Caliber Winfield: I love the Punisher for a lot of reasons, but the main one is as basic as the man himself: he kills those who deserve it. Its my belief that if you do harm to an innocent, you do not deserve to live. There should be no trial. There should be no years in jail. It should be over for you in an instant. It’s not like that in real life, for a variety of reasons. However, in the Punisher comics I get to revel in the fact that the pedophiles, the abusive husbands, the rapists, the human traffickers, they all get what they’ve got coming to them, and what they get is punishment. Besides that, Frank has a pretty dry sense of humor that I’ve always enjoyed, and his character displays just how fine tuned a person can be when it has a purpose. Along with his standard round of fodder, he’s defeated everyone from Daredevil, to Spider-Man, to The Incredible Hulk. Because as a friend of his once said “he’s the most dangerous man that has ever walked this Earth”, and he just so happens to be a fictional hero of mine.
As a side note, I’d also like to state that the Punisher I hold near & dear to my heart is the one featured in the Marvel Knights MAX series. That’s the true Punisher. In the real world, doing real things. Plus, nobody says “motherlovin!” anymore, which is awesome.
Ruby Le Rouge: In comics I am a fan of the Anti-Hero, flawed, fighting and far from the golden boys of the standard super hero genre. My favorite anti-hero is and always likely will be Spider Jerusalem. Spider is a foul mouthed, drug addled, stark, raving, sometimes nekkid Reporter and self declared nihilist, that just can’t help but care about humanity (even if he’d never admit it), even when humanity is just too blind to care about itself. He sounds the sirens to wake people up, and hold a mirror up to those that can’t see what’s in front of them. The story has a truth that is lacking in a lot of comic book story arcs, life is full of shades of gray, and few easy answers. The bad guys don’t wear cloaks, canes and pencil thin mustaches. Real bad guys are often a lot harder to spot. Spouting promises of salvation for believing in false gods and grinning politicians to the weak willed and broken hearted, all looking to be saved. Spider doesn’t always tell you what you want to hear, but he tells you what you need to hear.
Transmet isn’t for everyone. If you like to live in a world of the numb comfortable misery that many accept as inevitable, because it’s easier than doing something, anything to change it, then take the blue pill and don’t read Transmetropolitan, but I like stories that reflect reality and it’s complexity.
I read a lot of comics, and Transmet is my favorite, it’s one of those stories that once it’s done, you feel sad it’s over.
Green Arrow (The Mike Grell Years) 1987-1994
James Cochrane: Although I am have since leaned towards the grittier Batman we know and love, it was Green Arrow- specifically the Mike Grell Green Arrow- that I have the fondest affection for. Abandoning his silly trick arrows, and fortune, Oliver Queen moves to Seattle and opens a flower shop. He was an everyman just trying to make his way. He had sex, he killed people when he had to, and he was in a marriage that worked. While most Super Heroes were still running around calling out goofy quips and wearing tights, Green Arrow seemed real to me. Honest. At that time not even Batman, who would be the closest comparison, was there a more real Hero, to me. Of course, you could argue it was because of Watchmen that real heroes started to become acceptable, but Oliver Queen living in Grunge filled Seattle was, and still is, my favourite Super Hero.
Shawn S. Lealos: Since I was a kid, Spider-Man was my favorite superhero. Sure, he wasn’t as dark as Batman, which was a lot of my friend’s favorite, but Spider-Man had something I liked more. He was a normal guy – a kid like me. I never cared much for his nerdy attitude as Peter Parker, but as he got out of high school and was a young adult, I really started to like him. As a matter of fact, I actually wanted to be a photographer at one point as a kid because of Peter Parker. What I think I liked best was that Spider-Man was never the biggest cat in the fight, and he got his butt kicked a lot, but he was still an underdog who always found a way to win – or at least survive. Plus, I love someone who talks smack while fighting someone who should realistically be able to wipe the floor with them. His mouth mixed with his “normalcy” is what makes him my favorite.
Derek Ciapala: It has been and always will be Superman. I know, I know. Some people find him a bit lame and boring, but there is something about this character that makes you feel hopeful about the future, even when everything is bleak. He represents the strength and the integrity that we would hope all of our leaders would have. That’s what separates Superman from the rest.
Derek Johns: I know more and more people are choosing Batman these days but Superman has been my favorite superhero as long as I can remember. To me he’s greatest superhero not because of all the powers he has (though admittedly it doesn’t hurt) but what he represents. Batman uses his identity to inspire fear in criminals. Superman on the other hand uses his identity to inspire hope to the public at large. Despite some recent and questionable character revisions, as far as I’m concerned Superman will always be the gold standard of what a superhero should be.
Caleb Masters: This is probably one of the toughest staff picks so far! I’ve got a lot of love for a lot of superheroes for so many different reasons….picking my favorite is almost like choosing a favorite child. At my core though, I’ve got to go with Superman.
Superman isn’t may not be the most exciting, the coolest, the funniest, or the most complex, but I think that he represents something that is essential to understanding why we have superheroes in the first place. He represents the idea that we can all be something better and something greater than where we come from no matter the circumstances. His black and white boy scout ethics can be frustrating and have proven very interesting when teamed with pragmatists like Batman, but I believe that this grounded morality is what gives Superman strength to inspire the hope and aspiration we need to make the world a better place. I find the philosophical battle of mankind superiority vs metahumans between Lex Luthor and Superman to be one of the most exciting and fascinating in all of comic books. After the show Smallville their already iconic rivalry was cemented in my mind as the definitive battle of good verses evil in modern mythology.
Jesse Blume: I’ve been a fan of The Dark Knight since I was at least three years old, and enjoyed Spider-Man since I was six. I’m sure that I’ve said one of them at one time or another. At others I would have said Wolverine, Daredevil, and Captain America. All that being said, over the past few years I have learned more about myself and wondered about the kind of hero that I myself would like to be, and I believe that our favorites can hold important answers. He was the first, and he’s still the very best that we have to offer, even seventy-five years later. SUPERMAN. Where others see “a “boring story of an overpowered, impossibly perfect demigod whose only weakness is a rock,” I see a continuation of one of the oldest heroic archetypes, and a paragon of all our greatest virtues. Superman can indeed be as powerful as a lesser god, but it’s what he does with his power that fascinates and inspires me. Several great writers have pointed out that if he wanted to, he could singlehandedly seize control of our planet, and it would be immensely difficult, nigh-impossible even, to stop him. He could allow his power to corrupt him and abuse it by taking advantage of us weaker beings. He could do it…….but he won’t. He eschews godhood and worship, and chooses to live a mortal life among us, his adopted people. He uses his gifts only to help serve and protect his fellow man in both his identities. Superman is the invulnerable defender of Metropolis, capable of thwarting evil armies and fiends from beyond the stars. Clark Kent, meanwhile, is the tireless investigative journalist, chronicling and exposing the social injustices and urban decay that his fellow citizens choose not to see or pursue. In either guise, there is no greater man to have on your side. Loyal, brave, noble, honest, and above all selfless, he is the hero we’ll always need, regardless of the cheap and petty fashions of the time. This is a SUPERMAN! When comes such an
He lacks the brains and gadgets of Batman or Iron Man, the tormented macho appeal of Wolverine, the comedic fanfare of Deadpool or the Flash, and the even the absolute power of Dr. Manhattan, but Superman is a figure that comic books and superheros need which is why he’s my pick for favorite superhero.
Tamica Phipps: I’m all for Superman. The fantasy of having super powers beyond our known capability always attracted me. And who wouldn’t want to be able to fly.
LJAY: I know a lot of people have have faults with the last installment of the movie franchise but how can you dislike Tony Stark. He’s a billionaire, has cool cars and toys and has created the greatest suit in the world. On top of that Iron Man has launched Marvel’s “we’re doing it our way from now on” movies. If IM1 would have failed there would be no Avengers and no Agents of SHIELD show. Thanks to Iron Man, Marvel is looked upon as comic book kings. Without Stark, DC would hold that title while only putting out a rehashed Batman franchise and having the CW do there bidding. The next feat for Tony Stark is to see if he can make the jump from Robert Downey Jr to becoming a transcendent character of his own. Kevin Feige said that he could see Stark being a James Bond like character, having an IM movie every 3 or so years and having other actors take on Stark.
This is the way to go Stark has so many directions that none of them can be considered wrong.
Iron Man is the reason we are all here. The MCU didn’t depend on Hulk. Could the Avengers be built on Thor’s back alone? Not a chance, even thought Captain America is the First Avenger, we would not be hanging to the edge of out seat for Marvel’s next move without Iron Man.
Mike Luxemburg: I gotta go with Swamp Thing. Alan Moore’s run with the character changed comics forever. Instead of a physical thing to aspire too, everything heroic about Swamp Thing is on the inside. He looks like a monster and is treated like one too, but through all of that he is able to come out with his ethics and identity intact. It is the world around him that forces him to behave like a monster in those rare moments that he does. A lot of superheroes talk about courage or internal strength, but no hero shows that like Swamp Thing. (Honorable Mention: John Constantine. He’s my hero 100%, but I dunno if he’s necessarily super in a conventional sense.)
Bethany Lewis: I’m going to go with Batman. Not only does he come with a mire of dark storylines that challenge conventional morality, but he is wickedly smart and delightfully cynical. I probably enjoy Kevin Conroy’s animated Batman most of all, because he also comes with a bone dry sense of humor and a frightening pragmatism. I love when it’s revealed in an episode of the Justice League that Batman has prepared dossiers and contingent plans against every member of the Justice League, including himself. His reasoning is that it would be irresponsible not to have a way to stop a team of super-beings. A big plus for me is the complex relationship between Batman and the Joker. They are obviously adversaries, but the obsession they have for each other and the sneaking admiration and respect between them is both compelling and chilling.
Eric Norcross: CASEY JONES from the TMNT series. Crazy cool cat!