Ah Father’s Day, the day when I give thanks to my dad for being my dad. Sure, the rest of you do too (and to those of you who don’t have dads, my apologies for possibly offending, it is really not my intent), but I felt the need to give special thanks to my old man. He gives me a place to live, and a place to work, and he does his best to encourage me to go out and do what makes me happy….even if he isn’t always great at conveying that he means well. He’s my dad, I love him, and without him I don’t think I’d be much of anything. Thanks dad, I love you.
So on a Father’s Day note, let’s go ahead and do what everyone would expect and do a list thread! This is SO much easier than Mothers Day, I mean, there’s just more prominent dads in comics. So now for the first of many inevitable hard parts, deciding whether to open with the best dads, or the worst dads. How should I do this?
Wait! I know! I’ll ask Little Smokey!
Big Smokey: So Little Smokey, little help, do I start with the best comic dads, or the worst comic dads?
Little Smokey: Worst
Big Smokey: You rock buddy! High five!
Alright, ten worst comic book dads, let’s bang this out!
10. Wendell Rand
So he takes his wife and nine year old to the Himalayas to seek out the city of K’un-Lun, which he had lived in as a child. He also brings his business partner, who allows him to die and then runs off to take advantage of being the sole surviving owner (though he wound up frostbitten and crippled, so karma is a bitch). With Wendell now dead, his wife and son have to fend for themselves, which leaves his wife to sacrifice herself to the WOLVES, literally, to save young Danny. Danny winds up being taken in by the people of K’un-Lun, and is currently best known by his title, The Immortal Iron Fist. So it all worked out, right? So how did Wendell make the list? For taking his nine year old son to the fucking Himalayas in search of a mystic city. You try that in this day and age, you go to jail.
9. Rex Tyler
When I think of bad dads, Rex always seems to come to mind. His son, Rick, is about as foreign to him as anything could be. Rex got married, had a successful business, had a son, and was still the masked crimefighter known as Hourman. It was an addiction, the rush, the feeling, the Miraclo in his veins, being a super hero. To him there was nothing more important. So Rick got older, and didn’t know too much of who his dad was, Rex would come home and do business, and regularly forget Rick’s birthdays….and current age. It wasn’t until Rick was a teenager when Rex finally started getting involved, though his complete lack of understanding of his own son led him to push too hard to get Rick down the same academic path he himself had taken, which just managed to instill an inferiority complex in his only son. Rick tried to become the new Hourman, but Rex shut him down….rightfully so, actually since Rick’s eventual first run as Hourman led to him developing leukemia due to his addiction. Rex died without ever really knowing his son. Without ever really being there for him. Eventually the third Hourman managed to bring Rex back from the dead, and gave the two a second chance to forge a relationship. Time will tell.
8. Parker Robbins
Yup, The Hood. Kingpin of Marvel’s supervillain crime syndicate. Parker will never win a father of the year, or husband of the year award. Even before he gained his cloak and powers, he had a pregnant girlfriend named Sara as well as a mistress on the side. His mini ended, time passed, he got his new role as head of his group of villains, and Sara shows up again. No longer pregnant, Parker now has a daughter….and a new mistress. Sara has no idea what it is Parker does for a living, only the lies that he feeds her about construction, or whatever comes to mind when an answer is needed. He wants to do right by his family, and he wants to do right by himself, and the two conflict more often than not. He’s on the fast track to raising a daughter that hates him, or, even worse, is just like him.
7. Oliver Queen
I wrestled with this for a while, I didn’t want Ollie on this list. I like Ollie, and he tries, but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. No matter what he does, it will always come back to the same thing. His side kick is a junkie, so he runs off to go hang out with Hal. Ollie is a shitty rolemodel, and a shitty father. He has the son he raised, Roy, the son he bore, Conner, and the daughter he took under his wing, Mia. Roy wound up all right, this is true, due entirely, one hundred percent, to the effort of Dinah Lance. That’s right; Canary would win a mother of the year award for Roy. She did the meat of it; she was there when he needed someone. She was there when Ollie couldn’t handle the pressure. Connor’s mom did all the effort with him, and she had to, Ollie bailed when he was just days old. Mia is the closest he comes to an accomplishment, and that’s just because she was screwed up before she even met him! [Editor’s Note: Adding to Ollie’s bad dad credit, he has another bastard kid, Shado’s son. It’s also been implied a few times that he is Arrowette’s dad. That guy leaves a lot of DNA floating around the DC universe.]
6. The Red Skull
The Red Skull has but one child, a daughter whom he almost killed just after her birth simply because he did not want an heir that was female. He was convinced to hand her over to one of his followers, who proceeded to raise her to know only hate and venom, to be the true offspring of her father. Not wishing to wait for results, the Skull used a machine to age her to adulthood so she could better serve him, and she did. She initially became Mother Superior, and led the Sisters of Sin (made up of other girls aged to adulthood to serve the Skull), and then later after being deaged, she became Sister Sin. SHIELD got a hold of her, and she was deprogrammed until the Skull sent his minion Crossbones to get her and recondition her, to bring back the daughter he loathed. And it was a success, as Sin once again fought for her father, and even played a role in the assassination of Captain America. Always the daddy’s girl, daddy never saw her as anything other than a pawn to move around his human chessboard. The girl was never given a chance; she was always destined to be the evil Sin.
5. Eric Lehnsher
Eric, the mutant known as Magneto, has four children. Anya, Pietro, Wanda, and Lorna. Anya died in a fire, while Eric was helpless to act, which led to him becoming Magneto and killing countless villagers who had helped cause the death of his first born. Pietro and Wanda were born without knowledge of their father, and later joined his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Without knowing they were his children, he used them like puppets in his war against humankind for years. Eventually they rebelled, and later after that he discovered the truth of their origins. And while he has made efforts to mend a broken relationship, his actions tend far more often to hurt his children. Lorna took to his aid without even knowledge of being his daughter, and she lost her mind for it when Genosha was destroyed. Eric has never been so much the kind of father who has directly troubled the lives of his children, but he is the definition for sins of the father.
4. Slade Wilson
Slade has three kids. Grant, Joseph, and Rose. After his time in Vietnam, Slade married his superior officer Adelle and had his two sons. Secretly though, he was out being a costumed mercenary, putting his recently developed super skills to use for cash. That is, of course, until someone showed up and kidnapped his youngest son, Joe, and wound up severing his vocal chords due to Slade’s attempt at stopping him. Joey grew up a mute because of that…..though Slade got his eye gouged out by his wife, so karma. Grant was the first Ravager, an assassin with powers given to him by the H.I.V.E. and sent to kill the Teen Titans. He failed and his powers killed him, first appearance, Slade blamed the Titans. Joe actually went and joined the Teen Titans just to stop his dad! He was the Titan known as Jericho, and back before he was his current evil self, he was a New Teen Titan. One who wound up being possessed by something and forming the Wildebeest society, causing the Titans Hunt. Slade kinda sorta ran a sword through his chest. Joe came back, but he was driven insane and did quite a few nasty things to spite his dad for the hell he’d made of his life. Rose was the daughter Slade never knew about, not meeting her until she was already a teenager. Yes, she did come into his life initially during his anti-hero phase, but it was during his return to being a villain that he manipulated her into joining up with him and becoming the new Ravager. Drugging her up, driving her insane, and causing her to gouge her own eye out to match him, just to seek his approval. Rose thankfully broke free from his grip, and Slade will never cease blaming the Titans for the loss of his children. Never once will he blame his own horrific parenting that has ruined the lives of all of his children.
3. Lex Luthor
Lex is such a bad dad that I bet most of you forget that he has a daughter! Lena Luthor was born back in the nineties, the daughter of Lex Luthor and the Contessa Erica Del Portenza. From the start, Lex took advantage of Contessa’s request for an unconscious birthing and left her in a coma, just because he didn’t want to share the love from his daughter. Pretty Lex like, so no real surprise. Then he traded her, literally, swapped his daughter to Brainiac 13 in exchange for control of the B13 tech that had made Metropolis into the city of the future. Let that sink in, Lex traded his daughter to an evil alien robot from the future, in exchange for power. HIS INFANT DAUGHTER! Then Brainiac turned around, aged her, made her something resembling a Coluan, and had her assist him in creating the crisis known as Our Worlds at War. At the end, Lena was returned to her infant state and handed back to Lex by Superman himself, with the words “I told you I’d get her back. Don’t let her go again.” It’s a shame that this character was forgotten just a year or two later, as having a daughter really did give Lex an extra level of depth that really did add to the character. Even if all he ever did was use her to further his own personal evil.
Another trader of offspring, Darkseid traded his son Orion to Highfather, in exchange for Scott Free, as a way of brokering peace. But while Highfather did his best to raise Orion to move past the ways of his father, Darkseid saw to it that Scott was treated like any other child on Apokolips, without knowledge of his heritage. Meanwhile, there is also Kalibak, first born to the mighty Darkseid. His mother Suli, possibly the only thing in the universe Darkseid had ever loved, was killed by Desaad on orders from Darkseid’s own mother Queen Heggra. So Kalibak found himself in the role of a soldier and warrior, constantly seeking to appease and gain the affection of his father. Not that his father is capable of giving it. Though I will say that Darkseid is pretty lenient on his eldest, I mean, at least when he kills Kalibak, Kalibak comes back. Another son of Darkseid is Grayven, a former Kyle Rayner villain who was the bastard son of the dark New God. Grayven seeked to conquer his way to Apokolips and then kill his father….he failed. Then, during the aforementioned Our Worlds At War, he was in league with Brainac 13 just as an attempt to kill his father. Darkseid simply banished him to Earth. Great dad. But hey, he’s a product of bad parenting himself. Bad parenting and the prophecy that he would be killed by his own son Orion.
1. Norman Osborn
Norman has completely destroyed the life of his only son in every major Marvel continuity. Through his own evil and greed, he’s moved his son Harry around as a pawn, treated him harshly, and driven him to drugs. He’s belittled his son and caused him inner turmoil, he drove him to be a supervillain! For fucks sake, Harry’s hatred of Spider-Man comes from Norman’s manipulations, not to mention his faked death. Harry spent his entire life trying to seek the approval of a father who could not have begun to care less about him. He didn’t love his son, he loved himself. He wanted his son to do well only so it would reflect back onto himself, hence the current arc in Amazing Spider-Man. He doesn’t want Harry to join him because he wants to be alongside his son, he wants him there so he can market it. Further push his own image. Norman is an ultimate opportunist, a business man, and a criminal genius. He has no need for a failure of a son, and he’s made it clear throughout the years that if Harry can’t live to please him, then he has other ways of getting Harry in line.
And honorable mention goes to….Glenn Quagmire!
And now let’s talk about the best!
10. Pat Dugan
I wish I could have put Pat further up on the list, but raising my favorite teenage super hero, Courtney Whitmore…Stargirl, isn’t enough to get him too far up. Just enough to put him on the list. Pat was the side kick of Sylvester Pemberton, the original Star Spangled Kid. That made him a member of the original Seven Soldier of Victory, but for the sake of this, not getting into it. Not very familiar with his past, like, at all. His placement is almost completely due to the fact that he’s the step dad of Stargirl. I love the book Stars & STRIPE, and despite that he was a crappy dad to his own son, Mike, his journey as a father in that all too brief title was more than enough to make up for it. He learned how to be a dad, and became the only one that Courtney wanted. And subsequent moments in JSA have only reaffirmed this fact time and time again. Pat is a great dad.
9. Jim Gordon
Commissioner James Gordon of the Gotham PD has two kids. One, little James, who for the life of me I don’t think has appeared outside of Year One, Long Halloween, and Dark Victory. And two, his niece, Barbra Gordon. He took in Babs after the deaths of her parents, when she was a teen, and continued to raise her as his own. He gave her his full support, even after she became Batgirl. Recent continuity has noted that he was fully aware of his daughter’s costumed antics, though her becoming Oracle was something she surprised him with. And even then, he supported her. He helped her become one of the most important characters in the DC universe simply by being there for her, for giving her a strong moral background and support. And depending on who you ask, he may have given her a little genetic support too, as some writers claim that she’s the result of an affair between Jim and his sister in law, Babs’ mom.
8. Jefferson Pierce
Being a superhero dad isn’t easy, especially when your kids didn’t even exist until you’d be around almost thirty years. Such is the case of Black Lightning who has been raising two super powered daughters, both in their late teens to early twenties, as they pursue careers in super heroics. Whether it be Anissa, the former Outsider known as Thunder, who did exactly as her father asked. She went to school, graduated college at the top of her class, and became a super hero the night she graduated. Sure, he didn’t want her to be a super hero, but he still stood behind her and did what he could to help her through her early days. And then there’s the youngest daughter, Jennifer…or Lightning. Who powers up anytime she touches anything electronic, which made her a far bigger trouble to raise then the mass increasing Anissa. Being the baby meant he had already gone through everything with Anissa, so when the time came to handle Jennifer and her powers, he turned to the JSA. Seeking the best help in hero rearing that he could find, in hopes that his youngest would have a chance to control her powers, gain a normal life, and be the hero she wanted.
7. Scott Summers
Scott has one son, Nathan Christopher Summers, born to Madelyne Pryor. Yes, Scott up and bolted on the both of them when Jean was revealed to be alive, so he loses a lot of points from that. But at the same time, Scott risked it all to save his son during the Inferno. Then, when Nathan was infected by the techno-virus, and a lady named Askani showed up saying that his only hope was to be sent to the future, Scott gave up his only son with the understanding he may never see him again, just in hopes that it would allow his first born a chance to survive. During his honeymoon he was given a chance to make amends for that, as he and Jean were transported to the future and given the chance to raise young Nathan for many years before they were returned to their bodies. Currently Nathan is the mutant soldier known as Cable, and father and son have a strained relationship, but Scott has proven that he will give whatever is necessary for the sake of his only son. Even if he had to break his own heart to do it. [Editor’s note: While you do have a point about sending him to the future, I don’t know, I think that the ditching family for the ex should exclude him from this list. That’s pretty high up there on the bad daddy scale.]
6. Reed Richards
The smartest man in the world has two kids, both with abilities. One’s been to hell, one’s been possessed, and he still makes the list. Why? Because when push comes to shove, Reed will move mountains for his kids. He might be a crappy friend, or a distant husband, but he lives for his kids. Do they have easy lives being the kids of the Fantastic Four? Of course not, at any given time a super villain could be ready to attack their house. A few years back social services showed up and tried to take the kids away, and how did Reed go about convincing them not to? He had the woman say she put the kids in a foster house, she told her boss, and inside of an hour the house was wiped off the face of the Earth. As dangerous as their lives are living with their parents, there is no safer place for them. We can only hope that future upheaval doesn’t come from Franklin’s powerless state leading to jealousy at his two year old sister, who has intellect matching her fathers. Either way though, Reed is a proud papa.
5. Jay Garrick
Despite that his only run at actual fathership ended with a pneumonia related death, Jay has devoted himself to being a father figure to the heroic community. In fact, the modern incarnation of the JSA was founded around the idea of taking in young heroes and training them, the elder statesmen playing the role of patriarchs to the next generation. Jay has taken many heroes under his wing, not the least of which is Wally West, the Flash. Jay was riding the lightning long before there was a Barry Allen or a Wally West, and he’s played mentor to virtually every speedster at one time or another. They’ve all come to him, learned from him, found their way under his wing. He’s a kind old man with a loving wife, and the two have never wanting anything more than a family of their own. Through the super human community, the two have managed to find just that. [Editor’s Note: Also rasied Impulse after Max was lost to the Speed Force. Talk about challenging parenting!]
4. Peter Parker
Wait, what? Peter? He doesn’t have a kid! He’s not even married! God bless Marvel, right? Nah, I’m not talking about the core Marvel Peter, I’m talking about the one from Earth 982, MC2. The father of the Amazing, Spectacular Spider-Girl. A Peter Parker who lived through the Clone Saga, and had his daughter returned to him by his clone Kaine. A Peter who lost his leg during his final battle with the Green Goblin, and retired to be with his wife and raise his daughter. He became a forensic scientist, doing the right thing from a police lab instead of out fighting supervillains. He had power, but he had a great responsibility, to be a father to his daughter May. Whom he raised to know the values that drove him through his entire life, that created the heroic Spider-Man. And she went ahead and learned from her old man, carrying on his name and legacy as Spider-Girl. Sure, Peter’s initial reaction was that he didn’t want to see his daughter have the same life he did, he wanted more for her, like a good dad. But when he realized there was nothing he could do to curb her feelings on the matter, he did everything he could to help her become the best she could be. He’s an amazing and supportive father, the kind that raises a hero. In fact, he’s the kind who bred him, as we lead into my number three pick….
And to stand on my soap box for a moment, he’s the kind of character that fans can still relate to. Despite being married with a teenage daughter.
3. Ben Parker
With great power must come great responsiblity. Seven words that forged an icon. Ben Parker, Uncle Ben, in the main modern continuity didn’t survive his debut issue over twenty five years ago, and yet he’s had more lasting power then so many countless others. He’s the man who raised Peter Parker. He took him in after his brother and sister in law died, and raised him as his own. Peter may not have had a story book life, but he had the best his Aunt and Uncle could provide for him, and a strong moral backbone that only Ben could instill. That one little motto drove a great hero through his existence, and has become a form of inspiration to countless others that he’s passed it along to on the way. Not too bad for an old man from Queens. Not too bad at all.
2. Alfred Pennyworth
I know you’re probably thinking that Alfred doesn’t have kids, right? That one factor could cause issues with his presence on the list, I mean, best dads, right? Well, keep in mind one little detail. When Thomas and Martha Wayne died, Bruce was eight years old. When Bruce died….I’m going to say he was thirty eight (I have my own personal Bat timeline that puts him as being Batman for about seventeen or eighteen years before he died (which would put Dick at about twenty three or four). So that’s thirty years of Alfred being Bruce’s one and only father figure. Of taking care of him, no matter what was needed. Of loving him and treating him like his own flesh and blood son. He wasn’t the butler, he was the patriarch of the entire Bat family. Without him there would be no Batman, no Robin, none of it. Without him Bruce Wayne would have most likely died or gone crazy long ago, Alfred was the rock that kept him grounded…..and the field nurse that kept him alive. That didn’t hurt either. And at no point did he turn his back on Bruce, not once through all of it. That’s dedication. That’s love.
1. Jonathan Kent
A Kansas farmer who found a rocket in a field containing an infant, who took him in and raised him as his own. Who brought him up and taught him how to be a man, who stood by him through everything, Who taught a young boy right from wrong, and the importance of being a good man. The man who raised Superman. Yes, Jor-El is his father by blood, but Jonathan Kent raised his son Clark to know the importance of being more man than super. That he may have all of this amazing powers, but he should never forget that they don’t make him better than everyone else. While Bruce Wayne has trouble telling the difference between who was the true identity, himself or Batman; Clark never had such an issue. Clark Kent was Superman. At the end of the day, when he went to bed, he would be the man, not Superman. That’s all because of his parents, the way they raised him. Just a pair of Kansas farmers, who’d have thunk it?
It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you, there’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do. I bless the rains down in Africa. Gonna take some time to do the things we never have, oooh
The secret origin of Nightwing and Flamebird….REVEALED! I found myself disappointed in the fact that the missing time of Chris Kent from his disappearance in Last Son, until his reappearance a few months ago, was incredibly paint by numbers. He winds up in the zone, the aging thing happens, he hides around the jail in the Phantom Zone, he gets caught, he gets tortured, he gets rescued. Paint by numbers. Thara, on the other hand, intrigued me greatly. Her history features far more impactful moments, such as her parents’ deaths during the Battle of Kandor, and her relationship with Zor-El and Alura. I’ve spent months making fun of Thara for being Kara Zor-El’s one note friend who happens to also be a super hero. But after reading about her life, and what she’s been through. The things that brought her and Chris together, I found myself liking the character far more than I ever expected to. Kudos.
Cable stands as proof that Messiah War has completely lost its pace, as the story continues to drag on without a lot truly happening. This arc is in dire need of a wrap up, and fast, before both books suffer from prolonged crossover syndrome. Cable’s journey with his adopted daughter, the mutant messiah Hope, is far more interesting then stretching an arc out to Dragonball Z levels of fight slowdown. Seriously, I hate to bust out the DBZ, but they’ve essentially been in the same fight for three issues now. That’s treading into the territory.
Outsiders continues to slowly move forward, at what I’m calling a Classy Tomasi pace, which is just right by me. Deathstroke versus the team in this issue was very well handled, and the interaction between him and Brion was brilliant after their fight last year in Last Will and Testament. Though I think that having the Outsiders doing the now famous “JLA vs Deathstroke” pose was a bit much. I mean, it’s a cool little thing to throw in, and it made me laugh, but…..ah hell, what am I saying, it just adds to Slade’s badass cred. Speaking of which, Creeper had one hell of a moment of his own this issue. Creepy little bastard.
Did Spider-Girl just…..did May really…..is April really such a……that girls real name is Connie what……Peter needs to give up all the information on who…..? What, you think I’m going to just tell you? BUY SPIDER-GIRL!
Supergirl is definitely to the point where it’s consistently good, not just readable. Kara has developed a personality these past few months, as well as become something less of a sex symbol. Yes, I’m giving props to giving the girl a pair of shorts! As well as to the way they addressed Kara having to confess to Lois that she accidentally killed her sister. Though I still want to know what the deal is with Lana!
I don’t want to talk about Invincible. Or what Kirkman did. He’s a very bad man. [Editor’s Note: I got Grey to talk about this and he said, “Don’t get me wrong, as far as the book and the character development of Mark Grayson go, it was brilliant”].
Dark Reign FF is fun, and it makes me want Hickman to come on board even sooner! He’s such a natural fit for these characters, that he has them down in just four issues. I love the use of over the top super science, and I love his handling of the kids, but…..Norman. I want to know how the hell Norman is going to get off scott free after firing a loaded gun, repeatedly, at Reed and Sue’s kids. I want to know how the hell that’s going to be hashed out.
I don’t want to claim disappointment in PG, but I didn’t think Ultra Humanite needed yet another origin story. He’s had plenty, and to be honest, he’s not that intriguing of a villain. Yes, I get that Peeg doesn’t have a giant roster of rogues, but, eh, it’s a first arc, and I love the art. I’m biased.
Captain America was amazing. I know, right? Big number six hundred! Whooo! Way oversized and filled to the brim, complete with a story by Mark Waid! I loved the format of this book, and enjoyed seeing the different angles remembering Steve. Even Norman’s…..especially Norman’s. And now we have promise to see the return of Steve, something Bru claims was his plan from the start, and hearing it like that? Let’s hope that Hitch can be on time.
Streets of Gotham was a nice little breath of fresh air, as I do love the supporting cast of the Bat family. But to skip past praising Dini, I would like to say that it was wonderful to see Marc Andreyko write Kate Spencer again. Yes, that’s right, my favorite part of this great book was the backup feature starring my favorite recently cancelled superheroine.
Iron Man keeps getting dumber, and this issue he went and talked to the Crimson Dynamo. All while Pepper got a name! Pepper Potts….Rescue! How many issues is this arc, anyway? This was like, part nine! I want to see Tony back on top!
Dan Slott continues to drive the nail in with Mighty Avengers, showing that he’s truly the master of anything he tries to do. His Reed was perfectly arrogant to the point where it was his downfall, his Hank was motivated and so many steps further ahead than anyone expected, and his Cassie Lang is….well, she’s Cassie Lang. The characters continue to feel right, and hey, Jocasta got to make out with God. Lots of wins as they book gets ready to further explore it’s status quo.
In War of Kings, we saw the Darkhawk armor, without Chris Powell, kill Lilandra. This issue of Ascension went ahead and showed us how that came to be, as well as the moments immediately following. Gotta love DnA, they leave no stone unturned, and not plot unexplored. Such an advantage to writing every aspect of a crossover.
Legacy was the last Xavier centric issue, as he’s been wrapped back into the Dark X-Men event coming up between Uncanny and Dark Avengers, but this issue had him come full circle. Returning to the base where Exodus repaired his mind, and bringing it down. Giving Exodus a new purpose in life, while Charles finds himself complete again. Yes, the issue ended with the standard Norman appearance, and yes, starting with the next issue it’s all Rogue, all the time. But this path through Xavier’s legacy has been a real treat. Kudos to Mike Carey for pulling it off!
What I read this week:
- Action Comics Annual
- Batman: Streets of Gotham
- Power Girl
- Amazing Spider-Man Family Spectacular Spider-Girl
- Captain America
- Dark Reign Fantastic Four
- Invincible Iron Man
- Mighty Avengers
- War of Kings: Ascension
- X-Men Legacy
Best of the week:
- X-Men Legacy
- Batman: Streets of Gotham
- Invincible Iron Man
The Gold Standard
Tags: Gold Standard, Grey Scherl