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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Badass Week: The Comic Book Toughman Lifetime Achievement Award

Badass Week Rages On!


And if you haven't voted for the Toughest Man in Comics yet, it's your last chance, since the deadline's Thursday at Midnight!

But while you're trying to decide on my six nominees for the title, you may be wondering how exactly I came to nominate those particular characters. Well, allow me to assure you: My method was full of science. And it certainly had nothing to do with drinking half a bottle of whiskey and then writing down the only six badass characters I could remember.

I did, in fact, have criteria. Specifically, I tried to avoid characters that were based on real people (hence the lack of Mr. T, Leonidas of Sparta, Chuck Norris, or Stagger Lee); and I tried to hit as many different genres as I could, with a war character, a vigilante, a sword-and-sorcery hero, and so on. Also, I tried to go with people who stood out even among their peers, which did a good job of cutting out Marv, Hartigan, Dwight, and Wallace, since I'm pretty sure that once you set foot within Basin City, you immediately get 400% tougher and start thinking in fragmented Mickey Spillaine dialogue.

But even so, there were a few characters that--despite being total badasses in their own right--didn't make the cut, so before we get to tonight's presentation of the ISB Lifetime Achievement Award, I'd like to take a moment to go over The Honorable Mentions:

The Goon: Despite the fact that I own every issue of the Dark Horse series, the trade collecting the pre-DH comics, a Fancy-Pants Hardcover, a complete set of action figures, and a sketch by Eric Powell, I completely forgot that the Goon existed during my roundup of the baddest of the badass.

This is probably my failing, but the fact that I couldn't remember him for two days after seeing Sgt. Rock stab a Nazi in the throat with a six-inch splinter of wood and steal his gun so he could kill a few more Nazis is a legitimate defense on that part. But still: The Goon ain't no joke, considering that he bashed a man's head in with a rock when he was ten years old and then went on to brain Hellboy with a wrench as an adult.

Iron Fist/Shang Chi: I'd originally intended to include both of these guys in the vote, but felt like having two Marvel Martial Arts heroes was pretty much cheating, and ended up putting a lot of thinking into deciding for myself who was tougher. Shang Chi is, after all, The Master of Kung Fu, whose own father, the evil Fu Manchu, sent five deadly assassins to murder him on his fifteenth birthday. Danny Rand, however, was sent to certain death at age nineteen by the sinister machinations of the August Personage in Jade, who recognized him as a potential threat to his evil schemes, and ended up punching a dragon to death and stealing the power of its heart, gaining the ability to make his fist like unto a thing of iron.

That, my friends, is a tough choice.

But then I realized that Karate Kid was still a teenager when he kicked Darkseid in the face, and that pretty much trumps a narrow victory over Zaran the Weapons Master and zee rest of Batroc's Brigade.

Takashi Kamiyama: Cromartie High's only A-student, Kamiyama is a man who walks a lonely path, since everyone else in school is a total badass. He's like a rabbit living among lions. But then again...

"Damn, that rabbit rocks!"

Usagi Yojimbo: And speaking of rabbits who are totally hardcore, I refer you to the panel at left, which sees Miyamoto Usagi engaging in a duel to the death with a samurai driven mad by the voices of demons who fights with a black-bladed spear.

And he does that sort of thing all the time.

Scott Pilgrim: Not only is he the toughest fighter in Ontario, but Scott Pilgrim once punched a guy so hard he flew around the world, and that was before he broke up with a girl named Knives so that he could date an American delivery girl who went to a ninja college on a mountain in the sky.

Sorry if that was a comma splice, but if I try to write more than two sentences about Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim saga, my hands reflexively make the metal sign, and I lose the ability to type.

Tough guys, every last one of them. But not quite on the level of tonight's ISB Lifetime Achiever.

Longtime ISB readers will realize that one of my favorite characters has been conspicuously absent from the list of toughguys since the beginning of the week, and with good reason: If I put this guy into the vote, there wouldn't even be a contest. After all, the Toughest Man in Comics is still just a man...

And this dude's a ONE MAN ARMY CORPS!


Yes, his legacy lives on in a group of murderous indestructable cyborgs created by Batman--which, surprisingly, is not nearly as radical as it sounds--but the original OMAC, as envisioned by Jack Kirby in 1971, is mind-blowingly awesome.

He is, bar none, Jack Kirby's ass-kickingest creation, and you can take that to the bank. Why? Because while Orion may have a better backstory and motivation, OMAC does absolutely nothing except roll around the grim and perilous future of The World That's Coming!, beating the living hell out of anyone who gets in the way of his mission of peace.

It is beautiful.

And it all happens in glorious Kirbyscope, wherein every issue not only opens with a full-page splash panel, but then is immediately followed by a double-page spread of untold carnage. And nowhere is this better than in OMAC #2, wherein a global crime boss known as Mr. Big hires an entire city full of assassins to kill OMAC. I've talked about it before and often, but it's been a while, so in case you missed it, pay attention and click for larger images.

This is page one.

This is page two.

And in the issue after that one, he fights a hundred thousand foes. And just in case there was still a small shred of doubt in your mind, here's a picture of OMAC punching seven people.


There is no greater fight comic known to man. And that is why the One Man Army Corps is the standard by which all other comic book badasses must be judged. Because as we all well know...


Blogger L8on said...

I don't get nearly enough OMAC in my daily life. Thank god for the ISB.

7/06/2006 1:08 AM

Blogger Kevin said...

He fought and defeated 100,000 assassins? I've just finished reading the entire back log of ISB entries and I don't remember seeing any scans of that because if I had you can be certain I would be freaking out days later.

7/06/2006 1:27 AM

Blogger Chris said...

You forgot Lone Wolf. That comic is pretty much one ten-thousand-page-long sustained Tantric F@#!-Yeah moment.

7/06/2006 1:36 AM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

For your edification.

"He is special! He is ready! He must fight a task force of... A HUNDRED THOUSAND FOES!"

7/06/2006 1:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That outfit is just another tribute to how unbeleiveably tough he is. Even if it's ridiculous, who's going to tell the freaking one man army corps what he can and can't wear?

I never even heard of OMAC before going through the ISB. I am filled with shame.

7/06/2006 1:51 AM

Blogger SmoothJimmyApollo said...

I am happy to see The Goon get some love. That splash page has been my computer's desktop image for quite some time.

7/06/2006 2:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll second Ogami Itto aka Lone Wolf and Cub for Lifetime Achievement Badass. Over the course of the series he ends up killing off pretty much every other badass samurai and/or ninja in Japan. While pushing around his infant son in a push-cart.

I'm also surprised Hellboy doesn't get a mention. Here's a guy routinely gets into fist-fights with demon gods AND super-Nazis.

7/06/2006 2:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not even an honorable mention for Rorschach? Feh.

7/06/2006 4:09 AM

Blogger Dotan Dimet said...

I'll third Ito Ogami; not only does he kill badass ninja and samurai left and right, his opponents routinely pause while bleeding their guts out to compliment his technique before they expire. And by 'routinely', I mean 'every freakin issue'.

7/06/2006 4:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"OMAC does absolutely nothing except roll around the grim and perilous future of The World That's Coming!, beating the living hell out of anyone who gets in the way of his mission of peace."

That's beautiful man...

7/06/2006 5:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, Karate Kid does trump Shang Chi and Iron Fist, OMAC was truly a Kirby unique badass, The Goon has a great backstory but, please, please, in your most excellent badass week, do not forget Groo. This guy loves to fight armies for fun. Note issue 100 in the Epic line. Read it and see if you don't think that Groo isn't a badass mofo in that.

7/06/2006 5:45 AM

Blogger Martin said...

You should really point out that Usagi's enemy's spear also steals the souls of its victims. Because that's the kind of guy Miyamoto Usagi must fight.

Actually, I like the modern OMACs, but then again I really like armies of robots shooting around in the "arrogant hovering/flying" pose. I would never have read OMAC if it weren't for them, and we have to thank Brother Eye for that.

7/06/2006 5:56 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the greatest week ever.

I never read the Kirby Omac, only the Byrne, and that was cool.

I loves me some Goon, but Goon doesnt work alone, he has Franky, Master of one of the greatest diciplines known to man...the KNIFE TO THE EYE.

I love Lone Wolf and yeah he's uber violent but it takes more than that to be a badass in my opinion, you need a certain amount of style too. You have to kick ass, take names, while looking like one smooth cat baby.

7/06/2006 6:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I reread two issues of the Goon, this very evening.

Issue 12: Goon has a fistfight with a robot and punches a hole right thru its head.

Issue 13: Goon wrestles, then uppercuts, a shark.

7/06/2006 8:20 AM

Blogger Phil Looney said...

Being a man who has read the complete run of Lone Wolf and Cub, I have to agree he's pretty awesome.

But he is not on OMAC scale. In that issue where OMAC punches 7 guys in the fac at once, he also punches another 8 or 9 guys at once while busting through a brick wall.

I hate the new false OMAC that DC has given us.

7/06/2006 8:34 AM

Blogger Jon said...

Omac killed his hundred thousand enemies because they saw him "flying the hoverchair," the favorite euphemism of the future.

Seriously, what's up with the OMAC art, especially the cover to OMAC 3 (or 1, for that matter)? Did Kirby take a adult education course from Marston or something?

7/06/2006 9:24 AM

Blogger J'onn J'onzz, Martian Manhunter said...

Cromartie is hilarious!

7/06/2006 10:58 AM

Blogger Spencer Carnage said...

I'm going to abstain from this voting until Freddie or Mechazawa get official recognition.

7/06/2006 12:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No love for the Shaolin Cowboy either?

7/06/2006 12:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry guys, as much as I LOVED Itto Ogami; AKA, Lone Wolf and Cub, that was based on a REAL DUDE!

And I believe the Super-Blog rules were NO REAL DUDES.

Anyway...what about LOBO?!?

He killed EVERYONE on his PLANET!

He can knock Superman's dick in the dirt!

I'm not a huge fan of the Main Man (my younger brother is though), but you gotta say the Last Czarnian is hella-tough!


7/06/2006 1:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmm....y'know what?

NOW I don't remember if Itto Ogami is based on a REAL dude or not?!

I thought I read once it WAS based on some folklore.

NOW...I dunno.

Damn Aluminum in my antiperspirant is giving me altzheimers.

I'd better stay stinky but still keep some thinky.


7/06/2006 1:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jonah Hex should have at least got a mention on the bad-ass list.

Who else goes to the trouble of setting up a gatling gun to dispose of one guy who pissed him off a year before. :)

Mike Nielsen

7/06/2006 2:54 PM

Blogger Eric said...

Every time I see "Ogami Itto" I read it as "Origami Itto", which is a hell of a lot funnier if you've read Samurai Cat Goes To The Movies

7/06/2006 4:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Larry, I say God is a badger, and I say the badest of the bad asses is Mike Baron's Badger

7/06/2006 10:07 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

To Respond:

Despite the fact that I'm a pretty big Sergio Aragon├ęs fan, I have never read Groo. This is a fact that Tug assures me will cause the entire internet comics community to grant me status as a pariah and occasionally spit on me, but back issues are hard to come by in these parts, and I'm reasonably certain it's not available in trade. I want it, though.

Similarly, I've never really been able to get into Lone Wolf and Cub, although it's only fair to point out that at one point, Usagi does run across Lone Goat and Kid, and that's pretty awesome. For the record, though, I think Manji from Blade of the Immortal is a total badass, especially that time he told a guy he was going to kill him, and the guy was like: "With that little sword?" and Manji dropped sixteen blades on the ground and told him to take his pick. That's hot.

Jonah Hex was another one that I forgot to consider for some reason.

And Rorschach, much like Wolverine, is one of those guys who literally redefined comics by being a badass. Much in the same way as comics would never be the same after "You've had yer chance, now it's MY turn!", there are very few things that can possibly top "I'm not trapped in here with you..."

There's just so much in there, like in OMAC that sort of qualifies him for something beyond just being the Toughest Man in Comics.

Maybe the meanest.

7/06/2006 11:32 PM

Blogger Filthy McMonkey said...

Honorable mentions list.

Bunch of different genres.

Westerns not good enough for ya? Even after Chuck Norris' Western spectacular?

Where the hell is the Jonah Hex love, man?

7/06/2006 11:35 PM

Blogger Filthy McMonkey said...

And I'll take Kamandi over OMAC any day.

Possibly (and it's an arguable point) less punching, but way more talking monkeys. And lots of Kirby World to Come backdrop.

7/06/2006 11:37 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

But see, Kamandi is OMAC's grandson from an alternate timeline where OMAC failed to prevent the Great Catastrophe!

And I defy any of you to read through the entirity of Justice Riders and then force yourself to think about Westerns. It is not easy.

7/07/2006 12:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Submitted for your approval: one more name must be mentioned...


Heaven won't take him. Hell doesn't want him.

Gladiator. Demon Knight. Temporal bounty hunter. Trans-dimensional cop. Spy. Business owner!

They say that cat GrimJack is one bad mutha--
Shut yo mouth!
I'm just talking 'bout GrimJack!
And we can dig it!

Reading the Conan story today that Tim Truman drew made me think of the Grinner right away.

7/07/2006 12:58 AM

Blogger Chris said...

Seems Mr. Sims has neglected the entire First Comics stable. Badger was a badass. (Badger's wife was a badass.) John Gaunt and James Twilley were both badasses. Nexus was a wuss, but Judah was a badass. Dreadstar was only kind-of a badass, but that was only kind-of a First title. And of course, First was the American publisher of the aforementioned Lone Wolf and Cub, which was the badass-iest badass comic of all times. (I put it to you this way: no Lone Wolf and Cub means no Ronin, no Dark Knight Returns, no Sin City, no 300... I.e., a lot of badass comics history down the drain.)

7/07/2006 1:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hats off to you sir. OMAC is, in fact, the balls.

I would have loved to see the Saint of Killers or Grendel Prime nominated, but I'm funny that way.

Now go read some Groo, already!

I'm Chalk!

7/07/2006 2:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's another character from the Lone Wolf and Cub creative team who I think deserves mention for having the most badass name: Decapitator Asaemon. However, while a badass, he is not quite as badass as Ogami Itto.

7/07/2006 5:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, even though this is like 6 years old. Imma add in Tatsumi Oga from the manga Beelzebub. He routinely smashes people into walls, floors, and even ceilings. And by smash, I mean he smashes them into the walls so half their body is stuck in it. He also destroyed his school with a single punch. Also, he is a single father raising the child of the demon lord of hell.

10/08/2012 12:38 AM


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