Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Critical Commentary: Wizard's Top 200 Characters
It may (or may not) surprise you that read Wizard magazine. And have been reading it, in fact, since the very early days. Say what you will about it's content, which has admittedly varied in quality over the years, but the mag has been a constant in my comic reading life since I was a pre-teen. Recently, Wizard rolled over the 200 issue mark, and put out a pair of commerative issues to celebrate. (Of course, this happened several months ago, but I am very slow about reading magazines!) One of the specials was the "Platinum Anniversary Edition," and inside was their list of the Top 200 Characters Of All Time. And while, overall, this list is not a bad collection, I really felt the need to make some sort of commentary on some of these choices. I mean, honestly.
-- #65 Jason Todd; #68 Robin (Tim Drake): Wha... ? How does Jason Todd rank higher than Tim Drake? Their explanation that Todd has been cool since he came back from the dead simply doesn't hold water... does anyone, anywhere, actually like Jason Todd? I haven't met any such fans.
-- #62 Red Skull; #139 The Leader; #143 Loki: I have no real problem with any of these rankings (in fact, I'd probably put Loki a little higher), but by who is not ranked... The Mandarin! How can you put the top baddies for Captain America, the Hulk, and Thor on the list but not Shellhead's big bad? Mandarin is one of Marvel's top universe-wide villians, and deserves to be on this list, if not the Top 100. Will this anti-Shellhead bias never stop?!
-- #21 Daredevil: I just can't wrap my brain around how a character as inherently unoriginal as Daredevil can be so high on this list. Whether we're talking about starting out as a poor man's Spider-Man, or languishing on the bottom of the Marvel barrel teaming up with Black Widow, or rushing to be re-invented into a poor man's Batman, DD has never struck me as anything but an also-ran. His popularity baffles and astounds me constantly.
-- #14 Jesse Custer; #26 Cassidy; #31 Tulip O'Hare: Now, I know that Preacher was the Greatest Thing Ever because Garth Ennis is Just So Damn Awesome, but all three of the stars in the Top 50? Not to use a "comic blogosphere" trope, but "really Wizard? Really?" Also note that all three of these characters evidently rate higher than Conan The Barbarian, Silver Surfer, Usagi Yojimbo, and Cerebus. "Really?"
-- #1 Wolverine: Ahh, nothing says "Everything that everyone says is wrong with Wizard" than putting Wolverine on top of a list of the Top 200 Characters Of All Time. Sometimes it makes you wonder just how much of their enthusiasm for things comes from actual appreciation, and how much comes from an editorial directive to piss off the netmarks as much as possible.
Good ole Wizard: You are many things, and boring is typically not one of them.