Top 5: Unlikely Comic Book Heroes

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(5) Krazy Kat- Ignatz Mouse throws bricks at her, and she loves him for it. Even in the surrealist, offbeat landscape created by Herriman, Krazy's devotion to Ignatz is more inexplicable than your average love affair.

(4) Waldo: Alias the Cat - Kim Deitch's sideshow shadow realm's greatest hero/villain, a horny, greedy, mischievous muse of sorts that is only visible to certain people, often those marked for doom and dementia. Waldo is a small black cat, shamelessly nude, who in various stories is credited with becoming a god to a primitive desert island tribe and subsequently destroying them, having an affair with a midget in a midget village alternately seen as a haven or a slave camp, and driving a drunken cartoonist into madness and social isolation.

(3) Rorschach: Watchmen - A violent vigilante who receives messages in the trash, has the overpowering smell of a vagrant hippie dumpster diver, and bases his costume on a dress ordered by Kitty Genovese (a woman who was tragically assaulted and murdered in front of her neighbors), which magically changes shape from panel to panel.

(2) Spider Jerusalem: Transmetropolitan - stick Hunter S. Thompson in a future New York filled in which the top children's television program is the Sex Puppets, fast food deals monkey and dolphin burgers, and humans are able to download their minds into a group of tiny computers that form a cloud ("foglets") and can arrange molecules to make any object of their choosing, and you have Transmetropolitan. A shit-talking, drug-addled, bowel-disruptor armed hero journalist, Spider abhors the fame that surrounds him after he outs a government plot to start a riot to kill the Transients, a group of people using alien DNA to transform their bodies for purely aesthetic rebellious reasons, which consequently dooms them to poverty and second-class citizenship. One wouldn't expect a comic based on a journalist, albeit a gonzo journalist, to be thrilling, but Warren Ellis' witty dialogue and convoluted plot coupled with Darick Robertson's imaginative yet realistic depiction of the future freaks of the City make it work.

(1) Dream: The Sandman - Neil Gaiman's Sandman series is so freakin critically acclaimed for a reason: reading it, you feel like you're falling into a strange and sometimes uncomfortable dreamscape, which is how you should feel reading a comic based on a mythological personification of the realm of Dream and his family, the Endless: Death, Destruction, Despair, Desire, and Delirium. In the comic, mythologies (comic, greek, christian, etc.) interweave to form an epic narrative.

honorable mention: Lois Lane- according to Blanche: "Lois Lane is often misinterpreted as the damsel-in-distress, but really she is a strong independent woman. She's also the only superheros girlfriend [that I know of] to have her own spin-off series." I'm not a huge Lane fan, but Blanche insisted that I include either Lane or Catwoman on the list. For the Batman universe, Catwoman is one of the more realistic superheroine/villain, so that's out...

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