As far as I know, Sunfire was the first Japanese superhero. He premiered in 1970, in the pages of The X-Men, as a radiation-mutated teen bent on destroying the U.S. to avenge his mother (who died of cancer in Hiroshima). So, like so many X-Men, he started as a villain. A Japanese, anti-American villain. Nothing original or important about that.
But gradually he became a hero, being a member of the team that took on Krakoa in the industry-changing Giant Sized X-Men #1. He’s on this list partially as a token Asian, I admit it. But he’s also here because he’s cool. In fact, his look and powers are pretty much cooler than Human Torch.
Sunfire has always lived on the fringe of the Marvel U, and yet he made it into several X-Men video games. That’s how much fans dig him.
- Giant Size X-Men #1 (reprinted everywhere)
71. THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER
Okay, so this entry is a blatant attempt to promote my agenda of promoting genre-breaking, high-quality comic books. Jonathan Dysart’s reboot of the Unknown Soldier as an African rebel is one of the greatest pseudorealistic, political comic books of the last 50 years.
Now go buy it.
- The Unknown Soldier by Jonathan Dysart
70. JUDGE DREDD
I had the cover for the first American Judge Dredd release on my wall as a kid. It was drawn by Brian Bolland, and Judge Dredd was holding some poor shmuck by the head with a chain next to the words: “Judge Dredd. He is the law. You better believe it.” Totally badass.
The character and his early works were the creation of recognized comic legends Pat Mills and John Wagner, but it’s also served as a proving ground for talent: Garth Ennis, Mark Millar, and Grant Morrison. Don’t go by the Stallone flick: This book kicks ass.
- The Cursed Earth
- The Apocalyse War
- The Judge Child
- Judgement Day