After over 1,000 ballots were cast, YOU the reader ranked your favorite DC and Marvel 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 for the rest of November and into December. The countdown continues now…

I used to do sort of “biographies” for each of the characters on the list, but you know what, they’re on the Top 100 DC and Marvel characters list, so I think we should be working under the assumption that you all pretty much know the basic information about these characters. Instead, I’ll just write about whatever interests me about the character in question, including a notable comic book moment featuring the character.


Top Marvel Characters 25-21

We continue our countdown of YOUR picks for the 50 greatest Marvel Comics characters of all-time with 25-21!

20. Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) – 682 points (14 first place votes)

Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel, was created by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan. She was a supporting character in the original Kree Captain Marvel’s comic for quite awhile, until Carol was exposed to a Kree device that basically made her like the Kree, so she was, essentially, a female version of Captain Marvel. She took the name Ms. Marvel (later, it turned out that she was half-Kree herself, without knowing it).

Carol soon got her own series (soon, as in, right away), which lasted for a couple of years. Towards the end of her series, she joined the Avengers. However, in a controversial story, Carol was brainwashed by some time-traveling guy to fall in love with him so that she could give birth to him (as he did not have a body on our Earth). The two then left together all happy.

Chris Claremont, the writer of the Ms. Marvel series, took issue with this, and in an Avengers Annual, brought Carol back and pointed out how angry she was at the Avengers for taking her situation as genuine. In the same story, Carol was stripped of her powers and her personality, really, by the mutant Rogue.

Eventually, in the pages of Uncanny X-Men (who Carol had been recuperating with), she gained NEW cosmic powers and a new name, Binary. She stayed in outer space for some time, but returned to Earth, mostly stripped of her Binary powers, but re-joined the Avengers as Warbird.

She later joined the New Avengers as Ms. Marvel. She got another ongoing series (this one lasted a lot longer than her first one in the 1970s) and then eventually got another ongoing. This time she finally took over the Captain Marvel mantle…

Since becoming Captain Marvel, Carol has gained larger prominence within the Marvel Universe. During Civil War II, where the first crossover was Iron Man vs. Captain America, this time it was Iron Man vs. Captain Marvel. She has become one of Marvel’s biggest heroes. She also recently starred in a blockbuster film adaptation.

Currently, she is the leader of the Avengers.

19. Rogue – 734 points (19 first place votes)

Created by Chris Claremont (and Dave Cockrum, I believe), Rogue’s powers developed when she was a young teen and she kissed a boy and her power to absorb people’s powers and memories manifested horribly. Scarred by this, Rogue was taken in by her foster mother, the mutant terrorist, Mystique.

She ultimately made Rogue a member of her group, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and set Rogue after Ms. Marvel, where Rogue absorbed Ms. Marvel’s memories AND powers, making Rogue very powerful, but now fighting for control of her own mind.

She was forced to turn to the X-Men for help, and Professor X agreed to help her.

She joined the X-Men and soon proved herself…

She has been a stalwart member of the X-Men ever since, even leading a team at one point! For a while after the Avengers vs. X-Men war, she served with the Uncanny Avengers, the joint X-Men/Avengers team. She then returned to the X-Men where she ultimately married her longtime love interest, Gambit.


Top DC Characters 25-21

We continue our countdown of YOUR picks for the 50 greatest DC Comics characters of all-time with 25-21!

18. Doctor Strange – 753 points (12 first place votes)

Created by Steve Ditko, Stephen Strange was a gifted surgeon whose partying lifestyle came to a crashing halt when he was in an accident, leaving his hands too nerve-shattered to perform surgery anymore.

Searching for a cure, Strange event traveled to a mystic, the Ancient One, Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme. This is one of the all-time great comic book origins, as we see a man climb up from the gutter to become a great hero…

And then you have Mordo use magic to keep Strange from warning the Ancient One, forcing Strange to make a heroic choice…

So Doctor Strange became a master of the mystic arts and eventually even took over for the Ancient One as the Sorcerer Supreme! He has more or less held that mantle continuously for the past fifty years, protecting Earth from all manner of mystical attacks. He has also managed to find the time to join a few superhero teams, most notably the Defenders and a fairly long run as a New Avenger (he allowed them to use his home when they were on the run from the government).

At one point, he actually died, and his wife, Clea, took over as the Sorcerer Supreme, but now Strange is back alive and is once again Marvel’s preeminent sorcerer.

17. Nightcrawler – 792 points (21 first place votes)

Created by Dave Cockrum and Len Wein (Cockrum had originally designed the character to be part of a proposed Legion of Super-Heroes spin-off team that was going to be called the Outsiders before he left DC and brought the character with him to DC), Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner) was an interesting mutant. You see, he was one of the rare mutants where mopiness did not come second nature to him. Now, don’t get me wrong, he certainly had his mopey periods, but they often tended to be sort of out of nowhere stretches of time, almost as if they were invented problems that he didn’t really have (for instance, there was a stretch around Uncanny X-Men #200 where Kurt suddenly doubted his competence – it was like, dude, you’re on a team with Rogue and Colossus, your competence should be the last thing on your mind) and then he went back to normal.

And his normal self was a happy-go-lucky mutant who was cool with the fact that he looked like a demon. Now, it certainly helped that he was raised by circus folk who treated him like he was normal. It also helped that he was having sex with his foster sister. So he grew up with a ton of self-confidence that comes from being a famed circus performer (which always made the bouts of self-doubt fall flat to me). And that was a neat contrast to the depressing antics of “The love of my life is dead” and “All my family members die” and “Professor Xavier is a jerk.”

Nightcrawler’s powers were also fun – teleportation in a flash of brimstone is a neat visual (although before Dave Cockrum left the title he was starting to give Nightcrawler some odd powers – what the heck was up with “blending into shadows”?!? Where did that come from?).

Another interesting aspect of Nightcrawler’s personality was that he was one of the few religious heroes. Of course, this being comic books, where things tend to go from one extreme to another, Kurt couldn’t just be “religious,” he had to be a freakin’ PRIEST, which was ridiculous. Then again, if you think him being a priest was ridiculous, what do you say about a storyline where he would be maneuvered into becoming the Pope of the Catholic Church, only to reveal that he was a mutant to…uhmm…I forget…cause the Rapture, maybe? Man, how crazy is it that that run of Uncanny X-Men is still canon.

After being injured in the Mutant Massacre, Nightcrawler and Kitty Pryde were led to believe that the X-Men were dead. So they formed a new team in England called Excalibur. Now, you would THINK that such a team would only last as long as them learning that the X-Men were alive, but noooo….instead, they stuck around even when it was pretty clear that Excalibur was about as effective of a concept as the X-Terminators. Still, Kurt grew as a character during this period, as he became more of a lead character.

When he and Kitty returned to the X-Men (along with Colossus, who had joined Excalibur after his brief “Magneto’s pal, Colossus” period), though, Kurt slid pretty easily back into the team dynamics. He actually led his own team for a while during Joe Casey’s run. Here, Casey has Kurt give a compelling argument to Chamber to join the team…

Kurt eventually sacrificed his life to protect the first new mutant born since Scarlet Witch said “No More Mutants.” Hope turned out to be the reason mutants began to exist on Earth again, so it was probably a good bet by him. Nightcrawler later returned from Heaven itself to rejoin the X-Men.

Recently, during the Krakoan Age of the X-Men, Nightcrawler began to explore the idea of a mutant religion, but in the end, he felt that the X-Men were becoming too cut off from humanity on Krakoa, arguing that “it seems to me that one of the dangers of trying to become a people, is that we forget how to be people.” The villainous organization, Orchis, used mind control to force Nightcrawler into becoming an assassin for them, and currently, Nightcrawler has been going “undercover,” sort of, as another Spider-Man in New York City.

16. Hawkeye (Clint Barton) – 821 points (9 first place votes)

Created by Stan Lee and Don Heck, Hawkeye showed up originally a villain, but Clint Barton was basically an accidental villain, as he was so caught up in his love for the Russian spy, Black Widow, that he was in the dark that she was making him do some pretty bad things.

Luckily, Iron Man, who was Hawkeye’s foe, realized Hawkeye was really a good guy, and that he should use his archery skills for good, so he sponsored Hawkeye as a member of the Avengers.

Hawkeye served the team with distinction for many years (for a time, as the size-changing Goliath), as he went from having an antagonistic relationship with Captain America to a strong friendship with the man. At one point, Hawkeye was even given the opportunity to head up a NEW team of Avengers, on the West Coast of the United States. It was around this time that Hawkeye married the heroine, Bobbi Morse, Mockingbird.

Sadly, after a number of years together with the West Coast Avengers (and a ridiculous breakup where he freaked out that she let the guy who raped her die), Bobbi was murdered by the villain Mephisto. Luckily, she later turned out to be alive (and had been replaced by a Skrull).

Hawkeye had some dark days after that, but he recovered, and returned to his normal self. Sadly, he was then killed during Avengers Disassembled. Luckily, he returned during House of M.

After returning from the dead (where he was killed AND resurrected by his former teammate, the Scarlet Witch), Clint had no interest in taking up the superhero game again, even though Iron Man almost convinced him to become the new Captain America. Instead, Clint joined up with a renegade group of Avengers, and took up the now available identity of Ronin.

Eventually he took back the Hawkeye name, but struck up a partnership of sorts with Kate Bishop, the hero who had taken the Hawkeye name while Clint was dead. Their friendship was the driving force of Matt Fraction, David Aja and Annie Wu’s amazing Hawkeye ongoing series. Here’s a great bit where the two Hawkeyes discuss trick arrows, as Clint organizes his trick arrows and Kate doesn’t seem to give his trick arrows the respect Clint feels that they deserve…

Clint goes off to find some tape to label each of the arrows but he gets sidetracked and instead ends up being chased by a bunch of bad guys (the events that lead to him being chased are quite interesting in and of themselves, and they include a smiling Hawkeye head being used to cover up Clint’s exposed junk) with Kate driving and Clint shooting unlabeled trick arrows at the bad guys…

“Acid arrow,Kate — dammit — acid arrow” “I don’t know what that means!!” is excellent dialogue.

Okay, so after some more trick arrows, Clint ends up in a bad situation…

And then…

Too cool.

In recent years, Hawkeye caused some controversy when he actually killed Bruce Banner during the second Civil War. He was acquitted on murder charges, but he actually struggled with THAT, as well, as he wasn’t sure if that was necessarily the correct decision. Since then, he has fought crime with a few different Avengers team, including a new West Coast Avengers team along with Kate Bishop.

 We continue our countdown of YOUR picks for the 50 greatest Marvel Comics characters of all-time with 20-16!  Read More