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Friday, July 07, 2006

Badass Week: The Toughest Man In Comics... Revealed!


The votes are in! And tonight, the ISB reveals The Toughest Man In Comics! But first, a word about that.

Even with my post on OMAC, ISB readers will note that there's one badass character that I'm known for being a pretty big fan of that hasn't been mentione all week. And that's on purpose. One of the ideas that I'd toyed with after I'd written up the post with the six nominees was letting the vote run its course throughout the week, and then writing up a post about the winner: Batman.

Because Batman, I would say, is so badass that he can win a Toughest Man in comics competition without even being eligible for the vote. That guy will punch you in the face just to prove a point. It's kind of his deal.

But once I got home that night and found out that I'd had seventy-five votes in a single day, I figured I should probably pay attention to them.

That said, here's how it worked out, with 109 of you casting your votes!

Coming in as the last-place shocker is ORION, the mighty scion of Darkseid himself and weilder of the Astro-Force, whose barely-contained fury only managed to garner only six (6) votes. This leads me to believe that you guys should probably be reading more New Gods.

Up next, with 7 votes, was Val Armorr, the Legion's very own Karate Kid. I pretty much knew this guy was the underdog going into it, but I still maintain that being a teenage outer-space future karate master who marries a princess and then dies blowing up a spaceship with his bare hands after being beaten within an inch of his life is totally frigg'n hardcore. Clearly, 102 of you felt differently.

The Mighty Thor, God of Thunder, hammered out 13 Votes in between smoting Frost Giants in the wastes of Jotunheim, but sadly, using an Uru mallet to call forth the fury of lightning that can rip through the very dimensions of the Nine Worlds wasn't enough to bring him into the top half. And really, that's going to upset some people.

So who makes it to the top three? With 18 Votes, Marvel's own patron saint of brutality himself, The Punisher! That's right, a man with an M-60 and a vendetta beats out two gods when it comes to being a badass, and that's a pretty good showing. But not good enough.

"Know, O Prince, that between the first days of June and the return of jokes about Jimmy Olsen, there was a week undreamt of, when Conan of Cimmeria, dark-haired and sullen-eyed, obtained 24 Votes to tread four of his five rivals beneath his sandaled foot."

By this point, those of you with a head for math should realize that out of the original 109, the tally thus far leaves Thirty-Seven Votes, well over a third of the total unaccounted for. But there's a good reason for that. Because in the army of badass characters, the five men above are just soldiers.

And one guess'll tell you WHO'S IN CHARGE.

That's right, Sgt. Rock blasted through the competition--and a shitload of Nazis--to take his rightful place as the toughest man in comics history. And why? Well, it probably has a lot to do with the fact that every Sgt. Rock cover could be used as a motivational poster for the word "Determination," assuming that your boss didn't mind the drastic increase in punches to the face.

If you want to be a badass--and really, who doesn't?--you can learn everything you need to know from the Rock of Easy Company. Check it.

Sgt. Rock on Child Care:

If at all possible, try to keep them out of minefields

Sgt. Rock on The Fine Art of Letter-Writing:

That's not an ironic understatement. In Sgt. Rock's world, that's what "minimal fighting" looks like.

Sgt. Rock on Pacifism:

"Just shoot the damn bazooka, ya nancy!

Sgt. Rock on Exploding Into White-Hot Fury:



Yes. Yes he did.

And that's BADASS.

And it doesn't just stop at the cover. Read the stories, and you'll learn exactly why Sgt. Rock is so tough. Ever wonder why he wears a uniform with no sleeves? They got ripped off when he tore through a barbed wire barricade while storming a beach on his way to destroy a German pillbox with no gun and a handful of grenades. On his first day in the army. Read a few more, and you'll find out about his Spider-Sense-like "Combat Antenna," a form of mild precognition that warns him of danger and allows him to know what his men are thinking, which he says any veteran soldier can do if he's seen enough war.

That's right: Sgt. Rock has been fighting the War so long that he's developed telepathy. RESPECT.

But the absolute most badass Rock moment of all time? Grab yourself a copy of 1963's Showcase #45 (or the 1989's convenient Sgt. Rock Special #3) and read the Kanigher/Kubert classic "Sergeants Aren't Born." The story incorporates the elements from Rock's origin story in "Three-Stripe Hill," where we find out that Rock earned his rank by being the last man alive on a mission to hold a hill against the Nazis, at one point running out of ammunition and fighting the German soldiers hand-to-hand until reinforcements arrived and held him back.

Say what you want about Wolverine's berserker rage; Frank Rock flipped out so hard that an American Soldier told him to calm down and stop punching Nazis to death.

"Sergeants Aren't Born" adds a new twist to the story, though, taking us back to Rock's days in Basic Training, where a Nazi POW relentlessy calls him a "Wooden soldier." At one point, the Nazi even tries to escape, jumping Rock from behind and thrashing him. Rock, of course, doesn't stay down, but he's not able to overpower the Nazi himself, and as the MPs drag him away, the Nazi laughs at him again.

The whole thing gives Rock the motivation to do what he does, with every awesome battle he wins in the war being another step closer to proving that bastard wrong. But when Rock comes up against a tank that he has no choice but to fight alone, he has the chance to do it one-on-one: He runs into the same Nazi soldier.

Things don't really go so well, and Rock ends up knocked out by the blast when he takes out the tank, and after recognizing him, the Nazi takes Rock's own gun, laughs at the Wooden Soldier one more time, and sets himself up in a position to take out Easy Company with their own Sarge's bullets.

But Frank Rock doesn't stay down. No, he drags himself inch by inch across the ground until he falls into a nearby river, forcing himself to stand up and walk through the water towards the enemy.

...And that's when you know that dude is fucked.


The Toughest Man In Comics

BONUS FEATURE: Who Said Conan Gets All The Wenches?

Perhaps you were all forgetting about Madamoiselle Marie, the French resistance fighter who battled Nazis in a miniskirt and fishnets?

She knows what's up.


You've cast your vote and seen the results for the The Toughest Man in Comics, but BADASS WEEK still has some fight in it! Be here tomorrow, the mind-shattering finale as the men take a hike and the ISB reveals THE TOUGHEST WOMAN IN COMICS!



Blogger Ragnell said...

Dude, Val was robbed. I mean, I totally respect a World War II vet, especially an infantryman, but Karate Kid, unpowered, was accepted in the LSH when they were so snobbish they turned down a guy who cold powers.

He was so badass they got rid of their "must have powers" rule for him.

7/08/2006 4:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


*crushes a few standers-by

7/08/2006 7:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"One of the ideas that I'd toyed with after I'd written up the post with the six nominees was letting the vote run its course throughout the week, and then writing up a post about the winner: Batman."

And then you chickened out. Chicken.

Your cowardice in the face of badassness makes Baby Sgt. Rock cry.

7/08/2006 9:25 AM

Blogger CalvinPitt said...

I think Chris is just covering for Batman. See Chris did nominate Batman, but Rock just glared at him, until the flying mammal themed pansy backed down.

Because Batman knows there are some battles even he can't win.

7/08/2006 10:13 AM

Blogger Steven said...

Look at that picture of Batman slugging the God of War in the face.


7/08/2006 11:02 AM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

1. I'm really pretty proud of the jokes I hide in the TITLE tags of pictures. If you don't hover your mouse over, you're missing part of the funny!

2. I didn't chicken out, I just abided the will of the electorate. That's democracy, and that's what Sgt. Rock's been fighting for!

3. Yeah, Superman's "Holy Shit!" face is maybe the best thing in Cosmic Odyssey, and with all that goes down in there, that's saying something.

7/08/2006 11:25 AM

Blogger Phil Looney said...

I am going to totally plug my own blog that I've been writing again here, but yeah, Batman in Cosmic Odyssey is awesome.

7/08/2006 12:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hell yeah Rock is the toughest man in comics! Go Easy Company!

7/08/2006 12:35 PM

Blogger Brett said...

The civilized man may have won this one, but the barbarian will be waiting as the civilized one grows weak and soft.....

Conan will never accept second place, he will rule badass week.

7/08/2006 1:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the Cosmic Odyssey panel, I prefer the Martian Manhunter's reaction to Batman's punch. It's like he's saying, "I'm fucking psychic and I didn't see that shit coming!"

7/08/2006 2:03 PM

Blogger Dorian said...

What th? Rock is making out with Alfred's woman! That dog don't hunt, son!

(Sorry, obscure continuity reference.)

7/08/2006 2:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't chicken out, I just abided the will of the electorate. That's democracy, and that's what Sgt. Rock's been fighting for!

Democracy isn't badass, Chris. Have you learned nothing from comic books and action movies? Democracy allows weak, small-chested eggheads to dominate the virile, muscular badasses that should be dominating our society in the first place!

By any objective standard, fascism is the most badass form of government - it doesn't engage in "peaceful negotiation" like some frickin' pansy! It crushes its enemies, drives them before it, and hears the lamentations of their women, just like Conan would've wanted! And Sgt. Rock isn't fighting for democracy; he's fighting for his buddies in Easy Company against the hopeless and pointless atrocity that is War. And that makes him a pussy.

7/08/2006 2:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I'd been around this week to suggest a character who NEEDED to be in this mix-up:

Ogami Itto of Lone Wolf and Cub. Also... Marv from Sin City. But really, the only guy in comics I can think of who represents sheer bad-assness more than Sgt. Rock is Ogami Itto. You need a post on him

7/08/2006 4:02 PM

Blogger jblackstone said...

Glad a picked the winning horse.

How could you not vote for Rock? A man from the reatest generation who killed three Nazis after they beat him ghalf to death.

Karate Kid - He just knows how to do impressive things. There's nothing really badass about him. Beaing a badass is all in the attitude. The only reason he's in here is because he can do impressive things, but that's not badass criteria. If this contest was based on abilities, Superman would have won.

Thor strikes me as a cosplayer, so I can't vote for him. Plus he looks like a hippie, and there is no way an army man should ever lose to a hippie.

Conan would lose to rock because he has no gun. And he only did it for the glory. Sgt. Rock did it for his country and he never complained.

Orion's just angry because his father abandoned him. That's not badass, it's emo.

Rock came from the days a manliness, before the whole gay "metrosexual" thing.

7/08/2006 4:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you will note, the really powerful guys did poorly in this poll. It makes sense that Rock, Conan and Punisher were in the top 3. I'm only sorry you neglected to mention Jonah Hex. Well, there's next year, right?
Badass women? Lady Shiva.

7/08/2006 4:29 PM

Blogger the prophet king said...

Jenny. F,ing SPARKS.

7/08/2006 8:37 PM

Blogger Senor Cheeseburger said...

I'm spamming!


Check out my "SuperMan Returns" review.

7/08/2006 10:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For badass women, I'd nominate Tara Chace.

7/09/2006 4:19 AM

Blogger The Doc said...

Sgt. Rock on Exploding Into White-Hot Fury: Do this WHENEVER POSSIBLE

I laughed my ass off through this entire entry, but that line made it hard for me to breathe for a little bit.

Also: Go Rock!

7/10/2006 1:14 PM

Blogger Chance said...

Greg linked to you, and now I know that your blog is God. Thank you for a delightful series.

7/16/2006 2:13 PM

Blogger Kip W said...

They should re-letter the one with the kid in the minefield. "HEY KID! If you're goin' in there, toss me back my helmet!"

8/08/2006 9:11 PM

Anonymous Jason said...

I saw so much worthwhile material here!
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