This is going to be a year-long popularity/beauty contest/tournment in which Fanatical readers will vote for their favorite SECOND (and third) STRING COMIC BOOK CHARACTERS. Frankly, I’m not sure exactly how this is going to work, except that I’m going to come up with a bunch of nominees and I’ll also take suggestions from fanatical readers. Five new characters each month for nine months. Then there will be some kind of playoffs so that at the end of 2009, there will be official FUNNY BOOK FANATIC 2ND STRING HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES.
Here are the winners for the first three rounds: Zatanna, Speedball, and Dr. Fate.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Here is the ALL-FEMALE nominees for ROUND FOUR of our contest. VOTE IN THE BOX ABOVE!!!
Big Barda (DC Hero)
Big Barda was a BBW (big, beautiful woman) before the term was popularized in magazines and television. Her first appearance was in Mister Miracle #4 and was part of the NEW GODS mythology that Jack Kirby created at DC Comics. Big Barda was created as a female companion to Scott Free alias Mr. Miracle. According to Mark Evanier, who worked as Kirby’s assistant for a time, the interplay between the two characters was patterned in part on Jack and Roz Kirby’s relationship. Born on Apokolips and raised by Granny Goodness, Barda was supposed to be one of the bad guys. Since falling in love with Mr. Miracle and becoming a hero, Barda has had a long association with the Justice League and a more recent one with Oracle and The Birds of Prey. Plus, how can you resist a girl who has this description from Wikipedia, “She wields a high tech weapon called a Mega-rod, which produces extremely powerful concussive bursts.” ’nuff said.
Lorna Dane/Polaris (Marvel hero)
Hard to believe that any character that has been connected to the X-Men franchise as long as Lorna Dane still gets so little respect and so little exposure that she can be considered for this balloting. Created by writer Arnold Drake and artist Jim Steranko for X-Men #49, Lorna is the mistress of magnetism, Magneto’s daughter, half-sister to Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, the fiance (or ex-fiance) of Cyclop’s brother Havok. She’s the only character who springs to mind who has suffered from more bad costumes than Janet Van Dyne (The Wasp). In her long and twisted history, poor Lorna has been unable to sort out here relationship with Alex Summers (Havok) and her writers have altered her powers, took away her powers, gave her different powers, gave her pseudo-artificial powers and then took away her powers again. Poor Lorna. Her green hair is in no way related to gamma rays, at least not in any story so far.
Savage She-Dragon (Image hero)
Even though she started her “life” as a villain named Sensation, Amy Belcher eventually became known as The Savage She-Dragon. She has been a regular player in Erik Larsen’s long running Image title, The Savage Dragon. After her long blonde tresses were burned off by the Dragon-Slayer, she grew a mohawk which she sports to this day. Originally a parody of She-Hulk inside a larger parody of the work of John Byrne, she proved to be popular enough that when Savage Dragon was thought to have died in issue #50, the title was retitled The Savage She-Dragon for issues #51 through #54.
Thundra (Marvel Hero/Villain)
Thundra, like previous nominee Big Barda, is a warrior woman from another world. In this case, the stunning redhead in the red costume came to Marvel’s Earth from the 23rd Century. In Thundra’s future, women have taken control of the planet by enslaving the male portion of the population. Every time there are societal movements, there are characters that refect the movement. No character is a better mix of the admiration and paranoia that was all mixed up in the women’s liberation movement than Thundra. She’s been associated with The Fantastic Four (including a love/hate relationship with Ben Grimm), The Frightful Four, Project Pegasus, The Inhumans, The Avengers and most recently Jeph Loeb featured Thundra along with some other Marvel female heroes in the pages of The Hulk. She’s big, she’s strong, she’s confident, she’s sexy and she’s a warrior from another time. What’s not to like?
Vixen (DC Hero)
Created by the great Gerry Conway and artist Bob Oksner, according the Wikipedia, Vixen was very nearly the first black female DC superhero to star in her own series. The first issue was produced, but was then caught 1978’s “DC Implosion.” Eventually, Vixen made her first official appearance in Action Comics #521. Mari Jiwe McCabe was raised in Africa, but moved to New York City to be a model.
Upon a return trip to Africa, she gains possession of a fox-shaped totem that was part of her family’s heritage. The totem gives Mari the power to call on the powers of the animal world (and her powers may have the same source as Animal Man’s). Vixen was part of the Justice League of America when Aquaman re-organized the team and she departed when Martian Manhunter later disbanded this version of the team. She’s spent time fighting side-by-side with Animal Man, the Suicide Squad and Oracle’s Birds of Prey. In 2008, Vixen even got her own 5-issue limited series in which writer G. Willow Wilson told an adventure of Mari’s return to Africa. And just for the record, Vixen is included in this round of nominees based on a suggestion from a fanatical reader.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
First round (non-winning nominees)
CLIVE RESTON • WILDCAT • MANDRILL • EL AGUILA
Second round (non-winning nominees)
BLUE DEVIL • RAGMAN • RED WOLF • STILT-MAN
Third round (non-winning nominees)
DAMAGE • GLADIATOR • MARY MARVEL • STINGRAY