A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Greatest Super Heroes

Quite a bit of feedback on this, which is nice. Felt a need to respond to a few of the responses. First, I weighted my list based on both heroes I liked, heroes that have made a lasting impact on popular culture and society, and the variety and number of films/shows/books/comics/etc. they've appeared in. Longevity and quality were also important aspects.

The first criteria was the most important, since it was my list, but Harry Potter makes it in, for example, because I enjoy the books, the movies are decent, and the impact young Harry has had on society are considerable. For proof of that, check out this and this. Five of the six (soon to be six of the seven) top selling books of all time belong to the Hogwarts' crew, and 15th, 27th and 34th on the all-time top grossing films list. And, unlike Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings, he is also clearly the hero of the works. I'd take Gandalf, Aragon, or Frodo over Harry too, Troy, but that's part of the trouble-- LOTR is an ensemble piece, as is Star Wars. Plus, there are goofballs out there wanting to ban Harry books, which makes him a hero of sorts to me as well.

I also did not include actors who have played tons of heroes. John Wayne and Clint Eastwood are the prototypes here. Though, for some reason, Dirty Harry never occured to me. Josey Wales did, and that movie is still one of the best westerns ever, but it was only one movie. But I realize I have no cops, firemen or soldiers on the list. No "real life" heroes, no matter how fictionalized. Doh! Dirty Harry should be on the list. John McClain is a borderline choice, and I haven't watched 24, so I can't really comment on where I think Jack Bauer fits. Steve Austin has insufficient longevity/impact to make the top 20.

Hercules also probably should be on the list, and John's inclusion of Sampson was intriguing. Not sure Sampson has enough street cred to qualify. Thor causes me difficulty as he is, technically speaking, a god. Hercules is a demi-god for that matter, but grows up as a human. Thor is also automatically disqualified for having been coopted by the namby-pampy Minnesota Vikings and their namby-pampy indoor stadium. So, Hercules in, Sampson and Thor out.

I found it tremendously ironic and amusing that Rod should rip on John's typo "jawbone of an axe." The old kettle and pot thingie.

Yes Troy, I realize I disallowed Austin Powers for being a parody while allowing The Tick, but primarily for the reason that The Tick truly does rock. He also crosses many more media formats than Austin Powers, having been a comic, a cartoon, and a live action TV series.

Finally, my revised post-Memorial Day top 25 (my list, I can make it longer) super heroes of all time:

25) Sinbad
24) Buck Rogers
23) John McClain
22) Sampson
21) G.I. Joe
20) The Tick
19) King Arthur
18) Harry Potter
17) Dirty Harry
16) Indiana Jones
15) Conan
14) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
13) Flash Gordon
12) The Lone Ranger
11) Wonder Woman
10) Robin Hood
9) Hercules
8) The Hulk
7) Tarzan
6) Fantastic Four
5) James Bond
4) X-Men
3) Spiderman
2) Superman
1) Batman

Batman is still my #1 based on overall coolness factor. As Jim notes, Superman (or Spidey or any of the X-Men or any of the Fantastic Four or... well, you get the idea) would thrash the Dark Knight in a head-to-head throwdown, but I still prefer the moral questions (vigilanteism, revenge as a motivator, etc.) and huge quantities of grey area explored by Batman over the years, along with the cool toys.

One other factor to consider, and another reason I tend to like Batman, is the quality of the bad guys the hero faces off against. Indeed, I think that shall be Friday's best of list-- so start your thinking now about the best evil villains of all-time.
Isn't irony great?!?!?! I love it. My typos are mere attempt to seperate myself from the language of the white oppressors!!!!! John McClain..boarderline????
haven't watched 24??? Jack Bauer is the hero of Modern times who would beat the snot out of James Bond any day, you need to watch 24. Wonder Woman over Thelma..Thelma has to solve the mystery, AND save Scoobey and Shaggy every episode..and i can see the outline of Wonder Woman's "invisible" plane...easy. Despite it being only one movie..the Man In Black is easily the best non-animated hero of all time Plus he is both a movie hero and a literary hero despite not actually being in any books. one Movie should not be a disqualification... greatness and longevity are two different things... And Space Ghost.. If Tick makes it on coolness then Space Ghost has to be a lock and the TAMNT's have to be disqualified for lack of coolness.

OK rediculous banter ended

I Rock

ps..you will be seeing Thor in the Endzone catching Viking recievers as they jump into the stands repeatedly while Packer db's stand by helplessly like terrorists being tracked down by Jack Bauer.

oops..rediculous banter ends...now
The problem with this particular discussion is semantics: what is a super hero? To me, a superhero is a dude or dudette in a tight-fitting costume with powers and abilities no ordinary person could ever have.

This list under discussion seems to be just ‘whatever’ in the hero department: no standards are given, so the most whimsical ‘heroes’, (the Tick) to the most popular (Superman) to the mythological, to the living flesh and blood (John “Maverick” McCain).

That’s just too broad. To have a good (and heck, fun) discussion of this sort, some generalizations should be imposed.

And we left off a great contender for toughest flesh and blood hero: Lance Armstrong! Sure, his judgment must be questioned in his personal life, leaving a perfectly good woman for Sheryl Crow is the act of a doofus (using White Compressors’ favorite word: rediculous!). But man, the dude is nothing short of pure amazing, and to do it in the face of the frogs makes it all the better.

So let’s get those terms straight now, before we begin the villain discussion. Nick, what do you mean by villain? Real or imaginary? Long johns or no long johns?
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