The sharpest cats in comics
Buffys best pal Xander once mused on the nature of cool. What is it? How do you get it? Who doesnt have it? And who decides who doesnt have it? What is the essence of cool? Who decides? We do, thats who! There are many great characters in comics, but only a select few can strut their way into the Comic Heroes cool list. Its not about heritage Superman is the daddy of all heroes, but hes way too earnest for this list. And its not necessarily about having superpowers Tank Girl has none (unless you count owning a tank) but shes a million times cooler than most. Weve also been wary when it comes to surface-level characters. Yeah, sure, Spawn looks great with his big floaty cape, but theres little to him beyond that (admittedly nifty) visual. What we were looking for were characters who break rules, who grab your attention and make you love them. And if they look great while waving a sword or wearing a cape then all the better!
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10.) Nick Fury Jr
Original Nick Fury was hard as nails but not especially cool. Then Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch decided to turn him into Samuel L Jackson for the Ultimates line and it all fell into place. He was a slicker, more stylish figure and the regular Marvel universe quickly accepted this as the definitive version. Original Nick Fury has retired, and his African American son, Nick Fury, Jr. has taken his place.
9.) Halo Jones
Halo Jones was conceived by Alan Moore and Ian Gibson as a deliberate contrast to the usual space warrior types. Instead, shes a stylish, relatable and very human character who just happens to live in the 50th Century. When we first meet her, shes an 18 year old punk. She later blasts off into space and we watch her grow up on her galactic adventures.
8.) Iron Man
A playboy genius with a toy box to rival Hamleys Tony Stark is the epitome of cool. Sharp, sexy, funny and not dragged down by boring things like humility, Stark makes being a superhero look like its actually fun. Hes had some hard times along the way notably falling into alcoholism during the Demon In A Bottle storyline but somehow he always bounces back to save the world.
Whats not to love about Hellboy? A bright red demon with a fist of stone and a heart of gold, hes been battling the forces of evil since the early 90s when Mike Mignola first created the character. Hellboys appeal is visceral and visual hes big, burly, smokes a cigar and beats the crap out of anything or anyone that gets in his way but hes also an endearingly sweet figure and his decades of experience in hunting down all manner of occult nasties mean that youd want him on your side in a bad situation.
6.) John Constantine
He may be better known these days for a dodgy US TV show, but John Constantine is one of the original rock stars of comics. A hard-living magician and occult detective from Liverpool he drinks, smokes and fights his way through life, encountering demonic forces and sinister conspiracies along the way. Hellblazer was the longest running Vertigo series, until its cancellation in 2013. Thats pretty much all down to the appeal of Constantine himself. Hes a working class hero who has lived through triumph and tragedy, but always has a sharp line and a sense of humour. Hes part of the main DC line now, but when we cast our minds to Constantine, its the Vertigo version were thinking of.
5.) Death of the Endless
If you had to meet a personification of Death, what form would you rather it took? A spooky skeletal Grim Reaper type or a svelte, stylish goth girl? Chances are youd choose the latter! With Death, Gaiman took a state that well all naturally predisposed to fear and made it a little less scary. His Death is a sweet, good-natured figure who helps the deceased on their way. The character became an instant fan favourite and an easy cosplay character for anyone willing to splash out on an ankh necklace and a black t-shirt.
Originally introduced as a villain in The Incredible Hulk #180, Len Wein and John Romita, Srs creation has had more staying power than anyone could have imagined. A scrappy short-arse with bladed claws, hes rough, tough and seemingly indestructible a hot-headed fighter for justice who won the hearts of superhero fans. Today, hes easily the most popular of the X-Men due in no small part to Hugh Jackmans great performance in the movies. But hes got layers, too. The comics eked out the mystery surrounding his background for decades, and weve seen this cool Canuck at both his peak and wracked with despair. Currently Wolverine is dead. It wont stick. Theres no grave that can keep this tough mother down.
When Michonne first appeared (in The Walking Dead #19) she was a mysterious, monosyllabic warrior a silent killer armed with a katana and accompanied by two armless zombie companions. For a comic that had remained relatively grounded until that point, she was a striking breath of fresh air. But Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard were quick to develop her into one of the most sympathetic characters in the book. As the series has progressed weve seen Michonnes unflinching loyalty to Rich Grimes, delved into her tragic past and watched her slay countless members of the undead. Then, after surviving the All Out War arc, they went and gave her a boat. Yep, Michonne is now a zombie-killing pirate.
Theres something about the Spider-Man outfit that changes its wearer. Peter Parker? An angsty science geek. Miles Morales? A bit of a dork. But Spider-Man? Now that guys cool in every incarnation. As soon as the mask comes on the webslinger starts cracking wise and fighting crime. Its total reader wish-fulfillment, albeit with a darker side. Both Peter and Miles have faced an endless barrage of trials and traumas over the years, and have had to learn to use their powers responsibly (we wont say the line). Still, as he swings through the city streets, Spider-Man makes being a superhero look like the most fun ever.
Hes the worlds greatest detective, the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight. Hes Batman the coolest character in all of comics. And heres why... Bruce Wayne may be often portrayed as a vengeance-obsessed loner, and thats fair. But really theres a Batman for all seasons. You want grim n gritty? Try Frank Miller or Brian Azzarellos work. Crazy sci-fi more your style? Then how about some of the Silver Age strips? High camp? Well, theres a great Batman 66 book. Hes infinitely adaptable.
Still, theres no doubting that inherent darkness does give him an edge. Hes a vigilante, someone who plays by his own rules and his costume is a hymn to the eternal allure of black. And somehow the fact that hes fallible, that he can be beaten and doesnt have immense powers, makes him all the better. It forces him to be two steps ahead of everyone else in the superhero game. He has the best backstory, the coolest costume and smarts to spare. And just look at him...