Horror 365, Movie(s) 121: Horror Heroes

I love comics. Alright maybe not so many of the mainstream titles–still, I’ve always been fond of Spider-Man, mainly for being kinda mouthy. I deeply admire Wolverine’s generally bad attitude. Daredevil has always had pretty strong appeal for me as well. But even within the Marvel and DC multiverses, I’m drawn more to quirker and what I suppose one might call “cultier” figures, characters like Howard The Duck, Iron Fist, Plastic Man, Shang-Chi. Then of course there are titles from other imprints and outfits that occupy a truly cult-level: The Flaming Carrot, Grendel, Men In Black, Ranxerox, The Tick, V, The Watchmen.

But reserved in the black, icy pit where my heart should be is a special spot for supers that have some connection to horror and the supernatural. Here’s my Top 10.

#10 The Question

To be fair, The Question only has one story arc that’s kind of supernatural, but I wanted to include him because he was clearly an influence on Darkman and Rorschach.

#9 Deadman

Deadman is just fun. My first experience of him is from Justice League Dark. I thought he was pretty entertaining, kind of a supernatural version of Plastic Man in terms of attitude. I love anyone who calls Batman “Bats.”

#8 Hannibal King

Hannibal King predates John Constantine by a good 15 years. They look similar, but King is at least partly a vampire. I’d love to see him put to some really good use in some vehicle other than Blade (which I loathe). Also, Ryan Reynolds–no. Fine as Deadpool, irritating as King.

#7 Man-Thing

Whatever knows fear burns at the touch of the Man-Thing. How freaking cool is that? Man-Thing seems like a cynical ripoff of Swamp Thing, and on the surface it’s exactly that. But it goes way darker really fast. Plus, The Nexus Of All Realities!

#6 Michael Morbius

Okay now we’re gettin’ into the meat of this thing. Despite my utter comtempt for Jared Leto, I still can’t wait for this flick! Admittedly Leto doesn’t look too bad as Morbius in the trailers. His nose could maybe be a little more feral but whatever. Morbius is one of the only vampires that doesn’t want to make me throw shit at the screen. I know he starts out as a Spider-Man villain, but he’s another one of these troubled emo edgelords created through good intentions and an experiment gone awry. He struggles with his vampiridity and later goes on to fight supernatural baddies himself.

#5 John Constantine

First of all I love the fact that Constantine smokes. I also love that he’s a Brit and a conman and can’t be bothered to look for much less find any fucks to give. Current favorite iteration is Matt Ryan in Justice League Dark. That, to me, is exactly how John Constantine is supposed to sound and act. Movie-wise Keanu Reeves was meh, but Tilda Swinton was a hell of a Gabriel. Hell…angel…see what I did there?

#4 Daimon Hellstrom

Who wouldn’t love The Son Of Satan? Devils and possession were big in 1973. It was, after all, the year of The Exorcist. When my family left the inner city part of Pittsburgh for its nearby suburban hellscape, my comics somehow never made the trip. Even at the tender young age of 9 I already had some primo shit in my collection including the above pictured issue. I think my uber Catholic grandmother had something to do with its disappearance. She didn’t understand that Hellstrom was trying to infact thwart his progenitor, and she became very concerned about where my immortal soul was gonna end up. Which I guess is kinda sweet in its way.

#3 Spawn

First of all that cape had me immediately. Also, like Daimon Hellstrom, we’ve got another servant of Hell saying “Nah, fuck you, Imma do my own thing here.” Ballsy. Unlike lots of folks, I thought the movie was pretty groovy. I’d like to see a bigger, better, badder, darker one, but yeah, I dig me some Spawn.

#2 The Crow

Surely I’m not the the only one sensing a pattern here. Lots of these folks have some serious vengeance issues. And anyone who knows anything about me at all knows I’m always a big fan of serious vengeance issues. I loved Brandon Lee’s Crow but was lukewarm on everything that followed. I didn’t dislike it. Just never had the same impact.

Honorable Mentions

Groot- Yeah his roots (I crack myself up) are pretty firmly in science fiction, but he did show up with at least a horror edge in Tales To Astonish #13.
Solomon Kane- He’s a little goody-goody for me. After all, dude is a Puritan, but he’s still a badass. He started out as a pulp fiction hero created by Robert W. Chambers.
Swamp Thing- I like Swamp Thing just fine, but for me Man-Thing is just a little darker, a little edgier
Venom- I was an instant fan of Tom Hardy’s Venom. It was also the first time I didn’t wanna see Eddie Brock meet with a quick, unceremonious demise. I guess Venom is another more sci-fi than horror figure, but the whole “voices in your head thing,” that’s enough horror fuel for me.

And coming in at #1–Ghost Rider

I. Love. Ghost Rider. I wanted to be Ghost Rider. Motorcycle, chains, black leather, and The Penance Stare? I mean come on. This was also one of the titles that vanished somewhere between my family’s Great Suburban Flight and my grandmother’s first Purge Of The Unholy. Anyway, when oh when is someone gonna make a good god damn Ghost Rider movie? Let’s start by playing it as straight up supernatural horror instead of superhero action, and we might get somewhere. Guillermo Del Toro, what do you think?

And that’s my list. Lots of people aren’t on it. Feel free to agree or disagree in the Comments.

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