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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Badass Week Begins: The Toughest Man In Comics

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you... BADASS WEEK:


Yes, taking a cue from Dave Campbell, the ISB goes all action for the next seven days. And for the first time ever you can be a part of it!

Tonight, I'm opening up the floor a week-long vote to decide just who is the Toughest Man In Comics. I've picked the likely candidates, and all you need to do is leave a comment voting for your favorite, with the winner announced and profiled on Friday. And while I encourage discussion, please: No write-in votes. I assure you, Wolverine will have his day in the sun.

Just keep one thing in mind: This isn't about who would win in a fight. Being a comic book badass isn't about having a 7 under "Fighting Skills" in your Handbook entry. It's about being awesome.

Voting's open until Thursday at midnight Eastern. And now, the nominees!


From the comments section of the ISB when I originally posted that cover:

Anonymous said...
When Sgt. Rock was a kid, he used to beat the crap out of young Nick Fury with a bike chain after school every day. By the way, he already dressed like that when he was a kid.

CalvinPitt said...
That's why Nick Fury lost that eye. He figured Sgt. Rock wouldn't beat a one-eyed guy senseless with ammo belts.

thedeadpenguin said...
He was wrong.

His Deal: Steel mill worker. Semi-professional boxer. Battlefield commander of Easy Company during World War II.

Frank Rock's resumé consists entirely of these three items, and each one is manlier than the last. He is unquestionably the toughest character in the history of war comics, to the point where Marvel just went ahead and made Nick Fury a super-spy, and with good reason: Rock captures the never-say-die attitude of the hardened soldier better than just about anyone else.

Also, in case you missed it, he beat Nazis to death with an ammo belt of .50 caliber rounds that had no other purpose than to act as his lucky charms, and that's probably the toughest thing you've ever heard.

Especially since it means he defined "lucky charm" as "twenty pounds of ammunition."

Rock actually ran out of regular Nazis to fight and had to start punching out enemy officers with bionic metal fists. Hardcore.

Why You Want To Vote For Him: Sgt. Rock fought Nazis harder than anyone else in the U.S. Army, and considering that he served alongside a tank haunted by the ghost of a Confederate General whose sole purpose was to help his descendant blow Nazis up with a giant cannon, that's saying something.

On this page from Joe Kubert's recent miniseries The Prophecy, Sgt. Rock cuts himself free from being tied to a chair, and stabs a Nazi in the throat before stealing his gun and shooting three others. Most people would use a knife for this.

Rock uses a piece of wood.


Loincloth?  Check.  Two things to stab you with?  Check.His Deal: Other Marvel heroes got described as "Amazing" or "Incredible." Conan gets "THE BARBARIAN" and "THE DESTROYER."

By this point, we all know why everyone's favorite Cimmerian is the toughest fantasy hero ever, but in case you missed it, all Conan does is roll around the Hyborian age stealing things, fighting, and making sweet love to comely wenches. That's it. And most of the time he's doing it all while wearing only a loincloth and a pair of boots, which is the bare minimum of clothing that you can wear and still strap on a sword and run towards people with the express purpose of decapitating them.

Also, he has the notable distinction of delivering the single hardest hit I have ever seen in comics, up to and including Bill Mantlo's run on the Hulk:

When you hit someone so hard their head explodes, you have achieved the ultimate level of hardcore badassery.

Why You Want To Vote For Him: Conan only has four (4) ways of solving problems, and three of them involve swords. The fourth?

Pick up something heavy--up to and including a Volkswagen--and throw it at your problem.


Plus, he choked out a gorilla once.


His Deal: Not only does he share a name with the single greatest movie of all time, but Karate Kid is one of a select group of heroes who has such an incredible mastery of martial arts that it's considered a super-power.

And it's not a group of street-level vigilantes he's hanging out with, either: It's The Legion of Super-Heroes, a team that had three people who could move planets on the roster when he joined--one of whom they made him fight to get in. Which, just so we're clear on this, means that Val Armorr beats ass at a super-human level. In the Future. In Outer Space.

The current iteration of Karate Kid (third in a series! Collect 'em all!) even has the distinction of inventing a new martial art that combines karate with flying, and that's awesome no matter how you slice it.

Why You Want To Vote For Him: Even with three Legion of Super-Heroes reboots, Karate Kid hasn't really changed much. There's just something about the appeal of a teenager with an almost preturnatural mastery of the fighting arts that remains as constant as the stars.

But for the Defining Moment of Karate Kid's awesomeness, we have to go back to the original model and 1984's Legion of Super-Heroes #3, which falls right in the middle of the series' opening story arc, which sees the Legion of Super-Villains finally getting serious about killing their heroic counterparts.

To this end, they chain up seven Legionnaires--including Ultra Boy--to a machine that negates their powers and saps their willpower. And that's when Karate Kid wakes up.

"I built mine every day of my life... No machine can take them away!"

And that's when you know that the shit is on.


His Deal: Thor is a character who routinely hits things so hard that the sound effect has three syllables.

That means that when he hits you, he is breaking the sound barrier. Of course, if you keep in mind that his entire deal is that he's a god who fights things by striking them with a blunt object infused with the power of lightning, that makes perfect sense.

And at the climax of the Walt Simonson run--a run that sees Thor kicking ass even when turned into a frog by Loki--Thor hits the Midgard Serpent so hard he breaks every bone in his own body. That, my friends, is how Thor rolleth.

Why You Want To Vote For Him: Despite the fact that the Walt Simonson run is, quite simply, one awesome moment after another for forty-five issues, one of my favorite moments actually comes from #356, a fill-in issue by Bob Harras and Butch Guice that focuses on third-string Avenger and former Champion, Hercules.

Admittedly, Hercules is pretty badass himself, but he's also the guy who was out getting drunk when the Avengers were getting their asses kicked by the Masters of Evil that one time, so let's face facts: He's awesome, but only when he's getting into drunken brawls with other super-heroes. And that's the case here.

It's a great issue, involving some bullies picking on a kid who likes Thor, and going to Hercules to back up their claims that he's not all that. So Herc relates a story about a dustup they had that involved the Lion of Olympus picking up the island of Manhattan and dumping Thor into the river. But just as the bullies start picking on the other kid again, Herc finishes the story, telling the kids how Thor "did deliver a blow the likes of which had never been seen by man or god," and punches him into the next state.

Also, Dave Campbell has touted Thor's abilities as the smack-talker supreme, citing this totally awesome example of Thor telling Thanos exactly what time it is:

"And should thou darest to rise, the enchanted Uru hammer of Thor shall smite thee down--again and again and AGAIN if needs be!"

Bad. Ass.


His Deal: Orion is mad all the time.

Seriously. Like, foaming-at-the-mouth mad. So mad that his Motherbox, a living computer capable of shattering the very laws of physics to allow instantaneous travel between dimensions, is usually devoting most of its time and energy to keeping him from flipping out and decimating his surroundings.

And why? Because his father is Darkseid, the Adolf Hitler of outer space, and Orion is prophesized to fight him to the death. Which he does on several occasions, as it turns out, and it never quite sticks.

You'd be mad, too.

Why You Want To Vote For Him: If Bill Mantlo's Incredible Hulk is the Bible of fight comics, then Walt Simonson's Orion is the New Testament. Take a look at one page from Orion #5, where Orion battles Darkseid in a twenty-two page slugfest that shakes the very foundations of the Fourth World:

Because Orion doesn't just fight like an animal...

Orion is a mad, cosmic animal!


His Deal: For the past six years, the Punisher has been the reigning king of Marvel Comics badasses.

Even before that, though, he wasn't exactly a joke. Well, except that time he was an angel. And that time he teamed up with Ghost Rider to fight a giant transforming truck convoy. And that time he was Dolph Lundgren.

But hey, everybody's got their faults. What matters is that Garth Ennis has taken the character that Gerry Conway created and Mike Baron and Carl Potts defined and turned him into an unstoppable engine of cold, relentless vengeance.

Why You Want To Vote For Him: Should you need any more reason to vote for the ISB's favorite gun-toting vigilante than the top of the page, where you'll find him punching a bear in the face in a panel so badass I made it my logo, I invite you to take a look at what happens when Ma Gnucci sends "a tiger tank made of meat" called the Russian to kill Frank:

Any more questions?

So there you have it, the ISB's nominees for The Toughest Man In Comics.

Now vote, you cretins! Vote like the wind!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, this is tough - but seriously, you've gotta hand to a guy who's entire purpose of beingis doleing out large chunks of pain to nazis.

7/03/2006 5:18 AM

Blogger Ragnell said...

the ISB goes all action for the next seven days. And for the first time ever you can be a part of it!

And this is different how?


Gotta go with Karate Kid, man. No powers and still tough on a Cosmic Level.

7/03/2006 5:27 AM

Blogger Brett said...

Conan, all the others are civilized men and civilization always falls to the barbarian in the end. Plus while being crucified he bit a vulture in the neck and killed it, then pulled him self off the cross by dragging his hands thru the nails. Come on, it doesn't get any tougher.

7/03/2006 7:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orion is cool but im sure Bats has shown him what time it is a fair few times.

Thor is cool, but Beta Ray Bill is a match for him AND a Bionic Horse from outer space

Sgt Rock baby, Sgt Rock is the Grand Pappy of beatdown. He has no powers, no mother box would save a damn Nazi from his fury, and if Sgt Rock had a magic hammer Nam would now be twinned with Idaho.

Him or Conan anyway...

7/03/2006 7:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I normally have the utmost respect for your comics-fu. But putting Karate Kid on this list is -- to paraphrase Dr. John Dolan -- like coming back from Safari with a tally of lion, leopard, bull elephant, rhino, Cape buffalo . . . and a goat.

7/03/2006 8:03 AM

Blogger Matthew E said...

Glad to see Karate Kid on the list. I'll give him my vote, based (also) on the last four issues of The Legion (the Gail Simone-written arc).

But I need to mention another candidate, also a Legionnaire: Timber Wolf. I forget the issue number that's his best case, but it's the issue of The Legion where he's on his first mission as a Legionnaire and he ends up having to fight the Fatal Five all by himself. He takes out Mano, the Persuader and the Emerald Empress with no special trouble, totally wrecks Tharok's plan, and as Validus is beating him to a bloody pulp, he keeps getting to his feet, saying, "Okay... I can do this..."

7/03/2006 8:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'd have to vote for Rock, but can i do a write-in?

i'd say one of the biggest bad-asses in comics was Tigorr from DC's Omega Men series. not only did he kill his enemies all over the place, but he EVEN KILLED OTHER MEMBERS OF THE OMEGA MEN! in a fight over leadership of the team, he DISEMBOWLED the then-leader, Primus! this was something that pansy Wolverine always wanted to do but never had the---guts!

7/03/2006 9:34 AM

Blogger BIG MIKE said...

This would've been a difficult choice had it not been for the most recent issue of Daredevil. During a prison riot, Frank, rather than join in the frey and mess people up with Bullseye and Kingpin, stays in his cell reading. The warden, however, informs us that he did dispatch a few unsavory types that disturbed him, but mostly, he couldn't be bothered. It was simply beneath him. And really, I think this is the litmus test of badassery: What would this guy do in prison? For Frank Castle, the answer is 'I would read and kill anyone who disturbs me'. Nuff said.

7/03/2006 9:49 AM

Blogger Phil Looney said...

You did not put Batman on the list, not just because everyone would vote for him, but because he should win hands down. He would punch any of these people in the face for being a jerk without any hesitation - see: Cosmic Odyssey, where he totally decks Orion for being a jerk.

That said, I would have to give it to Conan, because he's the only guy on this list that might give Batman some gruff after getting punched in the face.

7/03/2006 9:54 AM

Blogger SmoothJimmyApollo said...

Punisher gets my vote. I am disappointed to see that The Goon doesn't make your top 5, though.

7/03/2006 10:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've gotta go with Conan. Not only did he survive being crucified and pull himself off the cross as Brett said, but when it came down to a choice of saving a comely wench or getting the treasure, Conan always got the girl. And that happened a lot.

7/03/2006 10:03 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

Punisher. Not only does he punch bears, but he shot Wolverine's face off(!) and smothered the Russian with a fat dude.

7/03/2006 10:26 AM

Blogger googum said...

Y'know, Sgt. Rock was also a paratrooper of such skill that he could jump off the Golden Gate Bridge without a chute, but he gave it up when his brother died on the same jump. (From the Iron Major story, although I might be misremembering the actual bridge.)

That said: Thor. But with Punisher and Conan right up there.

7/03/2006 10:32 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Owly would beat all these fuckers raw.

7/03/2006 10:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on...it's gotta be The Punisher. He kills folks with guns, bombs, random shards of glass..doesn't matter...he kills them and they don't come back. Say again....HE KILLS!!! Sgt. Rock or Conan would be next.

7/03/2006 10:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sgt Rock. He is the king of badassery. You want to talk about Thor? Conan? You want to talk about Orion? Yea, well give Sarge a motherbox & Mjolnir and drop him in Cimmeria and see what happens.

7/03/2006 10:56 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to go with Conan. I somehow have a feeling that pitted against each of these guys, Conan would find a way to kick their asses. Because's Conan, dammit. He won't quit.

Except Groo. If Conan went up against Groo, he'd be totally fucked.

7/03/2006 11:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Punisher. Did you see the issue where he set that dude on fire and videotaped it to send to the dude's friends?

7/03/2006 11:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree anyone who goes up against groo is screwed! i miss groo...

but that said.. my vote is for thor... you mentoned for my hard earned cash the two greatest thor moments... the iss. with herc. and the frog storyline...

PLUS.. he is a doctor.. he can put you back to gether and kill you again... even the other people who got thor like powers became bad ass.. but no one beats the master....

who would really want to go toe to toe with the THOR CORPS!!!! you know.. thor.. horseface.. longhair guy.. bearded ameriacn.... and.. i guess red head thor.... oh.. and that ish.. where storm became thor...

7/03/2006 11:16 AM

Blogger Juggernaut said...

Thor. Hands down. Anyone who says anything different has no idea what they're talking about.

7/03/2006 11:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's got to be Orion. He wins based just on the Jack Kirby panels when he pauses in his beating to death of Apokaliptian minions with his bare hands to throw his head back and laugh maniacally and mirthlessly into the sky.
That's some cold shit.

7/03/2006 11:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Sgt Rock cover (plus the knowledge that he carries around the ammo belts for the hell of it) sold me.

The only thing more badass I've ever heard is Cotton Hill talking about beating men to death with his own amputated shins.

7/03/2006 12:26 PM

Blogger matty said...


7/03/2006 12:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Skateman, wait hold on. Garth Enn...I mean Punisher.

7/03/2006 1:00 PM

Blogger The Doc said...

Oh man, it has to be Sgt. Rock. I debated voting for Thor, but then I realized how much more manly and ass-kicking Beta Ray Bill was, and was shamed. Sgt. Rock all the way.

7/03/2006 1:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gotta go with Rock.

Isn't 'Cimmerian' French for 'I wear women's underwear' or some such?

7/03/2006 1:40 PM

Blogger David Campbell said...

Much as I love Thor, my first and greatest he-man was Conan. Nazis? Feh. Conan fights GIANT SLUGS.

7/03/2006 1:42 PM

Blogger JG said...

I'll go with Conan despite the power of the Crane Kick.

7/03/2006 2:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was very torn by this entry because you have made rock solid cases for each of them. Then I narrowed it down between Conan and The Punisher. I would have to go with Conan because, even though the comic version is watered down from the books, he still is in the pantheon of badasses... and he strangled a gorilla. Sorry, Frank.

7/03/2006 2:19 PM

Blogger Brent McKee said...

Before I mention my choice I'd like to put in a mantion for ... Darkseid. True Orion keeps beating on him and apparently killing him. But he keeps coming back! there's got to be some major league toughness to pull that one off.

No the toughest man in comics is Sergeant Frank Rock, the guy who chews nails and spits out thumbtacks.

7/03/2006 2:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Punisher is the definition of insane manliness. He goes up against countless ruthless mobs, in one specific case, he found a mob boss getting his teeth cleaned and proceeded to torture him by ripping all of his teeth out with pliers and cutting with a drill for information. After he had the information he merely shot him in the head. Another notable feat, in another universe he killed every single hero in the Marvel universe. But other manly comic characters are Marv from Sin City: The Hard Goodbye and James Howlett AKA Wolverine. Wolverine once held his own against Sabretooth after he was roughed up by Lady Deathstrike and Omega Red and was hit by a beam which nullified his powers. Each of these insane brawlers deserve a top spot in a Tough Man contest.


7/03/2006 3:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Conan was born a barbarian but Frank Rock was forced to become a badass to survive the carnage of WWII. Therefore Frank Rock gets the nod. Conan never went up against a Tiger tank, and let it roll over him, and then take it out with small arms, hen return to the company and be modest about it. No wenching for Rock, he was takin' care of Easy.


7/03/2006 3:33 PM

Blogger Brandon Bragg said...

Sgt. Rock is the ultimate badass just because he's never fazed by anything.
He's fought alongside possessed tanks, Viking Prince, Swamp Thing and even Batman once. The guy could bring down enemy aircraft with small arms fire!
And he never freaked out whether they were fighting supernazis of zombie zazis or whatever.
Conan starts shaking in his furry booties at the mere mention of sorcery.
Definitely Rock.

7/03/2006 3:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Karate Kid, because he fights using only his badass karate and still rocks more ass with one punch than most other heroes do all day.

Orion comes in a close second for that time he let himself be lit on fire to fight the White Martians during Morrison's JLA run.

Word Verification: gwhmk, a kickass sound effect just waiting to be used.

7/03/2006 4:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elsa Bloodstone, in addition to be adept with a shovel, is effectively immortal, so yeah, she's one of the toughest women in comics.

7/03/2006 4:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rock for the win, although really, they're all good choices. Having all of those guys in a Marvel vs. DC vs. Dark Horse (they have the Conan license) Manliest Hero mini-series would be printing a fortune.

7/03/2006 4:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my heart, I'm pulling for Thor, but really, I think it has to Sgt. Rock. Like others have said, give him a mystical weapon or cosmic power or what-have-you and then see how the rest of those guys stand up to him.

I think if you asked the Punisher... he'd vote for Sgt. Rock.

Never forget: Sgt. Rock IS the Point!

I don't know what that means, but it's totally badass.

7/03/2006 4:24 PM

Blogger Devon Sanders said...

Dude, it's gotta be The Punisher. The fuckin' Batman looked at him and told him, "You CRAZY!"

7/03/2006 4:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marv is helluva tough but Wolverine...any pansy can be tough if he's got a healing factor that closes wounds as fast as they're opened. Pffft.

I've got to go with Conan, with Sgt. Rock finishing a close second and the Punisher in third. Those guys don't need enchanted hammers or the Astro Force or whatever, they'll whup you even if they have to tear your arms off and beat you with them. It can't be Karate Kid because it's the toughest MAN contest and he's a mere kid.

7/03/2006 4:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Y'know, it's not really fair to include two gods on a list of toughest men in comics. Right off the bat, I gotta go for Orion or Thor. On the one hand, Orion lives to fight the greatest badass ever, Darkseid. On the other hand, Thor has the coolest, most menacing moment I've ever seen in comics with his "Ultron. We would have words with thee." moment, which gives me chills just remembering its awesomeness. Plus, Thor's been kicking ass for centuries before these other guys existed. That's gotta count for something. Thor all the way!

7/03/2006 4:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to go with the Punisher. The guy is pushing sixty and he's still doling out the vengence.

7/03/2006 5:12 PM

Blogger Senor Cheeseburger said...

You fuckin nimrods, it's Sgt. Rock.

Hand's down.
His name is SGT. ROCK!!!

Sgt. Rock's name alone could jump off a page and beat the piss out of anyone named "Orion" I don't care who their daddy is. Sgt. Rock is his daddy when they step in the ring.

Karate Kid:
Sgt. Rock is ols and surly which gives him "old-man strength." You know what old man strength is right? It's the super power that all dad's have that never allows their kids to take them in a fight... Sgt. Rock has so much old man strength that the "Karate Kid" would probably crap his pants just standing in his presence... Then the Sgt. would get some Private to sprinkle some powder on Karate Kid's tushy and slap a pair of pampers on him.

Thor looks like a hippie. Sgt. Rock would never lose in a fight against a hippie.

These guys wouldn't fight eachother. They's buy eachother a keg of bourbon and challenge a local fraternity to a drinking contest, win, then run a train on the 16 cutest sorority girls in attendance.

Please. Ever See Indiana Jones??? Some nutjob jumps out waving his big flashy sword around like a ninja? Indie takes out his gun and casually shoots him in the gut. Game over. Same thing here, except Sgt. Rock wouldn't waste the ammo, he'd kick Conan in the balls (loin cloth does not provide much protection) then beat him to death with Government Issued Bootheel.

No more comments.
I am 100% correct, you CANNOT argue with this logic.

7/03/2006 5:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thor looks like a hippie. Sgt. Rock would never lose in a fight against a hippie.'

That, sir, may be the greatest statment ever uttered on the internet.

Mike Nielsen

7/03/2006 5:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rock, definately Rock. If nothing else, he's got the hardest name.

7/03/2006 6:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Punisher punched a goddamn polar bear in the face.

He also told a guy with a ponytail -- after killing a room full of dudes, "...and get a haircut."

This is no contest.

7/03/2006 7:06 PM

Blogger William O'Brien said...

Black Bolt.

7/03/2006 7:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Toughest Man in Comics question comics comes up and you pick Sgt. Rock, Thor, Orion, the Punisher and Conan as contenders?

No, no, no. Marshal Law is the champion you're looking for.

7/03/2006 7:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fuck those pansies.

Karate Kid? Hey, look, when I get a bit older I'm SuperMAN. What's he going to be? Karate Man? Holy shit, that is so lame.

The Punisher wears a stupid skull on his chest. That's a just a target for me to punch his chest out. Just because he's nuts doesn't make him a badass.

Thor? He's such a girlyman with that hair he has to carry around a hammer to pretend he's a handyman or something.

Conan the Onan? Another girlyman. He and Thor have a thing.

Orion? I'd crisp him with my heat vision abnd make crispy Orion rings. A "mother box"? Gimme a break.

I'll fuck 'em all up when I get out of here.


Except for Rock. Especially if Kubert's drawing him. I'm ascared of that dude.


7/03/2006 7:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Punisher. His name is bad ass.

7/03/2006 8:14 PM

Blogger Valkyrie said...

My vote is for the other man in black: The Punisher. A girl just gotta go for a black costume with a skull on it. That SCREAMS badass.

But...if you had Marv up there as a choice, I'd ditch Frank in a heartbeat.

When Marv says at the end of the Hard Goodbye, "That the best you can do pansies?" HAS to be one of the most bad ass questions to come out of comics.

7/03/2006 8:41 PM

Blogger Steven said...

I was going to say Sgt. Rock, on the basis of how all of them would do given the same power levels.

Then I remembered the time Karate Kid threw Valor into the sun.

Yeah, I'm going to have to give it to Daniel-San.

Erm, I mean, Val.

He rocks pretty hard.

7/03/2006 8:44 PM

Blogger frank said...

The skull costume puts the Punisher over the top. Second: Sgt. Rock.

7/03/2006 9:25 PM

Blogger Diamondrock said...

If the voting is still open, my vote goes to Sgt. Rock. He fought the Nazis. I don't care of Conan fought giant slugs or Orion fought the universe's greatest evil (which he did; said evil is also his dad).

Sgt. Rock is a badass of badass proportions in a world of people simply *bursting* with badass.

7/03/2006 10:20 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

Voting, for the record, is open until Thursday night at midnight, with the winner announced in my Friday post.

7/03/2006 10:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's how it breaks down for me:

Karate Kid punches dudes with his hands.
Punisher and Sgt. Rock punch goofs with bullets.
Conan punches punks with his sword.
Orion punches geeks with his tears over daddy.

Thor, though, punches dudes with a hammer. He can put up nice tool shed for you one second and smite your ass to the Rainbow Bridge the next.

And his hammer! You have to be particularly BadAss to even pick it up, let alone swing it. Can't say the same for guns, swords, hands or tears.

Thor it is.

7/03/2006 10:45 PM

Blogger Capn Ho said...

Someone already said this, but "Ultron. We would have words with thee." has got to be the most badass moment in the history of comics.

Thor all the way baby.

7/03/2006 10:52 PM

Blogger ColtCCO said...

Thor, all the way. He would have words with thee.

You can't be more badass than the God of Lightning.

Period, full stop, end of discussion.

7/03/2006 10:57 PM

Blogger Matthew E said...

I already voted, but I wanted to say something else on behalf of my man Karate Kid. Remember: this is not about raw fighting ability, because obviously you have to put Thor at the top for that, with Orion second. It's about being able to take it as well as dish it out (which is one reason Groo doesn't belong on here--how often does Groo get wounded even a little?).

Karate Kid's biggest advantage here is his confidence:

- in the Great Darkness Saga, Karate Kid launched himself in a flying kick at Darkseid's head. Now, understand: Val has no tools in his toolbox at all that will work on Darkseid. And he must have known that. But he was right in there anyway, ahead of the rest of the pack.

- in a recent issue (#12? #13?), Val picked a fight with Lemnos's army. He figured, him and Ultra Boy on one side, ten thousand soldiers on the other side? Fair fight.

- in that Gail Simone Legion story I mentioned, Val is trapped, essentially on his own, in a satellite prison which is falling out of orbit because technology doesn't work anymore, and he's faced with dozens of rioting inmates of this prison. Armed with nothing more than his skills and the threat of demerits (really!) he takes control of the situation and makes the rioting, panicking supercriminals back down.

He deserves your vote.

7/03/2006 11:13 PM

Blogger Winterteeth said...

Although I am disappointed that Sebastion O didn't make the list, I will go with Orion. Did you see when they locked that thing on his head that made his eyeballs explode near the end of Simonson's run? He just put on sunglasses and kept kicking ass. Plus, if you were created by Jack Kirby you have the DNA of asskickery with you...always.

7/03/2006 11:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is best in life?

To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!


7/04/2006 12:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gotta go with Sgt. Rock

7/04/2006 12:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last 6 issues of Thor everything comes to a head.

Mjolnir is broken, Odin's gone, Only one of the Warriors Three are left and he's skinny.

Times are dire.

A mighty battle is being fought and a powerful foe stands before a weakened Thor. He mocks the god and speaks down to him.

Thor then explains that Mjolnir is only a tool, and that he is the GOD OF THUNDER AND LIGHTNING!

He then hit's him with a giant lightning bolt.

Thor is more then a mighty uru mallet, hippie hair, and old english.

He's the fucking man.

7/04/2006 12:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's gotta be Conan. And to see why, we just need to compare how he, versus another so-called hero, handles the same situation. The hero: Luke Skywalker (obviously left well off this list). And the situation: James Earl Jones claims to be your father.

Observe the difference...

Skywalker: Freaks out, gets his own hand chopped off, and jumps down a freaking well.

Conan: Gets pissed off, chops the other guy's head off, and single-handedly destroys his sissy-ass snake cult. Then broods.

Clearly, Conan shows us how it's done.

7/04/2006 4:16 AM

Blogger joncormier said...

Well as much as Conan is a badass I'd have to go with Sgt. Rock. It's not just the bandilleros of .50 calibre ammo and the Nazi killing that makes him the toughest. It's that he watches Easy Company get killed every single issue and it doesn't stop him. Need a tank blown up, it gets blown up even if it has to kill the rookie.

And who else on this list plays dead then jumps up and uppercuts someone to death??

7/04/2006 9:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Conan. Does the most with the least, doesn't need powers, guns, special techniques, or magic hammers. If he has to kill you with his hands and teeth, he'll kill you with his hands and teeth. Rock's tough, but Rock's part of an army. You think Conan salutes anyone?

I do want to see a team up where these guys get together and play floor hockey using Wolverine as the puck, though.

Bill Burns

7/04/2006 9:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoever mentioned the Punisher-in-a-prison-riot story reminded me of the true baddest of the bad-asses: Rorschach. Sure, he's a total psycho. But think about his prison-riot story.

"Had to use the men's room". Haha.

And he was the one willing to face down God Himself while that wuss Nite Owl just went along with the cover-up.

Conan gets the nod among the pretenders mentioned here, far as I'm concerned.

7/04/2006 11:18 AM

Blogger Hate Filled Poster said...

My vote goes to Conan, but that's some stiff competition.

7/04/2006 12:00 PM

Blogger James Hitchcock said...

It's gotta be Sgt. Rock. That guy was still fighting WW II all the way through Vietnam. Now there's one badass guy with a grudge against Aryans. And no superpowers, to boot!

A month ago I would have argued for He-man, but then I read a piece on slate.com about the homo-erotic subtext of Masters of the Universe. Now I realize all that fighting was just homo S&M foreplay, so He-man could convince himself he wasn't queer while feeling the bony finger of Skeletor.

Need relationship advice? Just say, "What would Biff Say?" And check out Red Flag Publishing

7/04/2006 1:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I knew going into this that Orion was going to be the underdog, and that just proves how many of you have never read Kirby's New Gods it's collected in one volume that costs about $14, so you heathens have no excuse.

Okay, I don't consider any post-Kirby Orion stories to be canon, because they make him into a pussy, even though he clearly isn't. If somebody draws a picture of Hercules frolicking in a field of flowers that doesn't mean that the original Greek character is a pussy.

Now, let's go back to the original Kirby comics and look at the case for Orion:

1. He's WAY stronger then Superman, and remember we're talking late silver age superman here. In one of the first issues of The Forever People Darkseid gets pissed at Superman and sends out a bunch of Monsters called Gravi-Men (Or something similar), who have the power to increase gravity in discrete areas. They have Suoperman on the ropes, and Supes would've died if Infinity Man hadn't saved his ass.

Darkseid doesn't even bother to send any Gravi-Men after Orion, because it's clear they'd never beat the guy.

That's right, guys who can beat Superman are out of their league when it comes to Orion.

This isn't speculation; it's logical fact. If Batman punched Orion he'd end up breakikng his hand, and if Mother Box wasn't around he'd proceed to get his head crushed like a grape.

2. Orion kills people. You need to see it to have the full effect, but There's an issue of New Gods where Orion fights some Apokalips guys called the Deep Six.

He beats the shit out of their leader Slig, and then crushes Slig's motherbox all while laughing about how she truly loved him, enough to give her life for him. He then kills Slig and the rest of Slig's brothers in the Deep Six.

Later, he fights Kalibak and breaks Kalibak's cosmic rod, which was basically a giant single atom. In other words, Orion can smash atoms with his bear hands. He follows this up by breaking Kalibak in half.

Okay, here's my last point: Orion was a badass from the beginning.

Sure, Ennis' Punisher is a bad-ass, but without the Comics Code Authority breathing down your neck, any asshole can rip teeth out and carry severed heads.

Orion was killing whole families and laughing about it back in the early seventies. The fucker managed to beat the most powerful enemy of all: The Comics Code.

And that's my big question: How many of these guys managed to be badasses not just in today's anything goes world, but even back in the days of the comics code?

Neither Punisher nor Thor qualifies. In fact, the only guys who do are Orion and Sgt. Rock. Maybe Conan, but honestly I kind of doubt it.

Given that I know more about Orion then about Rock, I went for him. Plus, you just can't go wrong with Kirby.

And seriously, guys, read The New Gods. Dissing Orion because some pissant made him a wussy in some 80s comic is lame.

7/04/2006 1:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You really think that Conan wouldn't stomp in a mudhole in all these guy's backs and walk it dry? Conan: most badass.

7/04/2006 1:45 PM

Blogger jblackstone said...

Sgt. Rock hands down. He came from a time when men were men, women were women, and beating Nazi's with ajn ammo belt was encouraged.

Karate Kid shouldn't be on the list because martial arts are useless in the real world. Go ahead, do you're little karate thing, Sgt. Rock will just grab his gun and fire.

7/04/2006 2:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thor is badass, but his is a god as is Orion. The Punisher is simply crazy, and Karate Kid isn't even the coolest person to bear the name.

Conan got the women and the wine and the treasure and even the crown, but all Rock got was more freakin' orders.

It has to go to the sarge.

7/04/2006 3:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

my vote goes for the punisher. in addition to reading during a riot, killing thousands of people single handedly, killing the russian TWICE (once by smothering him with a fat man, once by HOOKING HIM TO A NUKE AND PUSHING HIM OUT OF A PLANE), he also took out a horde of armed midgets with an uzi. midgets who tried to cut wolverine in half. who else on this list has killed a horde of midgets?

7/04/2006 3:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Conan. He'd have eaten that polar bear to death. He'd have defeated the Nazis singlehandedly, and then swam to Japan and shoved his sword right up Hirohito's ass. It's hard to be good at cosmic karate after Conan has cut your arms off, Karate Kid. Conan would solve Orion's anger-management issues by putting him in a Hyperborean Headlock, which culminates in Conan yanking Orion's head off. And, as demonstrated, if Conan lived in current times he'd be walking around in a pimp suit with a pet leopard. Thor? Dood, nobody who gets turned into a frog should ever be considered a badass.

7/04/2006 4:59 PM

Blogger Phil Looney said...

>>If Batman punched Orion he'd end up breakikng his hand, and if Mother Box wasn't around he'd proceed to get his head crushed like a grape.

You need to read Cosmic Odyessy. Batman punches Orion in the face, and the other heroes had to hold Batman back.

7/04/2006 6:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thor. Thor. Thor!

7/04/2006 7:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sgt. Rock. Because he's just a man.

A man who kills lots of Nazis.

7/04/2006 8:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


7/04/2006 10:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sgt. Rock. Like you said, his lucky charm is 20 pounds of ammunition. There's a guy that doesn't take backtalk from nobody. Especially Nazis.

7/04/2006 10:39 PM

Blogger Chris said...

It's obviously Conan.

7/05/2006 12:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sgt. Rock.

7/05/2006 9:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sgt. Rock, yo. He just...wouldn't...stay...down!!

7/05/2006 10:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tough call between Thor and Conan, but here's what tips it: When you really add up the number of comely wenches Thor has ever nailed, it gets...well, sorta suspicious how much time he and Herc spend together.

That's right: I just TOTALLY CALLED THOR GAY. Dudes should nominate me for badassest. Hey Thor, Sebastian Bach called. He says your hairstyle is mad played-out.

Badassery is about two things: Tapping the kegs of wup-ass, and tapping the comely wench ass.

Conan gets oodles of wench ass.

And my vote.

7/05/2006 11:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've gotta go with Conan here.

7/05/2006 12:22 PM

Blogger Ben said...

Gotta say Punisher. Rock as a close second.

7/05/2006 1:53 PM

Blogger Shon Richards said...

Conan. Those other guys, they have backup. They have friends and fellow heroes. Conan rolls alone. And he gets the wench.

7/05/2006 2:24 PM

Blogger James Hitchcock said...

Darkseid? Apokalips? Guys called the Deep Six?

Sound like gay S&M porno stars ...

"Later, he fights Kalibak and breaks Kalibak's cosmic rod ..."

That sounds like a scene from the back room of a NYC gay leather bar ...

Maybe He-Man should be added to the list?

What Would Biff Say?
Red Flag Publishing

7/05/2006 3:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm goin' with Sgt. Rock, mostly because other than the Punisher (whose Ennis-penned tales I have not read), he's the only one doing it on blood, guts, and his own merits. Everyone else has powers.

Rock? Nope. Just a gun and, often, his own durn fists.

7/06/2006 12:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, well, I forgot about the powerless Karate Kid. Well, I have the excuse of just not caring. Um. Not that that's much excuse, but I still vote for Sgt. Rock.

7/06/2006 12:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aw man... that's a rough rough choice. As much as I want to go for the living god, as much as ladies love the Punisher (ok, this lady), and as much as the underdog Karate Kid is a pretty bad ass guy, I have to go Rock.

Because that's manly from back in the day. Back when it was standard and the word metrosexual got you a dirty look and busk across yer puss.

7/06/2006 12:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orion. Why? Not only was he created by JACK FUCKING KIRBY, he was created by a Jack Kirby unfettered by Stan Lee's occasional wuss-like tendencies.

Orion mixes it up with Darkseid on a regular basis, kills 800 Parademons before breakfast, wields the all-powerful Astro-Force, and fought the Slver Surfer to a standstill. He's even survived being written by Jim Starlin. Orion takes it, hands down.

7/06/2006 1:38 AM

Blogger Martin said...

I have to go with Conan, simply because Batman beat on Orion without even any Prep Time.

7/06/2006 6:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bad-assery begins and ends with one-man.

The Punisher.

Remember when alleged badass Batman had his back broken? He was replaced by Azrael, an insane assasin who had been brainwashed, trained, and armed by an order of monks. Azrael was so out of hand that after he had defeated Bane (another supposed bad-ass) Batman had to saddle up his man-stable and reign Azrael in. Robin, Nightwing, and Batman could barely pull it off.

But the Punisher had already kicked Azrael's ass in a previous cross-over.

But to me, what defines a badass is their aloofness around violence and bat-shit insanity. As Chris already illustrated, Captain America suits that well as he stood up to Thanos.

But bat-shit insanity is humdrum boring to the Punisher who went into the Archie(tm) Universe to kill Archie mom-effin' Andrews.

However, my defining Punisher moment is from the first Punisher monthly series when he went grocery shopping and some hoods tried to hold up the store he was in. Lacking weapons, he subdued his opponents with what was at hand. In one case? Lobsters.

He took a guy out with lobsters.

And then? He bought the lobsters, took them home and ate them.

The Punisher regularly takes innocent animals, perverts them into weapons, and on occasion, eats them when he's done.

There is no way you can top that.

7/06/2006 11:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This isn't even a contest.

Karate Kid wins

The many achievements of Karate Kid:

- Beating the shit out of the Superboy of Earth-1 with his bare hands. Superboy was NOT holding back, and even states as much.

- Being the only member of the Legion of Super Heroes WITHOUT POWERS. Members are required to have powers. The Kid is so badass they made an exception just for him.

- Kicking Darkseid in the face. Living to tell the tale.

- Marrying a Princess, despite being a commoner from another planet.

- Fighting the entire Legion of Supervillains by himself (30+ members).

- Fighting an army of Daxamites with super-Judo.

- Beat Nemesis Kid to death with his bare hands. Nemesis Kid had already waxed Mon-El and Ultra Boy.

- Cracking a glacier in half with a single Karate chop.

If all the nominees had to fight each other to the death, I would bet heavily on Karate Kid. I might put a little side money on Orion.

7/06/2006 12:03 PM

Blogger Dotan Dimet said...

I vote for Sgt. Rock.

Thor is the coolest superhero evar.
Conan gets the girls.
Orion made me realize that Kirby rules, even if he draws funny.
Punisher I detest.
And Karate Kid - with all due respect, the most badass guy in the Legion of Super Heroes is Timber Wolf. I did loved it when Val had his own series though, with captions explaining what kickass 30th-century martial art techniques he was using.

Let's sort the candidates by the type of evil they fight, to get a clearer picture:

The Punisher fights the mob: Italian-American Evil.
Karate Kid fights the Khunds and Nemesis Lad: Space Evil.
Conan fights Stygian Wizards and Slug-monsters: Primeval Evil.
Thor fights Trolls and Frost Giants: Mythical Evil.
Orion fights Darkseid: Cosmic Evil.

...Sgt. Rock fights NAZI Evil.

And if comics teach us one thing about right and wrong, it's that Nazi Evil > Cosmic Evil.

Winner: Rock.

7/06/2006 12:20 PM

Blogger Jeff Rients said...

I vote for Conan, by Crom!

7/06/2006 12:36 PM

Blogger Matthew J. Brown said...

Karate Kid!

7/06/2006 3:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sgt. Rock!


7/06/2006 4:03 PM

Blogger Edward Liu said...

Of the choices, my vote goes to Conan.

I think the whole "escape from Hyperborea" sequence in #5 (?) in the new series is what decides it for me. There's a line in there when he reassures the comely slave girl in the story, saying he and his buddies will break out of their jail to fight their way out of the city, and then "ride to the coast and lie about it the whole way." It's funny and badass at the same time.

Later, in the same issue, he tells his captors to bring out anything and everything they got, "...AND WE'LL KILL THEM ALL!" 'Twas a truly badass moment, even if he turns out to be kind of wrong by the end.

Sgt. Rock is cool, but I thought the new Kubert mini was a big letdown (barring the sequence you mentioned) and that's making me less prone to vote for him.

Never read the Legion, don't know much about the Karate Kid, but he sure sounds badass. But not as badass as Conan. Same applies to Orion.

Thor has had his badass moments, but he does get owned by Beta Ray Bill in the much-cited Simonson run. On top of that, the biggest badass moment in the whole thing belongs to Skurge the Executioner, who also totally owns Thor right before the crowning moment of badassery at the bridge at Gjallerbru.

Never liked the Punisher. I liked him more when he was a bad guy and not an anti-hero.

And it is good that the Goon and Usagi Yojimbo made it to the Honorable Mention list, tho'.

7/06/2006 4:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thor is so bad, even his OFF PANEL ADVENTURES are more interesting than most comics.

Iron Man: "Where's Thor?"

Cap: "We just received word from him - he's fighting Frost Giants in Asgard and won't be able to make our meeting."

Now you tell me - do you want to read about the Avengers' meeting, or see Thor fighting Frost Giants?

And this kind of thing happened ALL THE TIME during my formative comics years.

So yeah, Thor.

7/06/2006 6:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Anyone else is someone less.

7/06/2006 7:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sgt. Rock

7/06/2006 9:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sgt. Rock...

Any other vote would be a vote for the terrorists.

7/06/2006 10:00 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

I'd just like to pop in and say that yes, Skurge holding the bridge at Gjallerbru is the single best comics page ever printed.

7/06/2006 11:37 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...


Voting is now over!

But seriously, response for this has been far, far better than I ever hoped it would be, and I'd like to thank all of you for coming by and leaving your thoughts, especially if you were one of the few, the happy few who made impassioned pleas for Karate Kids incredible toughness.

You guys are great.

7/07/2006 12:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damnit! I leave town to come back to find that I missed a chance to vote! Damnit.

For the record, it should be Rock, but voting is closed. Lame

7/08/2006 1:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just as well voting's over. How can you take a list of badassery seriously when you don't even mention Judge Dredd or the Badger?

7/12/2006 10:13 AM

Blogger bcpmoon said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/02/2006 3:01 PM

Blogger bcpmoon said...

I don´t know if somebody commented on that, but in the panel where Conan hits someone so hard his head explodes, he does so from behind. Except the behind of his opponent is the right way around. Or that guy got his arm torn off in the panel before. Anyway, curious anatomy, that hand.

8/02/2006 3:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Out of these: The stone-cold Punisher.
At all: Deadpool should've been on the list. :p

9/19/2006 6:35 AM

Blogger Anand Ramachandran said...

I wonder if you guys have read 'Tales of Hellbrandt Grimm' from the Warhammer Universe. I've never seen Grimm take even a scratch. Ever. A must for Conan fans.

9/25/2006 4:13 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

...where's OMAC?

4/01/2009 2:39 AM

Anonymous Tamsin said...

Hey, there's a great deal of effective info here!

9/02/2012 2:42 PM


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