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Added by Dark Smile on 7 Jan 2013 01:59
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Most popular comic book characters

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Fantastic Four #1 (v1) - Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
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Rick Grimes
First Appearance: The Walking Dead #1 (Oct. 2003)Ever think that Rick, The Walking Dead's "hero", tells himself he would have been better off staying in that coma instead of waking up to the zombocalypse?

Robert Kirkman seemingly has an endless supply of ringers to run Rick through; he's lost his hand, his mind, and most vividly, his wife and infant baby – the latter two shotgun'd right in front of his eyes. As the body count rises, so do the chances of Rick losing more pieces of his soul. It's a game of inches as nothing (yet) can detour Rick's plan for survival. You know what they say about the fittest…
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Punisher
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #129 (Feb. 1974)Superheroes don't kill. The Punisher is no superhero. Frank Castle has spent years exacting vengeance for the deaths of his family by punishing criminals everywhere. His skull insignia inspires fear throughout the underworld. But Punisher's appeal rests on more than his ability to do what the rest of Marvel's heroes won't. He's a tragic figure – even a profoundly selfish one in some ways.

The sad truth is that Frank Castle can't survive without killing, and his new job fulfills him in ways his family never could.
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Swamp Thing
First Appearance: Swamp Thing #1 (Nov. 1972)This list is dropping at the perfect time for Swamp Thing. The character just returned to the DCU proper in the pages of Brightest Day as the “Dark Avatar.” Now we know what you’re thinking... “that doesn’t sound very heroic.” Well, you’re right, but the thing about Swamp Thing is that his backstory is a little more complicated than him just being a muck monster. In the simplest of terms, Swamp Thing is an elemental entity that thinks it’s a person. Essentially, the swamp absorbed the memories and personality of Alec Holland (as well as many other individuals throughout history) and parades around as if it is truly those people. Clearly it isn’t smart enough to notice the green vegetation and awful smell emanating from itself.

Now this is where we bring this back around to Swamp Thing actually being a hero, of sorts. See, while Swamp Thing is considered the “Dark Avatar” right now, Alec Holland has also returned in Brightest Day as Earth’s “ultimate savior.” It seems the Swamp Thing entity is about to be taught a hard lesson about imitation. But since Swamp Thing thinks it’s Alec Holland, who is considered Earth’s savior, we’re going to use deductive reasoning and say that Swamp Thing is an overall good guy. Hell, he is a very green-thinking individual, protecting not only his swampy home but the environment in general. We all know that “green” is a big buzz word right now. That makes Swamp Thing more relevant than ever!
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John Constantine
First Appearance: The Saga of Swamp Thing #37 (June 1985)
John Constantine is pretty low on the totem pole as far as DC's magical players go. But through a combination of guile, trickery, and plain old ornery charm, Constantine battles the worst Hell has to offer and lives to tell the tale.

Constantine is a byproduct of both the punk rock era and Margaret Thatcher's England. He isn't very nice, he drinks and smokes like they're both going out of style, and his friends always seem to pay for his own magical misdeeds. And yet we can't help but love this crusty old magician all the same.
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Green Arrowp
First Appearance: More Fun Comics #73 (Nov. 1941)For being an amalgam of Robin Hood and Bruce Wayne, Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) has made quite the name for himself in the DCU. Maybe it’s his vocal political views and obsession with trick arrows that has differentiated Oliver Queen from the rest of the pack. Or maybe it’s the fact that he nabbed Black Canary; that’s got to be worth something around the superhero water cooler. Queen’s controversial views don’t end at politics. Queen has expressed on multiple occasions that his colleagues cut supervillains too much slack; that these sickos should be punished harshly, even suggesting death.

But maybe Green Arrow’s greatest contribution to this pool of heroes is that he represents a character that is truly socially conscious, stemming from a series in the 1970s where Queen teamed up with Green Lantern to teach readers the dangers of drug abuse, racism, pollution, corruption, and more. For a character deeply rooted in a capes and tights universe where the solution to everything is to punch it in the face, that’s pretty noteworthy.
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The New Mutants #98 - Fabian Nicieza, Rob Liefeld
Deadpool
First Appearance: The New Mutants #98 (Feb. 1991)
It's hard not to love a comic book character who realizes he's a comic book character. Deadpool's addled, pop culture-saturated brain and fourth wall-breaking antics will always earn him a legion of followers. But there is depth to this Merc With a Mouth. His humor is a coping mechanism that masks a deeply sad and lonely man. Now, more than ever, Deadpool seeks the validation that comes from being a superhero. His fans are all too happy to follow his quest wherever it takes him.
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Tim Drake (Robin)
First Appearance: Batman #436 (Aug. 1989)
Tim Drake might not be the original Robin, but if you ask a well-educated comic fan, odds are Tim Drake is their favorite version of the character. The reasoning is simple: Tim Drake has made the Robin character more than just an extension of Batman. Tim also separates himself from previous iterations of the Robin identity by being much more proficient with computers and having better deductive reasoning skills. Of all the Robins, Tim is the most like his mentor.

Throughout the years, Drake has been a member and leader of the Teen Titans and Young Justice. He has also recently shed the Robin identity to become the darker, more mature Red Robin. But no matter which costume he wears, Tim Drake is dedicated to the same end: justice. And even if he never goes back to wearing the Robin garb, Tim has proven that he has sustainability outside the shadow of his grumpy boss.
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Nick Fury
First Appearance: Sgt. Fury #1 (May 1963)
No one plays the game of spycraft better than Nick Fury. This grizzled hero has been pulling strings in the Marvel Universe longer than most current heroes have been alive. Fury started his career as a soldier during WWII. He then moved up to become a highly ranked S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and then director of S.H.I.E.L.D. itself.

This ageless veteran now continues his war in a world after S.H.I.E.L.D. The question is whether he'll have anything left worth fighting for by the end.
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Jesse Custer
First Appearance: Preacher #1 (Apr. 1995)
Jesse Custer is a former preacher imbued with a holy voice that can control anyone. And what does he do with that power? Why, seek out God and force him to answer for abandoning his creations, of course. Custer is also a hard-drinking, thieving man with some serious family issues. Despite all that, he's one of the most moral and honorable heroes in all of comics. Custer's quest was a long and difficult one, but readers never stopped rooting for him.
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Judge Dredd
First Appearance: 2000 AD #2 (1977)
He is the law, and you damn well better remember that. Americans may know Dredd mainly from the lackluster Sylvester Stallone film of the '90s, but overseas, the hero is one of the most popular in comics. Dredd's escapades as judge, jury, and executioner in a bleak future have unfolded for years in the pages of 2000 AD. We can only hope the next Dredd film will do a better job of capturing the grim appeal of the source material.
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Spawn
First Appearance: Spawn #1 (May 1992)The face of superhero comics at Image, Spawn was created by writer/artist Todd McFarlane, literally forged from Hell. Albert Simmons was an incredibly gifted soldier in the US Marines who was eventually promoted to the CIA. In the midst of his tenure, Simmons was murdered by his best friend.

In Hell, Simmons made a deal with the Devil, agreeing to become a Hellspawn and serve Malebolgia if he was able to see his wife one last time. But it wasn’t until he learned that his wife had married his best friend and bore his child that Simmons finally pledged himself to Malebolgia and fully embraced his destiny as Spawn, the anti-hero. Throughout the years, Spawn has done more good than evil, locking him down for a spot on this list.
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The Crow
First Appearance: Caliber Presents #1 (1989)
James O’Barr’s The Crow is a gothic masterpiece. The story of a lost soul returned from the dead to avenge the death of his lover is an emotionally potent, horrifying tale that hinges on the appeal of Eric Draven, the titular “Crow” of the original story. Eric is poetic in his justice, striking down the junkies and criminals that brutalized and murdered him and his fiancee.
The Crow is one of the more violent heroes that appear on this list, yet he’s unique in that his violence is justified. The atrocities committed to both he and his fiancee are so vile that we are left with no choice but to commiserate with Eric. The fact that he is so poetic, both literally and figuratively, in his vengeance makes it all the more acceptable to understand the journey that he takes.
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Dr. Strange
First Appearance: Strange Tales #110 (July 1963)
The Marvel Universe is a realm of magic as much as it is of science and technology. No hero is better acquainted with this side of the equation than Doctor Strange. Strange is another of the classic heroes to arise during Marvel's Silver Age. He hasn't always been able to support solo books as readily as Spider-Man or Captain America, but Strange remains one of the vital pillars of Marvel's superhero community. And now as the title of Sorcerer Supreme passes to others, Strange is forced to confront an uncertain future.
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Cyclops
First Appearance: X-Men #1 (Sept. 1963)

Cyclops was the first of Xavier's X-Men, and their field leader from the beginning. Cyclops hasn't always been able to boast a fanbase to rival the likes of Wolverine -- mostly because of his grim, humorless personality.

But as Cyclops has taken charge of the X-Men, the character has undergone a radical transformation. More complicated and identifiable than ever before, Cyclops holds the fate of the mutant race in his hands. Will that responsibility turn him into the next Charles Xavier, or Magneto?
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Marvel Masterworks: Fantastic Four Vol. 1 - Marvel Comics,Jack Kirby,Stan Lee
Reed Richards
First Appearance: Fantastic Four #1 (Nov. 1961)

Mister Fantastic numbers among the very smartest men in the Marvel Universe, and that was true even before cosmic rays granted him amazing powers. This genius scientist leads the Fantastic Four on a never-ending quest of discovery and exploration. Sure, his obsession with science sometimes comes at the detriment of his family life, but a kinder and nobler hero you'll rarely find. Now the character faces new and bold challenges as the next phase of the Fantastic Four unfolds.
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Silver Surfer
First Appearance: Fantastic Four #48 (Mar. 1966)Who wouldn't want to ride a surfboard through the cosmos and witness all the universe has to offer? Silver Surfer has the coolest mode of transportation this side of Ghost Rider, but his powers come with a heavy burden. In order to save his world from the hunger of Galactus, Norrin Radd agreed to become his herald. Now Radd patrols the universe, seeking out new life and new civilizations... to be eaten by his master. It's lonely being the Silver Surfer.
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Storm's ability to manipulate and harness the weather makes her one of the most powerful mutants on Earth. But power like that comes at a great cost. Storm lives every day in a state of carefully maintained composure. Too much stress could be deadly for everyone around her. Fans have seen Storm as a thief, an X-Man, a fighter, and even a queen. Through it all, she remains one of the most relatable mutant heroes
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Martian Manhunter
First Appearance: Detective Comics #225 (Nov. 1955)Take the power set of Superman and combine it with telepathy, telekinesis, invisibility, shape-shifting and an insatiable hunger for Chocos (the DCU equivalent of Oreos) and you’ve got J’onn J’onzz, the Martain Manhunter. J’onn might be one of the most criminally underrated characters in comics. Not only has Superman labeled him the most powerful being in the universe, but J’onn is instrumental in keeping the Justice League organized in battle, acting as the team’s central communication hub through his unique telepathy powers.

While J’onn J’onzz originates from Mars -- mistakenly teleported to Earth during an experiment conducted by Dr. Erdel -- he has turned the third rock from the sun into his home away from home. He’s one of the most sound members of the DCU, and a great person (read: martian) to have by your side in a fight.
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Hawkeye
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #57 (Sept. 1964)It takes a special kind of hero to parade around in blue and purple and battle deadly villains with nothing more than a satchel of arrows. Only a man like Hawkeye could so successfully pull it off. This fun-loving marksman has gone from circus performer to wanted criminal to Avengers member.

He knows better than most the value of redemption and a second chance. And after a temporary death and brief turn to darkness, Hawkeye is once again the fun-loving archer we all know and love.
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Spider Jerusalem
First Appearance: Transmetropolitan #1 (Sept. 1997)If Hunter S. Thompson were transported to a deranged and technology-overloaded future, the result would be Spider Jerusalem. This star of Transmetropolitan keeps gonzo journalism alive with his scathing reports and loud diatribes against the many excesses of future society. Slightly unhinged and addicted to all manner of drugs, Spider Jerusalem isn't quite a role model for the kids. But over the course of the series' long life, readers came to know the true Spider Jerusalem and revel in his ultimate victory. And now the rumors of new Transmetropolitan material have us very excited.

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Human Torch
First Appearance: Fantastic Four #1 (Nov. 1961)If life is hard for a superhero, Johnny Storm rarely showed it. This youngest member of the Fantastic Four routinely basked in the glory of his celebrity status. But he also proved himself a true hero in his many adventures with the FF and sometime friend, sometime rival Spider-Man.

Ultimately, Johnny's challenge was to seek maturity and ask himself what he stood for in life. He did just that when he sacrificed himself to save the rest of his family. A hero couldn't ask for a better death.
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INVISIBLE WOMAN
 
The Fantastic Four are nothing if not a dysfunctional family, and they need someone to hold that family together. That someone tends to be Susan Richards. Arguably the most powerful member of the team thanks to her control over force fields, Sue is also the most grounded. She's pulled her family members' asses out of the fire time and time again. And with the team still reeling from the death of Human Torch, it's going to fall on Sue to hold them together in the coming months and years.
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Kitty Pryde
First Appearance: The Uncanny X-Men #129 (Jan. 1980)X-Men writers have often found it useful to introduce younger teen recruits to offset the experienced members of the team. Kitty Pryde set the standard when she debuted, and none have surpassed her. Fans have watched Kitty grow from young neophyte to skilled X-Man and proven heroine over the years. Kitty made the ultimate sacrifice at the end of Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men, and now her fans have been given the best gift of all – she's back.
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Place him right alongside Michael Corleone and Darth Vader, because Mitchell ““The Great Machine“ Hundred has been nothing but a pleasure to watch fall from grace. As the star of Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris’ WildStorm epic Ex Machina, Hundred was endowed with the ability to talk to machines. He fast became a champion of New York City, saving the second tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11. After retiring his superhero getup, Hundred was elected mayor of New York City, where we got to see him solve numerous political crises while unraveling the mystery behind his powers.

In the end, Hundred and his cast of characters took us on a trip through shades-of-gray ethics, moral ambiguity, and what lengths a man will go to protect his secrets. Hundred spends his days fighting against becoming the man he knows he must become in order to achieve the things he wants to achieve. Often times the greatest heroes are the most flawed; it is in these flaws that we can sympathize with good ol’ Mitch. Hundred, all at once, exemplifies the best and worst in humanity and our eternal struggle to find the balance between the two.
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Showcase #4 - Robert Kanigher
Barry Allen, the once-and-future Flash, is the Silver Age bearer of the power we’ve come to know as the Speed Force. A forensic scientist in his non-Scarlet Speedster life, Barry was given super speed when a lightning bolt struck a bottle of chemicals that then spilled on him. Barry quickly rose to the ranks of the Justice League of America, becoming one of their key members and a good friend to many on the team. Perhaps his shining hero moment came during Crisis on Infinite Earths, when Barry gave himself to the Speed Force in the effort to destroy the Anti-Monitor. His sacrifice was not fruitless, helping to bring an end to the epic conflict. Of the many superhero deaths, Barry’s resonated with fans for over two decades before DC brought him bake in the midst of Final Crisis.

Even in his 20 year absence, Barry’s legacy as the greatest Flash of them all lived on. His ideals were kept in the limelight of the DCU, often referenced by other members of the JLA all the way up to his re-emergence from the Speed Force. Since his return, Barry has once again become the primary Flash of the DCU, all leading paving the road to Flashpoint, the first ever Flash-centric event comic.

First Appearance: Showcase #4 (Oct. 1956)
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There was a time when even Batman and Superman couldn't call themselves the most popular heroes in comics. For a time, that honor belonged to Captain Marvel. Readers latched onto the idea of an ordinary, orphaned boy saying a magic word and becoming the world's mightiest mortal. Even Elvis paid homage to this hero with his stage costume. Times have changed, and allegiances with them, but Captain Marvel will always be an enduring reminder of a simpler time.

First Appearance: Whiz Comics #2 (Feb. 1940)
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Black Panther could be called Marvel's Batman. Not because they have the same silhouette, but because he too is a man of immense resources and a fierce will that pushes him to be the best at what he does.

Panther is a king of men, a brilliant scientist, and a warrior of peerless skill. And yes, his time as an Avenger has made him a superhero too. As readers are consistently reminded, T'Challa is a hero and a force to be reckoned with regardless of his technology and resources.

First Appearance: Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966)
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More Fun Comics #73 - Howard Sherman
Poor Aquaman. He'll forever be the butt of jokes thanks to his fishy powers. Comic readers know better, though. They've come to love Aquaman as a noble (and very powerful) figure who is forever torn between the worlds of land and sea. Recent television appearances have helped repair Aquaman's reputation, and now the hero is soaring to new heights in the comics after his resurrection in Blackest Night.

First Appearance: More Fun Comics #73 (Nov. 1941)
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After Robin, Bucky is easily the most iconic superhero sidekick of the Golden Age. His apparent death at the tail end of WWII also served as a catalyst that drove Captain America forward through much of his later career. But Bucky recently returned to the spotlight when readers learned he wasn't dead at all. This troubled soldier now wields the mantle of his mentor and fights injustice as the new Captain America. Though that shield may be changing hands again, Bucky has long since cemented his place as one of the central players in the Marvel Universe.

First Appearance: Captain America Comics #1 (Mar. 1941)
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ELIJAH SNOW
At first glance, Elijah Snow seems similar to many Warren Ellis creations. He's sarcastic, cranky, and not afraid to kick a little ass in pursuit of the truth. But what sets Snow apart is the simple joy he takes in the act of discovery. This leader of Planetary has seen the weirdest sights the universe has to offer, and still he craves more. Any hero that can freeze Dracula's crotch and shatter it with a kick is deserving of our endless adoration.

First Appearance: Planetary #1 (Apr. 1999)
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JOHN STEWARTOne of the first dominant African-American heroes in the pages of DC Comics, John is notable not only for the green power ring that he wears on his finger, but also his career as a United States marine. Though he started as a backup for Hal Jordan, by the 1980s the Guardians had selected John for full-time duty. Unfortunately, after the death of his wife, Katma Tui, John’s life went into a downward spiral of near-suicide (not the character’s high point) until he picked himself up by his bootstraps and continued on with his life. He continues to be a tremendous asset to the Corps, playing key roles in everything from Green Lantern: Rebirth to Brightest Day. Even after Hal’s return from beyond the grave, John continued to be the Justice League’s Green Lantern member for quite some time.

Notably, John Stewart has gone from semi-obscurity in the mainstream to absolute recognition. His starring role in the acclaimed Justice League cartoons as Earth’s primary Green Lantern has only added to the public’s awareness of diversity in the Green Lantern Corps.
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HAWKMAN
Warning: do not make fun of this man for looking like Prince Adam with a bird fetish. He will bash your face in without question. That’s the best part of Hawkman: his incredibly short fuse. Hawkman is one of the few Justice League members that will spill a lot of blood in the name of what’s right, hero code be damned!

Hawkman’s origin is a little iffy to recount; there are just too many variations on the story. He’s either a man named Carter Hall who is a reincarnated version of an Egyptian Prince, Khufu, that discovered “Nth Metal” allowing him to fly; or he’s Katar Hol, a policeman from the planet Thanagar, made up of similar looking bird-people. Either way, Hawkman’s power set remained largely the same: the ability to fly, toss around a huge mace like it was a stick, show off epic chest hair (that is totally a power), and just go about being a complete and total badass.

First Appearance: Flash Comics #1 (Jan. 1940)
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If you like your heroes on the bizarre side, you won't find anyone more surreal than The Tick. This burly, gaudily-dressed hero is the great defender of “The City.” However, he's not very bright, and may, in fact, be legally insane. Whatever his mental state, The Tick's adventures are thoroughly enjoyable, whether they unfold on the printed page or television.
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Beast is one of the original five X-Men and still one of the most popular. But at this point he's spent almost as much time fighting alongside the Avengers and other Marvel teams. Wherever he hangs his hat, Beast is a witty and highly intelligent addition to any book. But perhaps the true appeal of the character rests in his self-loathing and heartfelt desire to lead a normal life free of bigotry and prejudice. Beast embodies everything about the mutant struggle in the Marvel Universe.
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When Booster Gold first debuted, he was a jerk. This time-hopping hero stole 25th Century tech and tried to make a name for himself in the past as a superhero. Booster quickly learned heroism was about more than gadgets and corporate sponsors. But we love the hero because he's made an honest effort to change and become a better man. The rest of DC's heroic community may keep him at arm's length, but we know the truth. Booster Gold is awesome.
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If the comics medium has its own Lord of the Rings, it would be Jeff Smith's Bone. And since every epic saga needs a Frodo, Fone Bone is the one who fits the bill.

This earnest, courageous resident of Boneville is clearly the hero of the saga in lieu of the scheming Phoney Bone and dimwitted Smiley Bone. His good nature and his unrequited love for his ally Thorn make Fone the heart and soul of this fantastical book.

First Appearance: Thorn: Tales From The Lantern #1 (Sept. 1983)



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BLUE BEETLE

Not every superhero needs to be a master of combat and a born warrior. Brains will get you a long way too. Ted Kord is the most famous hero to don the Blue Beetle mantle, and the one wearing the costume when DC acquired the character rights in the 1980s. His intelligence, his “bwahahha” antics, his endearing partnership with Booster Gold, and his brave sacrifice during the build-up to Infinite Crisis all serve to cement this particular Beetle's legacy.

First Appearance: Captain Atom #83 (Nov. 1966)

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DASHIELL BAD HORSE

Secrets and a pair of nunchucks are all Officer Dashiell Bad Horse has. The hero of Jason Aaron's Scalped, Dash is a film noir protagonist on the road to redemption by way of The Rez, a place stained with sin and rusted with vice. Dash pinballs between his FBI handlers and crime lord Red Crow, as he infiltrates the latter while seeing how much he can trust the former. He's this close to fixing himself right until his mother had to get herself killed.

Saving his soul and solving his mother's death become two things Dash can't live without. Meth and sex and cold-blooded murder get in the way, sure, but Dash keeps his big damn secret and shows us how dark you can go with an anti-hero to still make us root for him. Even if it means more dead bodies to cover up along the way…

First Appearance: Scalped #1 (Mar. 2007)
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BLADE

Marvel has a rich history of monster-themed stories. Blade is the most iconic hero to spring from that period. You know the drill – this vampire hunter has all of his enemy's strengths and none of their weaknesses, and he's dedicated his life to exterminating them. More so than most Marvel heroes, Blade's current popularity was fueled by his Hollywood debut. And though Marvel writers have often struggled to give the hero a unique voice away from the films, Blade has come into his own again through books like Captain Britain and the MI:13.

First Appearance: Tomb of Dracula #10 (July 1973)
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THE ATOM

Of all the superheroes out there, Dr. Ray Palmer might be one of the most brilliant tortured souls imaginable. But as a testament to his desire for justice, Palmer has always managed to bounce back from all the horrors he’s been through -- including the murder of Sue Dibny at the hands of his wife, Jean.

Not only is Palmer one of the brightest minds in the DCU (comparable to Reed Richards of Marvel), he was able to use white dwarf star matter to create a shrinking agent. This agent not only saved his life during a spelunking expedition, but it also inspired Ray to become a superhero. Because, you know, when parts of the body shrink in size you get a major ego boost... or something. At least that’s how Ray Palmer rolls.

First Appearance: Showcase #34 (Oct. 1961)
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Posted: 4 years, 5 months ago at Apr 30 10:17
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