Comic books – unlike real life, of course – don’t have the best record with Fatherhood. From Dad’s dying, to turning their kids evil, to, I don’t know, sucking them into other dimensions to teach them a lesson, most kids would probably prefer not to have fathers if there was a choice. Still, there are some great Dads in comics… The guys who stuck around, and would do anything for their kids. Here are the ten best:
10. Commissioner Gordon
It’s not Jim Gordon’s fault that, as Commissioner of Gotham City, his kids are walking around with constant targets on their backs. Or that one of his kids turned out to be a sociopathic killer. Or that he’s constantly working instead of paying attention to them. Okay, that last part is totally his fault, but particularly where his daughter Barbara is concerned, he would do anything to protect her… Even though, since she’s Batgirl, he probably needs more saving than she does.
Though the God of War in Marvel comics has done plenty of bad deeds, for a while – at least through most of the 2006 Ares mini-series – he was #1 Dad. He gave up his godhood for a simple life on Earth, and raised his son Alexander as a single father while also holding down a job as a carpenter. Later, his son was recruited by a superhero team that opposed his, so their relationship hit a little bump in the road… But with Ares, it was always inside of him that counted, particularly in a graphic panel where he was ripped in half and his intestines spilled everywhere.
8. Luke Cage
Though for most of his life, Cage has been a bit of a ladies man, eventually he settled down with fellow Avenger Jessica Jones, had a kid, and moved ‘em all to a mansion. His Dad-ness has hit a few rough patches, when Jessica has had to take the kid to safer places than the battle-zone they constantly live in; but he cares about his family above all else.
7. Bigby Wolf
Another loner turned family man, Bigby Wolf fathered seven kids with Snow White, one of ‘em made out of air, the others shapeshifting wind spirits/werewolves. And the former, er, lone wolf, even ceded being the lead in Vertigo’s Fables series so he could take care of his family… Even when he was banished from seeing them for a time.
Technically, Cable isn’t Hope’s father; but that also covers a lot of guys on this list. Though he first took the baby Hope to safety because he thought she was the mutant messiah, over the next decade and a half, he traveled through time protecting her, and training her as she grew up… Eventually sacrificing his own life to save hers.
5. Uncle Ben
Sure, Peter Parker had a Dad that died in a plane crash, but his real Dad? That’s Ben Parker, the man who coined, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” He’s also the man so good, so pure and honest that he still inspires Spider-Man to this day with his memory.
4. Wally West
Well, who knows what Wally’s parental status is now that he’s disappeared from DC continuity, but for a while, there was no better Dad than The Flash. Funny, hard-working, yet always had time to spend with his wife and twins. The super-speed may have something to do with that, but still…
3. Jonathan Kent
Sure there’s been some attempts to make Superman’s adoptive Dad darker or more complicated, but when you come down to it, nearly no one is more “Dad” than Jonathan Kent. Like Uncle Ben, his whole purpose was to inspire Clark to be a better man (or super-man). Unlike Uncle Ben, he usually took a little longer to die, depending on what reboot we were on, and when he was around, he always had time for some homespun advice, and a hastily photoshopped “cola” with his son.
2. Animal Man
Why does Buddy Baker rate so high on this list? Because unlike other superheroes, who seem to conveniently forget about their kids for months at a time, Buddy is always around. He’s always there to protect his family, but he’s also there for dinners, arguments, and trips, too. Without his family, there is no Animal Man.
1. Rick Grimes
…And then there’s the Walking Dead’s Rick Grimes, who would kill, maim, or destroy anyone or anything that stood between him and protecting his son. In fact, every single decision he’s made over the course of nearly one hundred issues has been predicated on making sure his son was safe in the post-zombie apocalypse world of the comic. Granted, there’s been a couple of getting-shot-in-the-face related hiccups, but still: End Of The World’s Best Dad.