Linda Danvers (#2 on my ballot) and Kara Zor-El (nowhere near my ballot) are the same character.

They weren’t.

I counted votes for Peter David’s Supergirl separately.

Looking at these polls, my mind is blown be the fact that Marvel manage to outsell DC.

Great crowd. Jesse, Jay and Vic were all on my shortlist.

The Crazed Spruce

September 5, 2011 at 5:40 am

I counted votes for Peter David’s Supergirl separately.

In that case, I need to revise my comments.

I have a fondness for the pre-crisis Kara Zor-El. Especially the later, soap-opera-star-turned-college-student version. (I read a lot of DC comics, especially Superman, as a kid back in the late 70′s-early 80′s, and I’m still pretty fond of that era.) I’ve read a bit of the new version (well, new as of last week, anyway), and sure, I liked some of the stories, but I though the Peter David version was a much more complex character.

Just happy to see Vic Sage here.

Yea Jay Garrick!!! Can’t remember where I placed him on my list. It seems like so long ago. The reason I like the character has nothing to do with the way he’s been kept around in the newer Flash stories. I’ve always preferred many of the Golden Age versions. Plus All-Star Squadron didn’t hurt either.

Hoping the new JSA comic kicks butt!

Great to see Vic make the list, he was one I voted for.

I like Jesse Custer too but I can’t help thinking the list should have been restricted to characters actually owned by both DC and Marvel (assuming that applies to Jesse) to make it more precise, but whatever, its still cool.

Ronald Jay Kearschner

September 8, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Loved the Peter David Gary Frank Supergirl series.

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