From Top to Bottom: Comic Book Dads

by Matt

Welcome to the 8th edition of the weekly "From Top to Bottom" column! Every week I will look at something within the comics industry and give you my opinion on what I think is the best and what I think ranks amongst the bottom-feeders.

Last week I took a look at the Top and Bottom of Hulk Artists that chronicled the Green Goliath. This week in honor of Father's Day (and being a true dad, this column is late) I will be examining Comic Book Dads. The good ones along with the deadbeats.

I am a very lucky guy. My dad (seen here taking a blow from my kid dressed as Wolverine for Halloween) always bought me comics when I was younger and still to this day he still supports me collecting and reading comics. In fact, I returned the favor and bought him a comic just the other day. He is a HUGE fan of the spaghetti westerns with Clint Eastwood that I got him a copy of the new "Man With No Name" series and he liked it. As far as being a dad in a comic universe, here are my Top 3 Best Dads and then 3 Dads that just couldn't pass the mustard.

3) Mr. Fantastic
How cool would it be to have Mr. Fantastic be your dad? You would always have someone that can assist you with your homework and can you imagine the help you would get with your science projects? The only drawback would be IF he was around to help you since he is so busy saving the universe every other day. It certainly wouldn't be boring to have him as your dad!

2) Rick Grimes
Being a parent isn't easy. But try being a single parent in a world full of zombies! Rick has gone through a lot of traumatic events but manages to do his best in such a harsh environment. He immediately recognizes that his son Carl would need to know how to handle and shoot a gun in this world, which paid off quickly just a few issues later! He has taught his son compassion, hard work, and has helped his son deal with this new world.

1) Stan Lee
Okay, okay. I kinda cheated with this one but it is my column and I am allowed. He is the Father of the Marvel Universe and technically he has been in Marvel comics before. If it weren't for Stan and his creativeness, my childhood wouldn't have been the same. Thirty-some-odd-years later, I still feel like a kid when I read comics he helped create!

Now some comic dads just don't cut it. Some were not special enough to make a mention here. Take Cyclops for instance, I really could have placed him in both lists. I should give some props to Sentinel, Green and Red Arrows, Pa Kent and a bunch others. But I cannot fit them all here. Now, for the dads that weren't the best examples and should forget about fatherhood.

3) Captain Dynamo
Every dad keeps some sort of secret. But what if your dad was the hero known as Captain Dynamo and you find out that your dad was not as nice as a hero as you think he was and that he fathered illegitimate children (5 of them became the super team known as Dynamo 5 and is a terrific book) all over the world? This dad's may have left his offspring superpowers but I suspect that is this dad was alive, he would be a deadbeat dad!

2) Deathstroke: The Terminator
Maybe he just shouldn't have kids. He kills his own son Jericho by ramming a sword through his chest and then later on he finds a daughter he didn't even know he had and brainwashes her to become a mercenary like himself.

1) Green Goblin/Norman Osborn
First he doesn't think you are worthy to have the Osborn name. Than he sleeps with one of your friends and tries to kill another. Norman will never win any "Father of the Year" awards with these types of actions. Being a psychotic dad makes Norman the bottom of all dads! I guess Norman may have done something right, his son Harry does act an awful lot like his dear ol' dad.

I dedicated this to my dad for helping and supporting me in this addiction. My dad always wanted to me to be able to read and write, and he saw that comics would be a fantastic way to help. Thanks Dad! And I wish a belated "Happy Father's Day" to all the dads out there. Now I am off to play the new Lego Indiana Jones game for the Wii which my son Logan got me for Father's Day. I must be raising him well since he sure knows how to pick a gift!


Dan said...

First he doesn't think you are worthy to have the Osborn name. Than he sleeps with one of your friends and tries to kill another.

Plus, he passed along the gene for that terrible hair.

The General said...

I always thought that Reed was sort of a lackluster dad. I mean, sure he's smart and all, but he also has a tendency to sideline his kids and just leave them in the care of a robot nanny or something.

coolgirlsar said...

I think I'm in agreement about Norman. I know it's cliched but how about Mr Kent?

Betsy said...

I'm with The General - Reed Richards is much more involved in his work than his kids.

guttertalk said...

Okay, I understand that Stan Lee was managing Timely/Marvel and writing, but to say that he's the Father of Marvel Comics is a bit of stretch because there is no way we have had the Marvel today without Jack Kirby's creativity.

I mean, at the very least, you have a case of "My Two Marvel Dads."

Matt said...

Guttertalk: You are right and I agree with you. But I knew of Stan Lee way before I knew of Jack Kirby. Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to diminish his work at all.

Betsy and The General: Reed has not been the best dad but at least he tries. The scene where he re-enacts the Saggy Baggy Elephant with his son in the FF/X-Men mini of the 80's is why I ranked him third in my list.

Jon Quixote said...

Sure, Reed works a lot but he's surrounded his family with an incredible support system.

We start with Reed's wife. A considerate father chooses a woman who'll be a great mother, and Sue is a kind & loving mommy who hasn't accidentally turned into a dominatrix for years nor slept with a fish-man for almost as long.

There have been robots, which have rarely gone haywire and threaten the safety of his children.

There have been witches, the better to prepare Franklin for the day when Daddy's Old Roommate shows up and sucks him into Hell.

There's a live-in uncle who can show Franklin just how cool fire can be (if you're careful, which is an important lesson to learn).

There's another live-in uncle who's big and strong and protecting and only occasionally trashes the house in violent rages.

And there's Reed himself, who is a master of parenting techniques. To the best of my knowledge - has only once become mind-controlled to try to kill Franklin. ONLY ONCE. And when Franklin gets a little too wound up and hard to control, Reed safely places him into a scientifically-induced coma until he's calmed down. Which is brilliant and responsible: good fathers set boundaries, like "no destroying the universe."

Reed Richards = The Bill Cosby of the Marvel Universe.

The General said...

You realize, Jon, when I started reading your post; I was fully expecting it to be about the merits of "Thunderbolt" Ross as a father.

Jon Quixote said...

You realize, Jon, when I started reading your post; I was fully expecting it to be about the merits of "Thunderbolt" Ross as a father.

Hulk is so last week, dude.