My Ten Favorite Fictional Characters

Yeah, just call me List Guy. That’s me.

There is nothing more influential or important in my life than fiction. Fiction is a powerful concept. Done properly, it has the power to give a person hope, and even belief. It’s given me a lot throughout my life. And in many ways, some of the fictional worlds I’ve visited are as real to me as this one. And the men and women who inhabit those worlds are as real to me as you are. (Which is somewhat ironic considering you’re reading this in cyberspace.)

Here are my top ten favorite male characters. The girls deserve their own category.

10. The Rock

Dwayne Johnson was a third generation Professional Wrestler, but his first love was football. Sadly he was cut from his team. But that worked out well for wrestling fans across the world. If Hulk Hogan made wrestling famous, and Stone Cold made it bad ass, then the Rock made it cool to watch. He may not be the best technical wrestler in the WWE locker room, but over four years after his retirement, The Rock is still the most entertaining. Whether as a Face (Babyface- good guy) or as a Heel (Villain) the audience loved him, and tuned in just as mush to watch him make fun of people as they did to watch him whip their candy asses! And if you think I’m a dork, “Get ready… your candy ass is next!”

9. Mal Reynolds

Joss Whedon’s epic story of a band of thieves on the edge of the frontier of space was part Western and part Buddhist philosophy. Each character was brilliant, beautiful and worthy of their own praise, but really, who doesn’t love Mal? Captain Mal Reynolds predates Jack Sparrow by a year as the greatest pirate who ever lived. Not the most successful, mind you. But like Sparrow, Mal was the last of a dying breed. His sense of honor and loyalty was constantly in conflict with his acceptance of his narrowing reality. Despite himself, Mal was determined to be a hero even when there was no room for heroes left in the ‘Verse.

8. Jack Knight

There was never a more curious hero in comics history than James Robinson’s Starman. Jack Knight was the son of the original Starman, Ted Knight. When his Brother David takes up the mantle and is murdered on his first night, Ted asks Jack to take over as Starman. And he says no. Jack is a pop culture antiquities dealer, more in love with the past than the world around him. He has no interest in costumes and silly superheroics. But reluctantly, he takes up his father’s legacy to protect the few things he does love in this world. What follows is more than just another superhero monthly. It’s an exploration and appreciation of history. And a story of the love between a father and his estranged son. Starman may just be the moment that mainstream comics truly entered the world of literature.

7. Indiana Jones

What I love about Indiana Jones is that he isn’t simply another action hero. He’s a brilliant man whose interests is more about exploring the rich depths of history than finding adventure. Indy is an example for the boys of my generation, a man of brains and brawn. The man with the fedora is still my idol.

6. Jesse Custer

I’ve never ridden a horse. Never liked guns or cigarettes. Hate beer. Yet there is special part of me that is pure cowboy, even if the rest of me clearly isn’t. Jesse Custer, raised to be a Preacher, is in a similar predicament. His garb and profession may say spiritual, but the truth is he is wild and wicked. In Garth Ennis’ Preacher, Custer goes off in search of God. He cuts a bloody swath across America in the process, righting wrongs and schoolin’ assholes. He’s a modern day cowboy.

5. Lucas Scott

One Tree Hill’s main character appears on the surface to be just another pretty face on The WB/ CW. But if you pause long enough, you’ll find that Lucas Scott is the exception that proves the rule. The show is often narrated by Lucas, who quotes some of history’s finest pieces of literature. Unlike many of the other archetypes that inhabit the teen shows OTH is compared to, Lucas’ brooding nature is due less to the fact that he looks cool doing it, than to the fact that he’s a writer at heart.

4. Michael Garibaldi

Babaylon 5’s former chief of security was the show’s most relateable character. Garibaldi brought a sense of nostalgia to the futuristic show. He was a Bruce Willis character with more depth and the detective skills of Sherlock Holmes. His role in the show shifted from grunt, to soldier, to villain, to confidant, to alcoholic and in the end all were truly human. What makes him truly compelling is the way Garibaldi constantly gains ground only to lose everything. His demons were never more than a hairsbreadth away from killing him.

3. John Wayne

Yes, I know John Wayne was a real person. But in many ways he is archetype, arguably one which inspired the creation of half the characters on this list. Hell, one of Custer’s companions in the book is the ghost of John Wayne. John Wayne is the spirit of all that was once good about America. Smart, hard-working, loyal, honest and tough. He’s what men like me aspire to be. Somewhere along the way, we lost that part of us. And when I watch his movies, I am reminded of that noble absence.

2. Cyclops

Everyone’s favorite X-Man is Wolverine. But not mine. Scott Summers is often over-looked but argued by many creators as the greatest X-Man, and possibly even more important to Charles Xavier’s dream of equality than Xavier himself. He spent most of his life at a distance from those around him because his powers had grown out of control and posed a danger. Cyclops eyes emit an energy blast which can only be contained by his eyelids or special ruby quartz glasses. Xavier pulled him from an orphanage and trained him to lead the X-Men, and out of those ashes grew a leader who has guided mutant history. Oh, and he also found love in a beautiful red-haired telepath named Jean Grey. He’s Captain America with a hot girlfriend and a handicap.

1. Peter Parker

Peter Parker is popular for one reason. He’s the character identified with most by every geek in the world. Spider-man is who I would be if I gained powers. Smart, thoughtful and well meaning, with a biting sense of wit that keeps the World from crushing him. I am Peter Parker.


10 responses to this post.

  1. Great list, List Man!! I love The Duke:) And The Rock is cool, but Stone Cold is so much… SOmething-er. My favorite X Man is Gambit- people give me shit for that as often as it comes up, I also love Rogue. And Storm… I love that comic. I’m not sure I’ll be able to do this one, but I do think it’s pretty awesome:)


  2. Well, if you do, you can’t use more than 3 Vonnegut characters or its cheating.

    Ach, I hate Gambit… and Storm. But for very different reasons. Gambit is everything that is wrong with what people think about New Orleans. “Clans is just what dey call fam’ly in da big easy, mes amis.” There is so much wrong with that, it makes my head hurt.

    And Storm stopped being cool after she got rid of the mohawk and leather. Now she’s kind of personality-bereft.


  3. Posted by Ad Astra on June 9, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    Cyloooooopse! I always thought he was sexy in the movies. My mom’s a huge fan of Nightcrawler. And then Mal Reynolds…. oh man. I’ve seen Serenity like, a million times. I can’t wait for dollhouse either.


  4. Yeah, well i liked the first two movies, but after seeing the third one I was pissed. Cyclops is the most important character and he was barely in the last two movies. And that bullshit scene where they killed him off camera? Brett Ratner needs a whuppin.


  5. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That figures! -About Gambit, that is:p It was the accent a little, but I dig the drawing… If that makes any sense. My fascination with Storm is probably related to my fascination with the weather… How cool it would be to control it… -Check, limit of three:D


  6. You know… you can tell where I’m from based on our reaction to being able to control the weather. Most people think “Man, I would make lightning and tiny tornadoes to fly on…” Whereas my reaction would be “I’m getting rid of this GODdamn humidity! It’s gonna be 88 degrees with a slight breeze for the rest of ever!!!!”


  7. Posted by Becky on June 10, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Love the list. You truly are the King of Lists.

    Love the Duke, my mom’s absolute favorite character of all time!

    I have always thought Cyclops was the unsung hero of the X-men.

    I am so glad you included Lucas Scott on your list and even more happy to learn that I am not the only person over the age of 20 that watches One Tree Hill.

    Indiana Jones, my hero.

    I’ve never heard of the Starman comics but you have piqued my interest. Which is the first one?


  8. I’m a HUGE OTH fan. I had no intention of watching it, but it’s one of those things where it was on and I didn’t feel like getting up. Next thing you know I was at Blockbuster trying to get the entire first season. I wasn’t too impressed with the majority of this season, but I still love it. I’m hoping Lucas marries Brooke. I’m pretty much in love with Sophia Bush.

    I’m not sure what you mean by the first one, but Starman was published in the 90s. The entire series is available in Trade Paperback form. The first trade is called Sins of the Father. They are also publishing the Starman omnibus this week, which is like the first 20 issue or something. I may buy it myself. It’s my second favorite comic of all time, right behind Preacher.


  9. Posted by Becky on June 10, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    I really want Peyton and Lucas to end up together. I never liked Lucas and Brooke together, it always felt too forced. Either he was wild or she was timid, both going against the grain of their individual characters.

    By “first: I meant which trade to start with. I work at the local Borders and our inventory just had them listed so I was trying to decide which to start with. I will just check out the omnibus. thanks!


  10. Posted by M to the Licious on June 17, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    I love that you are “List Guy” haha. My favorite fiction guy is probably Jack Bauer…he is hot and a total badass, what more could you want?


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