The 2000-plus members of the Facebook ComicScene Community were challenged to vote for their favourite comic characters in the run up to the first I Love Comics Digital Comic Con this weekend. Several British characters topped the poll, with 2000AD’s Judge Dredd taking top spot.
Both community and digital convention, launched from the UK, are the fevered brainchild of publisher Tony Foster, creator of ComicScene Magazine, which is now part of the new anthology comic, SHIFT, from GetMyComics. Tony is also publishing an ambitious part works project charting the history of comics over the past one hundred years on both sides of the Atlantic through the Comic Club subscription offering.
Here’s the Top 40 Favourite Comic Characters in full, for those of you who may have missed it, including some of the great character illustrations provided to announce the poll created by Charlie Gillespie and Lyndon Webb.
Charlie Gillespie’s credits for 2000AD include “Sinister Dexter” and “Vector 13”, and “Armitage”, “Judge Anderson” and “The Inspectre” for Judge Dredd Megazine. He’s also been an art director of interactive apps and a lead artist for various video games companies. His work includes drawings, paintings and concepts both traditional and digital for various publications, working for companies such as Codemasters, Lionhead, Tantalus, Ideaworks and Wizards of the Coast.
A previous winner of 2000AD’s “Art Stars” challenge, Lyndon Webb is a cover artist and illustrator whose strip work has featured in numerous independent comics, including Dogbreath from Futurequake Press.
ComicScene Community Top 40 Favourite Comic Characters
40: Wonder Woman (DC Comics) – created by writer William Moulton Marston (who used “Charles Moulton” as a pen name) and artist Harry G. Peter. (Marston’s wife, Elizabeth, and their life partner, Olive Byrne, are credited as being his inspiration for the character’s appearance).
39: Marshal Law – created by writer Pat Mills and artist Kevin O’Neill
38: V for Vendetta – created by writer Alan Moore and artist David Lloyd)
37: TinTin – created by Hergé
Belgium’s much loved boy detective and Snowy continue to have a strong following.
36: Doomlord (EAGLE) – created by writers Alan Grant and John Wagner
Doomlord first appeared as a photo strip, his costume the creation of the editorial team and others, later drawn by Heinzl and Eric Bradbury
35: Asterix – created by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo
The first but by no means last humour character to feature among this poll of favourite characters.
34: Cheeky (Krazy/ Cheeky) – created by Ian Knox as a member of The Krazy Gang in Krazy, but developed further for Cheeky by artist Frank McDiarmid
33: Judge Anderson (2000AD) – created by writer John Wagner and artist Brian Bolland
32: Union Jack Jackson (The Hotspur) – Union Jack Jackson began life as a text story in The Hotspur in 1957 before becoming a comic strip in 1962. Jackson later resurfaced in Warlord in 1974 and remained in that title’s pages until its cancellation in 1986. In 2019, he reappeared again in Commando No. 5287.
31: Johnny Red (Battle Picture Weekly) – created by writer Tom Tully and artist Joe Colquhoun
30: Captain America (Marvel Comics) – created by writer Joe Simon and artist Jack Kirby
29: Swamp Thing (DC Comics) – created by writer Len Wein and artist Bernie Wrightson
Len Wein came up with the idea for the character while riding a subway in Queens. He later recalled: “I didn’t have a title for it, so I kept referring to it as ‘that swamp thing I’m working on’. And that’s how it got its name!” Bernie Wrightson designed the character’s visual image, using a rough sketch by Wein as a guideline.
28: Green Lantern (DC Comics)
The first Green Lantern character, Alan Scott, was created in 1940 by Martin Nodell during the Golden Age of Comic Books and usually fought common criminals in Capitol City (and later, Gotham City) with the aid of his magic ring. For the Silver Age of Comic Books, John Broome and Gil Kane reinvented the character as Hal Jordan in 1959 and shifted the focus of Green Lantern stories from fantasy to science fiction.
27: Daredevil (Marvel Comics) – created by writer Stan Lee and artist Bill Everett
Daredevil was created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Bill Everett, with writer and comics historian Mark Evanier noting Jack Kirby designed the basic image of Daredevil’s initial costume, although Everett modified it. Wally Wood designed Daredevil’s red costume, introduced in Daredevil #7.
26: The Punisher (Marvel Comics) – created by writer Gerry Conway and artists John Romita Sr. and Ross Andru
25: Hellblazer (DC Comics) – created by writer Alan Moore and artist Stephen R. Bissette
Hellblazer first appeared as a supporting character in Swamp Thing Volume 2 #37 (June 1985), his original look, later modified, very much like Sting, lead member of The Police.
24: The Steel Claw (Valiant)
The Steel Claw first appeared in the debut edition of Valiant cover dated 6th October 1962. The strip was one of several put together for the comic by Fleetway editors Ken Mennell, Jack Le Grand and Sid Bicknell, and was then refined by writer Ken Bulmer and artist Jesús Blasco. After the first three stories, Bulmer left the title, and was replaced by Tom Tully.
23: Beryl the Peril (The Topper/ BEANO)
Beryl the Peril first appeared in the first issue of The Topper in 1953, created by artist and writer Davey Law to be a female equivalent to The Beano‘s Dennis the Menace. Law drew inspiration from his daughter, who would often pull faces during her tantrums.
22: Roger the Dodger (BEANO)
First appearing in The Beano No. 561, cover dated 18th April 1953, Roger was originally drawn by Ken Reid, with Gordon Bell taking over in 1959.
21: Robo Hunter (2000AD) – created by John Wagner and Ian Gibson
20: Miracleman (aka Marvelman, now owned Marvel Comics) – created for British publisher L. Miller by Mick Anglo
Marvelman was reinvented in the 1980s for the comics anthology Warrior by Alan Moore and Garry Leach.
19: Matt Braddock (from the strip “I Flew With Braddock”, later known as “Braddock of the Bombers” (The Rover/ The Victor)
Matt Braddock first appeared in a long-running series of text stories, purportedly written by Braddock’s navigator, George Bourne, published in DC Thomson’s weekly tile The Rover, beginning in 1952 in issue 1414, cover dated 2nd August 1952 entitled “I Flew With Braddock”.
Braddock also had a long career in comics, appearing in Victor between 1960 and 1984. and Warlord (1974-75), with art largely supplied by the brilliant
DC Thomson Media’s Heritage Brands team revived the character, albeit briefly, back in 2019, in two issues of Commando Issue 5259, under the promotional banner “The Victor Files”.
18: Charley Bourne, from “Charley’s War” (Battle Picture Weekly) – created by Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun
17: Rogue Trooper (2000AD) – created by writer Gerry Finley-Day and artist Dave Gibbons
16: Batgirl (DC Comics) – created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Carmine Infantino
Although the character Betty Kane was introduced into publication in 1961 by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff as Bat-Girl, she was replaced by Barbara Gordon in 1967, who later came to be identified as the iconic Batgirl. The character debuted in Detective Comics #359 (January 1967) by writer Gardner Fox and artist Carmine Infantino, introduced as the daughter of police commissioner James Gordon.
15: Slainé (2000AD) – created by writer Pat Mills and artist Angela Kincaid
Most of the early Slainé stories were drawn by Massimo Belardinelli and Mike McMahon. Other notable artists to have worked on the character include Glenn Fabry, Simon Bisley, Simon Davis and Leonardo Manco.
14: Captain Britain (Captain Britain Weekly/ Marvel UK) – created by writer Chris Claremont and penciller Herb Trimpe
13: Roy Race aka Roy of the Rovers (Tiger/Roy of the Rovers) – created by writer Frank Pepper and artist Joe Colquhoun
12: Dennis the Menace (BEANO)
The idea and name of the character emerged when The Beano editor George Moonie heard a British music hall song with the chorus “I’m Dennis the Menace from Venice”. The character of Dennis was initially a struggle for artist Davey Law and then Beano chief sub Ian Chisholm to develop. Chisholm described the character to Law, but was dissatisfied with every sketch the artist showed him. Out of frustration, Chisholm is reported to have grabbed a pencil and quickly sketched out his creation to Law in the back of his cigarette packet. The drawing consisted of Dennis’s trademark messy hair cut, knobbly knees, and menacing scowl.
Adapting Chisholm’s doodle, Law set to work on the character in the strip, which would appear in the issue of The Beano cover dated 17th March 1951. Two months later, Law gave the mischievous boy his distinctive red-and-black-striped jersey, outsized shoes, and devilish grin.
Coincidentally, on 12th March 1951, another comic strip named Dennis the Menace debuted in the US. As a result of this, the US series has initially been retitled Dennis for UK audiences, while the British character’s appearances are often titled Dennis and Gnasher outside the UK.
11: Halo Jones – from “The Ballad of Halo Jones” (2000AD) – created by Alan Moore and Ian Gibson
10: Wolverine (Marvel Comics) – created by Roy Thomas writer Len Wein, and Marvel art director John Romita Sr
Wolverine was created by Marvel editor-in-chief Roy Thomas, writer Len Wein, and Marvel art director John Romita Sr. Romita designed the character, although he was first drawn for publication by Herb Trimpe, first appearing in the last panel of The Incredible Hulk #180 before having a larger role in #181 (cover-dated November 1974).
9: Alf Tupper (The Rover/The Victor) – created by Bill Blaine
Alf Tupper was created by Bill Blaine (which was probably a pseudonym for William Blaine, head of DC Thomson comics), written by Gilbert Lawford Dalton. Although he was the flagship character in The Victor, which ran from 1961 until the early 1990s, he actually started life in the all-text comic The Rover in the late 1940s, but transferred to the new picture-strip comic when it launched.
8: Lord Peter Flint aka Warlord from “Codename: Warlord” (Warlord)
A British secret agent whose real name/cover was Lord Peter Flint, a despised conscientious objector who apparently refused to participate in the war. His usual opponents were the Gestapo, Abwehr and Japanese intelligence, who (despite his cover) seemed to know his true identity and referred to him as “Flint”.
They character was revived briefly in 2019 for Commando, but was previously also seen in the weekly comic Bullet, the uncle of “Fireball” – and an aged Flint later reappeared in the digital Dandy‘s “Retro Active” story, as the commander of a superhero team.
7: Superman (DC Comics) – created by created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster
While superhero-styled characters were appearing in the pages of DC Thomson’s British comics in the 1920s, Superman is widely regarded as the first such American character of the type, first appearing in Action Comics #1 (cover-dated June 1938 and published April 18, 1938). Superman has been adapted to a number of other media including radio serials, novels, movies, television shows and theatre.
6: Nemesis the Warlock (2000AD) – created by Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill
5: Dan Dare (EAGLE) – created by writer and artist Frank Hampson, and Marcus Morris
4: Batman (DC Comics) – created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger
3: Johnny Alpha aka Strontium Dog (2000AD/Starlord)
– created by writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra
Johnny Alpha was originally created by writer John Wagner (under the pseudonym T. B. Grover) and artist Carlos Ezquerra for the short-lived weekly Starlord, the series transferred to 2000AD when the two comics were merged. In 1980, Wagner was joined by co-writer Alan Grant, although scripts were normally credited to Grant alone. Grant wrote the series solo from 1988 to 1990. After Ezquerra’s death in October 2018 the series was put in indefinite hiatus with no current plans for its continuation (other than some single-episode stories in special issues aimed at younger readers).
2: Spider-Man (Marvel Comics) – created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
Spider-Man has been published in the UK for almost as long as he’s appeared in US comics, so it’s no real surprise he attained a place in the Top Three characters.
1: Judge Dredd (2000AD) – created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra
The Lawman of the Future maintains his grip on comic fans hearts. Any other result is an offence, citizens!
Just outside the Favourite Comic Characters Of All Time Top 40 were Tank Girl, Judge Death, The Joker, Death’s Head, The Flash, Janus Stark, Minnie the Minx, Zenith and Blake Edmonds (aka Death Wish)
The second Kickstarter for Books 4 to 8 starts in soon
All characters copyright respective creators or publishers
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.