I am not responsible for this list, and I have no idea why the **** Modok is on there, but here it is. Discuss. http://anw.livejournal.com/302697.html Marvel: The 50 Best Characters In an epic series of polls at a forum for pseudo-intellecual nerds, I recently asked a group of over 200 comics geeks to help me compile a list of the very best Marvel characters - from heroes to villains, from gods to monsters, from Uatu the Watcher to Foggy the lawyer (neither of whom made the cut). This democratically determined list of the fifty finest fictional figures ever to walk Earth 616 contains 11 Europeans, 28 Americans and eight non-terrestrials. There are five women, two blacks and seven redheads. Two are blue, four are green, and only one is on fire. Two are lawyers, six claim to be doctors, and six are monarchs. Thirty-four have been heroes, 24 have been villains, eleven have been Avengers and 15 have been X-Men. At least two are currently dead, and most of the others used to be. Three each were created by John Byrne and John Buscema, four each by Chris Claremont, John Romita Sr and Len Wein, and six by Steve Ditko. An extraordinary 24 characters were created by Jack Kirby, and 30 were created by the man himself, Marvel architect-in-chief Stan Lee. Here they are, true believers; the fifty best Marvel characters. 50. Kraven the Hunter, Sergei Kravinoff Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. A big game hunter in leopard skin pants, with a propensity for wrestling animals with his bare hands. The defining moment of Kraven's comic existence came when he succeeded in his life's mission of capturing Spider-Man, and proceeded to shoot his brains out. Unusually for comics, he has since remained dead. 49. Juggernaut, Cain Marko Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Some supervillains are known for their cunning, their flair or their relentless ambition. Juggernaut offers none of these things. The magically enhanced red-headed step-brother of Professor Charles Xavier is a blunt object, remarkable for one simple, elegant truth; nothing can stop him. 48. The Sub-Mariner, Prince Namor McKenzie Created by Bill Everett. The half-human, half-Atlantean, snotty tempered, occasionally villainous monarch of a belligerent underwater kingdom is one of the first superheroes, debuting only a year after Superman. He's best known for punching Nazis, teaming up with Doctor Doom, being a bit of a *****, and being a better shag than a man named Mr Fantastic. 47. Marvel Girl, Jean Grey Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. A psychic redhead with the potential to wipe out planets. Feared and beloved in equal measure by men who can't quite get over their ex-girlfriends. 46. Swarm, Fritz von Meyer Created by Bill Mantlo and John Byrne. Swarm has appeared in comics only a scant handful of times, yet he has massive cult appeal. To understand why, there's just one thing you need to know about Swarm: He's a Nazi made of radioactive bees. Shakespeare only wishes he'd come up with stuff this good. 45. Black Bolt, Blackagar Boltagon Created by Jack Kirby. Blackagar Boltagon (crazy name, crazy king) rules the Inhumans, an ancient race of wacky genetic experiments living on the dark side of the moon. Black Bolt maintains a certain air of aloof coolness because he almost never speaks. Because when he does speak, he unleashes a concussive shockwave with the power of an atomic blast. It is assumed he is a good listener. 44. Loki Lauyefson Adapted from myth by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby. In Norse mythology he's a maverick trickster God. In Marvel comics, he's a classic supervillain and 'God of Evil', with a lust for power and an abiding hatred for his arch-nemesis Thor. He's Marvel's sorcerous Machiavelli, but with the added bonus of a pair of really unwieldy yellow horns on his hat. 43. Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze Created by Roy Thomas, Gary Friedrich and Mike Ploog. Johnny Blaze was a stunt biker in a travelling circus who sold his soul to the devil to save the life of his mentor, Crash Simpson, and got bound to a vengeance demon for his troubles. So far, so groovy. But the best part is that he could then transform into a burning skeleton in biker leathers. There haven't been a whole lot of good Ghost Rider stories, but the design is one of the all-time classics. 42. Professor X, Charles Xavier Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The X-Men's tweed-wearing, wheelchair-bound telepath egghead founder. In theory, he's the principled activist hero of an oppressed minority. In practice, he's a devious, manipulative, self-aggrandising wannabe martyr with a fondness for very young girls and a bizarre habit of unleashing evil monster versions of his own twisted psyche on the world. 41. Quicksilver, Pietro Maximoff Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Super-speedster Pietro is the patron hero (and sometime patron terrorist supervillain) of pissy, irritable people everywhere. Trapped in a world that moves too slowly for him, he probably keeps a particularly acid and frothy blog. He's also the son of Magneto, so he has a lot to live up to, and he's frequently afflicted with madness or depression. It pretty much sucks to be Quicksilver. But he has great hair. 40. Kingpin, Wilson Fisk Created by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. He's not fat, he's muscular, like a sumo wrestler! And he's not a gangster, he's a spice merchant! Yes, it's fat gangster Wilson Fisk, who crushes men's heads with his fat hammy hands. Fatty Fisk started life as a poor, miserable fat kid, but murdered and bribed his way into becoming one of the most powerful fat men in America, proving that anyone in the US can rise to the position of being able to buy the president. Even fat people. 39. Doctor Octopus, Otto Octavius Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. The nerd supervillain. Pale, chubby, short-sighted, but academically gifted, Otto Octavius bumbled his way into super-powers when a nuclear accident fused him to the metal tentacles he used in his research. But having a really cool body piercing didn't make him any less of a nerd, so naturally he went crazy and lashed out at a world that had never told him he was pretty. 38. Green Goblin, Norman Osborn Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Green Goblin is best known for killing Peter Parker's girlfriend Gwen Stacy - a watershed moment in superhero comics. But I like him because he wears a garish purple and green elf costume, rides around on a metal bat, and has bombs in the shape of pumpkins. In an eloquent demonstration of how poorly today's creators' imaginations fare against those of the 70s greats, the Ultimate cover version of Green Goblin turned him into The Abomination without the Russian accent. 37. Red Skull, Johann Schmidt Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby Johann Schmidt was a mere hotel bellhop when he pinged Adolf Hitler's evildar and was adopted as the Fuhrer's new pet project (secondary to world conquest). Johann swapped his dainty porter's cap for a red skull mask and was transformed into a terrifying bogeyman for the Nazi propoganda machine. He survived the fall of the Third Reich thanks to suspended animation, and now spends his days plotting for a Fourth Reich and wearing smoking jackets and snazzy boots. He remains the supervillain that all the other supervillains won't talk to, because there's 'world conquering, life shattering evil', and then there's 'Nazi evil', and that's just unpalatable. 36. She-Hulk, Jennifer Walters Created by Stan Lee and John Buscema. The jade giantess gained her super strength thanks to a spectacularly ill-advised blood transfusion from cousin Bruce 'Hulk' Banner. She then went from savage to sassy, establishing herself as a screwball comedy heroine with Carole Lombard's wit, Rosalind Russell's bite, and Cyd Charisse's legs. But none of those gals could juggle cars. 35. Colossus, Piotr Nikolevitch Rasputin Created by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum. My own favourite Marvel character. He's a gentle, romantic artist with a sweet soul. He's also a big, burly, handsome Russian peasant. And he can turn his body into steel and tear through walls like paper. Not only is he protective, devoted and sensitive, but he can win most fights just by being in the room, and he looks great in a t-shirt. If it weren't for his weirdly unhinged siblings and the fact that everyone he loves tends to die horribly, he'd be the perfect boyfriend. Speaking of which... 34. Shadowcat, Kitty Pryde Created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. The nerd girlfriend. For over a quarter of a century, young nerds have been falling for the eternally teenaged, spirited, big-brained action gal with the power to walk through walls. She's also a big favourite of Jewish comic readers, as she's one of the first major superheroes to wear her faith on her big puffy sleeve. Kitty is perhaps the archetypal modern teen heroine. Without her, there would be no Buffy. 33. Cyclops, Scott Summers Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The irritatingly dependable solid core of the X-Men, Scott Summers is basically Dr Jack from Lost - serious, manly, handsome and authoritative, but with all the personality of a Microsoft paperclip. "I see that you're fighting a Sentinel. Would you like to hurl Wolverine at its head while Iceman impedes its progress?" I can only assume the mutant boy scout placed at number 33 in this list by sheer force of nostalgic inertia. 32. Havok, Alex Summers Created by Roy Thomas and Neal Adams. Cyclops' younger brother is a great deal more interesting. While Cyclops is a contained, disciplined, natural leader who keeps his powder dry at all times, Havok is all bubbling turmoil and anguish. Cyclops is competent and efficient. Havok is flawed and passionate. Cyclops worries about whether he remembered to make the bed this morning. Havok worries about having to contain the massed power of an exploding star within his all-too-human flesh. Havok also has the concentric circles power signature, one of the snazziest pop art visuals in comics. 31. Luke Cage Created by Archie Goodwin and John Romita Sr. Marvel's great blaxploitation superhero, known for his trademark exclamation of 'Sweet Christmas', and for being the crazy black man who rode a stolen rocket into Doctor Doom's castle to get the two hundred dollars Doom owes him. He was a ghetto street tough who got his super strength in prison and performed heroic acts for money, which doesn't sound very empowering, but still, he was the first black superhero to get his own comic. He's since traded in his flash yellow disco shirt, chain belt and tiara for an uninspiring Chrisopher Ecclestone jeans-and-leather-jacket ensemble, and like most black characters in the hands of white writers, he's now presented as a nicely-nicely-big-brotherly-role-model cipher. 30. Black Widow, Natasha Romanova Created by Stan Lee, Don Rico and Don Heck. Foxy leather-clad Communist superspy. Part Bond girl, part Bond. 29. Beast, Henry McCoy Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Here's the subtle genius of Beast. He looks like a giant, fanged, blue-furred ape creature. But he's actually a brilliant scientist, a great wit and an intellectual. It's awfully clever. He's a reupholstered Teddy Ruxpin that's been loaded with Encarta. On the one hand, he'd make an eloquent dining companion. On the other, he'd make a terrific rug. 28. The Multiple Man, Jamie Madrox Created by Len Wein, Chris Claremont, Chic Stone and John Buscema. Madrox has the power to create duplicates of himself, send them out into the world to fight or learn or just reach the key over there and get him out of the locked room, and then reabsorb them along with their memories and skills. He represents everyone's desire to have just a little more free time - to learn to ballroom dance, to scuba the Great Barrier Reef, to get horribly drunk on a school night. He's both rounded and grounded, remaining refreshingly down-to-earth and even a little cynical in the face of all the gods and mutants he's encountered. He's every man. 27. Silver Surfer, Norrin Radd Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The sentinel of the spaceways and former herald of Galactus makes for a wonderfully weird cosmic hero. It's a testament to the wonder of comics that readers will happily relish the absurdity of a chrome-plated space messiah on a surfboard. But, see, it's really, really cool. Like, woah. Look at my fingers. 26. Ultron Created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema. There's always the danger, when you're a brilliant scientist, that you'll create an artificial intelligence that will decide to take over the world and destroy all organic lifeforms. That's the Ultron story, except in this case the brilliant scientist (and supehero and spousal abuser, Henry Pym) decided to put his artificial intelligence in an indestructible adamantium robot body. Hijinx ensued. You can sense Ultron's malice and hatred in your computer every time it crashes, and in your toaster every time it burns your breakfeast.