Wednesday, August 8, 2007

My Top 5 Favorite Super-Heroes

In response to a couple super-hero related posts made in the last week or so, Jason (Steel) from the Man of Steel blog asked me who my favorite super-heroes are. So, here are my Top 5 Favorite Super-heroes ... and Why!

#1 - Spider-Man

I loved reading Spider-Man comics growing up. The adventures were exciting, the villains were nefarious, and the message of "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility" spoke to me even at that young age. (I read Spidey comics from the late '70s up until even now ...)

From Spidey's comics I learned that even though some choices are tough, and the easy way is often the wrong way, you still need to do what is right. And you need to do that even when no one is watching, or knows who is doing it. I learned to stand up for myself, and to stand up for those who cannot, even if it means discomfort, being scared, or even risking what others may think of me. It directly influenced me to help teach a Sunday School class for retarded citizens when I was 14 to 16. I wanted to help others who needed it, who couldn't help themselves, despite the teasing and taunts from my so-called peers in church.

I couldn't crawl walls, or sling webs, or punch out bad guys, but I could make the special citizens laugh with my puppets, help them color an Easter picture, patiently listen and try to understand their limited speech and desires, or calmly shrug off a violent outburst now and again.

Of course, my parents, my teachers, and my church all helped teach me these things. But kids don't like to listen to those in authority, or heed their advice ... but a comic book, something on my level ... now that I could emulate. I'd like to think in my recent life, when my sister was murdered and my mother became needful of in-house care, that those lessons were what allowed to unhesitatingly leave my high-paying job and move in to care for my mom and my nephews. Spidey would have ... except he maybe would have socked a villain in the jaw as he did.

Of course, some people would say that what I probably learned most from Spider-Man was how to be a smart-ass with the funny lines! ~.^

#2 - Hulk

Counter-point to Spider-Man was the Hulk. The beast-within mythos appealed to my young psyche. I have always felt a deep, burning rage inside me. A dark anger I dare not let loose. I didn't know its cause. I didn't know its reason. I only knew that were I to let slip the beast within me, I'd never be able to go back.

Bruce Banner exemplified these internal struggles, but he would unleash his inner monster. Destruction, confusion, and chaos reigned as the Hulk rampaged. Only the love of Betty Ross, the friendship of Rick Jones, and the compassion of others he has met along his conflicted journeys would reign in the raging monster. I vicariously romped about with the Hulk, my inner beast satiating itself on these excursions. Yet, I also learned that no matter what I became in life, no matter if I let my inner beast loose, there were people who would still love me, still care about me, still help me.

In my late teens I learned these feelings I was experiencing were from a severe chemical imbalance compounded by bi-polarism. And true to the tales in the pages of the Hulk comics, my family, my good friends, and God stuck by me, supported me, and loved me, even when I was at my worst.

#3 - Batman

Batman is just plain cool. He has no super powers. He's not invulnerable. He can't fly. He's not super strong. But he is smart, he is dedicated, he is passionate. It helps that he is also filthy, stinking rich.

I always liked that even without any super powers, Batman went out and fought crime. Tried to make a difference, to protect others. The gadgets were always cool, of course, but it was his sharp mind, his reasoning skills, his sheer intellect that truly drew me to his comics.

As with Spider-Man and Hulk, I learned something from Batman growing up. I learned to use my mind, to think. To look at things from different angles, from different perspectives. To utilize available resources to accomplish my goals. And I learned to never give up. When the chips were down, when all seems lost, there is always an option.

#4 - Kitty Pryde

Shadowcat, Ariel, Sprite ... Kitty Pryde has used a number of codenames through the years, but most people know her as plain Kitty Pryde. A member of the X-Men since 1980, she quickly became my most favorite member of the team. Her phasing ability was cool, she was smart, she was pretty, and she had a little purple dragon as a pet!

Kitty was never the most powerful of the X-Men, but she held her own. She was the heart and soul of the team. A kid-sister to many members, a friend to others, a lover to one or two. She grew from an awkward, shy, insecure waif into a confidant, intelligent, courageous leader. She was fun-loving, compassionate, and honest.

From Kitty I learned that it was okay to try new things, to grow and to change, that friendships are precious, and that you could still be a leader and have fun.

#5 - Plastic Man

Plas may seem an odd choice to be a favorite super-hero, but there he is. He's been around since 1941; a long time for any super-hero. He's undergone several revisions since DC got rights to him in 1956. Plastic Man is a fan favorite of many, has been in several incarnations of the Justice League, had his own Saturday morning cartoon, and the occasional self-titled comics.

He can stretch to seemingly indefinite lengths, into any shape, any size; even intricate constructs with moving parts. However he almost always stays his colors of red, yellow, black, and flesh colors. Plas is nigh indestructible, and possibly immortal. He may be one of the most powerful super-heroes ever.

Plastic Man used to be criminal until he was wounded and gained his powers in an acid bath. He is always cracking wise; sometimes with inappropriate comments. (Something i can relate too! ^.^;;)

I can't say I "learned" anything from Plas while growing up; I just liked him for his jokes, funny shapes, and interesting character. I suppose one could say, however, that even a bad person deserves a chance to become a good person. And, no matter how much you change, you'll always be who you are.

There you have it. My Top 5 Favorite Super-Heroes. Hulk and Spidey were hard to place, but Hulk was barely edged out as I though of this list. If I were to do a Top 10, the remaining 5 heroes would be (in no particular order): Iceman, Iron Man, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, and Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman. My favorite comic to read currently, and a super-hero making a bid to join the Top 10 ranks, would be She-Hulk!

Who are YOUR favorites, and why?


Jason said...

EXCELLENT POST! Very well said. Also bonus points for cutting them out and turning them into PNGs. I had no idea that turning them into PNGs would hide the background. And I call myself a Professional. *Hangs head in shame*

1) Superman
2) Batman
3) Spider-man
4) Wolvorine
5) Daredevil
6) Gambit
7) Captain America
8) Green Arrow
9) The Flash
10) The Punisher

Mud Puppy said...

For some reason Spiderman always rose to the top for me. I would always reach for the Spiderman magazines at the store.

Hulk was an influence because I always wanted to rip my shirt of and flex the muscles. Never happened unfortunately. :(

Batman and Superman were cool. They had the best movies made out of them too.

Flash and Plastic Man were my favorite heros not on the deans list of Superheros. I always fancied myself as fast, and plastic man was similar to Go-Go Gadget arms! :)

klampert said...

What a great list...and surprising too...

batman and spidey for me...tied

WorshipCity said...

Huh, the Hulk never did it for me. I'm glad thought that Jason echoes Gambit! He would be in my top 5 with...yes Spiderman! Daredevil, The Human Torch, and Fletch...does he count :) Did he ever get his own comic??? HAHAHAHA

Raivynn said...

Jason ... PNGs don't automaticlaly hide the background. You have to set it up that way while saving the image to file. The easiest way is to use layers. Base layer is a transparent layer. Top layers whatever you wish. Select the top layers and make an alpha channel out of them. When you save the PNG, save with existing transparencies and using alpha channels. Viola! Transparent PNG.

The biggest issue is not all browsers (or older versions of browsers) support transparant PNGs. =/

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