Time travel is a tricky thing. For a start you have to avoid changing history and breaking the laws of causalit,y both of which are not things you exactly want to do as they usually result in your potential erasure from existance (see Back To The Future) or an almighty space-time paradox (see Doctor Who). However, there is another danger that is often overlooked when it comes to going for a quick jaunt back in time, which is that you have a high chance of being killed by the locals. When considering where to travel in time to, your best bet is to consult a history book as if it were a weather forcast. "Ok, 1918. The year starts of with some rather heavy war, but that is expected to die down towards the end of the year and in its place there will be a strong front of Spanish Flu. Throughout the year there may be some smatterings of institutionalised racism and sexism along with some sufferage showers. Time travellers are advised to take an umbrella."
So, what happens when superheros from, say, the 1980's get transported back in time to both the Wild West and Ancient Eygpt without having time to consult their handy History Forecast. Well, this is What Were They Thinking, the place where we look at the stupidest, most ill-advised things in comic book history, so what do you think happened?
So, here on What Were They Thinking? (the place where we look at all of the stupidest, most ill-advised things in the history of comics) we don't tend to look at current storylines (so storylines published with in the last year, currently being published or to be published soon), we mostly look at storylines from at least 5 years ago and, more often than not, earlier. However, there has been one occassion where we have looked at a more recent storyline, when we looked at Spider-Man's Clone Conspiracy crossover. That was what Marvel were doing last year, but what about DC. They were doing Rebirth at the time, which was their way of fixing the dumpster fire that was the New 52. It's not like they would do anything to ruin their legacy whilst trying to salvage it right? They'd never bring back classic characters from classic storylines that should be left well alone right?
Sorry, this weeks What Were They Thinking is going to be a bit shorter than usual. I urgently need to go out and buy a large whole tuna and a plane ticket to California.
So, Spider-Man. He does whatever a spider can, which apparently includes swinging overhead, spinning a web any size and catching thieves like flies. However, it seems that what spiders are best at is accruing enemies (just ask the worlds approximately 427 million Arachnophobes), and seen as our favourite wall-crawler has all the abilities of a spider it should come as no surprise that he has made his fair share of enemies during his 55 years in publication. Indeed, he has one of the greatest rogues galleries in all of comics, but who are his best villains, the elite of arachnid adversaries? Well, I guess we need a list.
So, Batman. He's the second oldest character still in publication in mainstream American Superhero comics, having been published non-stop since his debut in May of 1939. He also has unarguably the greatest gallery of villains of any superhero, ranging from the stone cold classics (such as The Joker, Penguin, Two-Face and Catwoman) to the underappraciated gems (Calender Man, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee) to the down right ridiculous (Ten-Eyed Man). And it is also fair to say that he has the best supporting cast of any character in comics, be it his Bat-Family (the various Robins, Bat-Girls and Bat-Women) or his allies and confidents (Alfred Pennyworth and Jim Gordon being the standouts here). So with such scope and range in what to look for, it should be fairly easy to find Batman stories that can be classified as classics of the comic book medium. But which is the best?
As per usual I have given you ten options to start with and you can add your own. You can add specific comic issues if you so please, but try to refer to any multi-issue storylines by name (e.g. Batman #492-511 would be refered to as Knightfall). Elseworlds stories do count, as do any World's Finest or team-up stories provided Batman is a title character (so no The Brave and The Bold stories). We are not including any Bat-family storylines that do not include Batman, nor Justice League or Outsiders, Batman-centric stories only.
So, two weeks ago on What Were They Thinking (the place where we take a look at all of the stupidest, most ill-advised things in comics history) we covered a lovely little Batman story called "The Widening Gyre" (I still have no idea what a gyre is nor why one should be getting wider). In that story, the writer quite literally takes a piss all over Frank Miller's seminal Batman Begins story. Now, that got me thinking. We've already covered Frank on WWTT before for his more recent Batman storylines, but Frank is a very prolific writer and has written some true masterpieces in his time. Surely, those two Batman comics can't be truly indicative of his work post-millennium can they?
Ok guys, time for another caption contest, where you have to come with the funniest replacement dialogue for a random comic panel of my choosing. This week you have to replace all of the dialogue for this panel:
Everyone can have a maximum of 3 entries, entries must be in by next Wednesday (March 15th) and All Entries Must Be PG-13.
You know, hindsight is really annoying, serving only to remind you that you could have done something better if you'd have done it slightly differently. In hindsight, yes I should have separated this into Live-Action and Cartoon, as I did with the Best Superhero TV Shows. But I didn't, so we're just gonna have to deal with it at this point.
Anyway, I think we'll get on with the list shall we?
Honourable Mentions: Melissa Benoist- Supergirl (Supergirl 2015- Pres), Tom Welling- Clark Kent (Smallville 2001-11)
We haven't done a "Greatest Villains" List yet, which is both surprising and unsurprising. We've done the top 10 best rogues galleries, but we haven't actually gone in and looked at any of them in detail and ranked the supervillains in terms of how memorable they are and the effect they've had on the readers and the superheroes they plague. And it's somewhat easy to see why. What is the point of doing a Batman count down, you know that the Joker is waiting at the end, it can't be anyone else. Same for Superman, X-Men, Green Lantern, Fantastic Four, Thor, Captain America, they all have that one foe that is just head and shoulders above the rest. However, Spider-Man is different. Sure he has some villains who are more recognisable than others, but he doesn't have a distinct "arch-nemesis", if anything, he has three at the very least. So, that's what we're doing this week. As per usual, I've given you 10 options to start with and you can add your own choices. If you do add answers, please give both supervillain name and civillian identity, because some names are carried over by different people.