ChrisCon 2009!

Yesterday, I was having a conversation with Chris Piers–artist and letterer of the Action Age’s upcoming Woman of A.C.T.I.O.N.–and we got into a discussion of comics characters that share our name, and frankly, the pickings there are pretty slim.

I mean sure, there might only be a couple of Bruces and Clarks in the world of comics, but those few are all you really need, and if you’re a Matt, you’ve got Daredevil, Two-Gun Kid, heck, you’ve even got Mrs. Swamp Thing’s first husband. Meanwhile, we members of the noble Brotherhood of Christophers are stuck with what is, at best, a pretty Motley Crue.

So tonight, the ISB puts ’em all on the line for what might be our flimsiest premise ever, as we decide who’s the best Chris in comics!

First up…



Christopher Summers: CORSAIR


On the one hand, the patriarch of the Summers clan seems pretty cool. I mean, he’s a space pirate who regularly bags a hot alien girl, and he looks like Burt Reynolds would’ve if they’d set Smokey and the Bandit II in outer space. Every time he shows up, he’s either shooting guys with lasers or space-swordfighting, he always acts like he’s been drinking since noon, and his ship is called the Starjammer, presumably because the name Spacecock was already taken. In short, he is rad.

On the other hand, he accomplished all this by bailing on his kids–leaving them to be raised by a paraplegic schoolmaster whose questionable educational techniques include something called The Danger Room–in favor of shacking up with a cat-girl, which means he’s both a deadbeat dad and a furry. Thanks to his absence during their formative years, his kids grew up sucking their way through the ’90s (Cyclops), continuing to suck to this day (Havok), and being intentionally hated, thus becoming a complete success (Vulcan). Heck, he wasn’t even around to teach his son how to stop his girlfriend from occasionally running off to make out with a guy who smelled like he spent the past week sleeping in the woods.

So yes: Space piracy and awesome moustaches may look cool, but when they’re the product of an outer-space mid-life crisis, it sort of taints the whole thing.





Chris Kent, alias Lor-Zod


What’s that? Sorry, I can’t hear you over the sound of DC Editorial jerking off to the first two Superman movies.





Christopher Chance: THE HUMAN TARGET


Okay, now we’re talking. For those of you who aren’t familiar with him, here’s this guy’s deal: If someone’s trying to kill you, you can pay Christopher Chance–a badass karate expert marksman master of disguise–to take your place, luring the assassins out so that they not only don’t kill you, but he kills them, all while dressed (and occasionally plastic surgeried) as a priest or a middle-aged film executive. Thus, he is essentially Zartan, but with the color-change action feature replaced with snappy suits. As you might expect, this is awesome, and was the basis for one of the best comics of the past ten years.

The only problem is that Chance so thoroughly becomes his clients that his own personality is almost completely subsumed, forcing him to live his life on the perpetual brink of a complete multiple-personality breakdown. But really, all that just means that his biggest flaw is that he’s amazingly good at his job.

Which, just to reiterate, is being a karate expert marksman master of disguise.





CRYSTAR, the Crystal Warrior


I’m not sure that this one counts, but according to Piers, it was either this guy or Crystal from the Inhumans.

Anyway, Crystar here was part of the same attempt by Marvel to cash in on the lucrative early-80s toy market that also included GI Joe, ROM: Spaceknight and some crappy robot comic. Beyond that, I don’t really know too much about Crystar, but to be honest, it seems pretty half-assed.

I mean sure, the idea of beings made of rock fighting Demon Lords in something called “the Chaos War” with the wizard Zardeth and the powers of lava sounds like a toy line cobbled together from leftover bits of Manowar songs, and that’s kind of cool, but it doesn’t look like they go far enough with it, possibly because it got the axe after eleven issues. Still, it’s got Crystar fighting his evil twin brother Moltar–presumably before he got the job directing Space Ghost Coast to Coast–and according to Wikipedia, Michael Golden’s cover for #8 was later adapted by Glenn Danzig, and those are both pretty awesome achievements.

Then again, there’s a guy called Feldspar.





Chris Powell: DARKHAWK


All right, I don’t care what any of you think: Darkhawk is fucking awesome.

I may have mentioned this before, but I’ve got a theory that Marvel tries to reinvent Spider-Man every decade. In the ’70s, it was Nova, in the ’80s, it was Speedball, and in the ’90s, it was Darkhawk and his face that was so ugly that he could use it as a weapon. (In the 2000s, as Mark Hale pointed out to me when I was stumped, the reinvention of Spider-Man was Ultimate Spider-Man).

In the intervening years since the height of his popularity, however, Darkhawk has become a sort of poster boy for the excesses of the early ’90s, and you know what? Darkhawk deserves better than that. That’s a crown that should rightfully be laid on the head of Cable, the demi-Chris from an alternate future whose super-power was that he could hold a giant gun, but that’s another story entirely.

What matters here is that I’ve read Darkhawk #1-50 as recently as 2007, and I’ve gotta say: It’s not bad. Not great, mind you, but compared to a lot of other books that hit the shelves in 1991, the saga of Chris Powell and the amulet that turned him into an armored warrior from space with a mug so ugly he could use it as a weapon and his battles with characters like Evilhawk (who was recently revealed to be a figment of Powell’s imagination created after he couldn’t handle the unbearable radness of being Darkhawk) was a work of art. Plus, there are a bunch of scenes in the series that take place in the future, where scholars would look back and discuss the heroism of “The Powell,” who was “the greatest hero of his age,” and even if you give the creators the benefit of the doubt, that’s still clearly untrue to the point of hilarity, which somehow loops around and becomes even more awesome because they had the stones to stand there and go “Fuck yes Darkhawk’s better than Spider-Man, and history will bear me out on this.”

So suck it haters: Darkhawk rules.




Special thanks to Chris Piers and Chris Haley, who provided the picture of Corsair.

96 thoughts on “ChrisCon 2009!

  1. At least there are more Chrises than there are Joshes. I can’t even think of one off the top of my head.

  2. I think the decent thing would be not to brag about sharing a name with Dr. Strange and Captain America. I mean, if YOU’ve got to stretch to fit Darkhawk in there, the last you want is someone pointing out they share a name with two of the biggest guns in the Marvel Universe.

    Still, when you factor in a Colbert…

  3. I can only come up with one Nick off the top of my head, but c’mon. Nick Fury wins against anyone else with the name. There’s no contest.

  4. try having the name niles and being a comics fan. i’ve got nothing. unless they decide they’re going to make a ‘frazier’ comic 10 years after the show is cancelled a la buffy. but even then, would i really win?

  5. Bean, the best I can do is Joshua Jackam, toddler son of the Weather Wizard. Yeah.

    Not many comic characters share my name…I can only think of one. Then again, when that one is LUKE #$*%ING CAGE, how many more do you need?

  6. Lots of Chris stuff out there!

    All I’ve got is Kim Pine. And that’s… actually, that’s pretty great.

  7. You’ve got two kid X-Men, Josh. Foley/Elixer – the obnoxious healer, and Guthrie/Icarus – who had wings and is now dead. So, if you want to be proud of that?

    The only people who spell there name like me seem to be evil male Eastern Europeans. Maybe I can claim a spiritual connection to all the Christophers?


  8. it’s the new atom for me, but he ususally just makes me miss ray parker more.

  9. Darkhawk and his face that was so ugly that he could use it as a weapon.

    Wait, so he’s Mighty Man’s sidekick? The dog so friggin’ ugly, he’s gotta wear a doghouse over his head at all time? Blame old-school Cartoon Network for making me remember that.

    All I can think of Jason-wise is Vorhees and maybe the Hobgoblin. I’m probably missing a crap-ton of characters, but I have to go to sleep now.

  10. Justin Hammer. That’s all I got. But when I was in sixth grade, I thought it was rad that there was a character named Justin in “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH” and that he was a cool guy (or rat, as the case may be).

  11. Oh, and:

    Jason – I’ll toss in Jason Wyngarde, Mastermind.

    Ryan – Ray PALMER is the Atom. Ray PARKER Jr. did the Ghostbusters theme song. Although incidentally, I miss Ray Parker too.

  12. Crystar here was part of the same attempt by Marvel to cash in on the lucrative early-80s toy market that also included GI Joe, ROM: Spaceknight and some crappy robot comic.

    Oh Chris, if your standards of quality weren’t totally arbitrary, that knock against Transformers would probably irk me a little more.

  13. Although there were some issues of “Transformers” that I disliked, I’m pretty sure that was subtle irony.

    Also, I thought that alien was skunk-like, not cat-like. Was that a cover-all term?

  14. There’s also Jason Todd & Jason Blood.

    The only Earl I can think of in comics is the Earl of Greed who was one of DC Ares’ off-siders.

  15. I’m so glad I got my doctorate and I can hang a degree on my wall as Dr. Thanos Galactus Redskull von Doom.

    Let’s face it, my parents are pretty awesome. I probably should have got a doctorate in something better than dermatology.

  16. Yeah!! Darkhawk! He, Sleepwalker and the New Warriors soaked up all my money in the 90’s – talk about the age of apocalypse!

  17. I was about to rant, but then I realized that Dr. Fate shares his name with me. Also White Tiger and Hector from Preacher.

  18. (In the 2000s, as Mark Hale pointed out to me when I was stumped, the reinvention of Spider-Man was Ultimate Spider-Man).

    *cough* Gravity *cough*

  19. I think Captain America out-heroes Darkhawk. Fuck, I think the Sentry out-heroes Darkhawk.

  20. Captain America out-heroes any superhero you care to name…. but his first name isn’t Chris, so it’s a moot point.

  21. Didn’t Runaways/Loners retcon Darkhawk so he was just a guy wearing armor and didn’t actually have an ugly face anymore? Best reinvention of Darkhawk/Turbo/Power Pack EVER!

    My personal theory was that Darkhawk’s face wasn’t ugly, but that bad guys were simply recoiling in terror from what they saw, which in my mind meant combining two defunct Marvel properties (then) unlikely to ever see the light of day again – Darkhawk and Chuck Norris and the Karate Kommandos.

  22. Although not just a comic book character (apparently he’s been in a few films, TV shows and department stores around the end of the year), I’m surprised you forgot Santa Claus himself: Father Chris Mass

    Oh, and then there’s the head honcho of that big ol’ christianity religion thing: Chris T.

    (I am so sorry).

  23. Actually, a few other (real) comic book Chris’s come to mind:

    Chris Bradley aka Bolt then Maverick,
    Chris King, the Dial H for Hero kid,
    Chris Freeman, aka Kid Eternity,

    and another demi-Chris:

    Nathaniel Christopher Adam, aka Captain Atom.

    Sadly, none of the above beat Darkhawk.

  24. Try as I might, I simply cannot come up with a comic property named Tim, save for Tim Drake.

  25. Is there any super-Roger in the comicbooks?

    And Chris is right: Human Target was AWESOME. I just hope the new TV series won’t be very lame.

  26. I loves me so much Sleepwalker I even converted an old Batman figure into a Sleepwalker one (just…painted it different, and I had to cut off his nose).

    Also: where is that Corsair picture from?

    Also also: what, no jokes about how “Coarse Hair” hangs out with someone named “Choad”?

  27. Aw, harsh on Havok. The 1990s incarnation of X-Factor was my favorite of all the mutant titles. Written by Peter David, drawn by Joe Quesada, and focusing on bizarro versions of Cyclops and Phoenix? With a Scottish werewolf? That be 90s, son.

    Besides, Havok is rockin’ War of Kings. Not only does he inherit the Starjammer, he gets dropped into a sun and it only makes him tougher. Quality.

  28. Luke is easy, because we get Luke Cage, and Lucky Luke!

    As far as Darkhawk, I find myself agreeing with you — the character is solid and deserves a better rep.

  29. Yes, Hepzibah is in fact a skunk-girl, not a cat-girl. You may be as disturbed by this as you wish.

    And I’ve got a Martian Manhunter and a Warlord of Mars in my corner, along with the infamous fighter against the machine resistance (which eventually collapsed when they realized that they were actually fighting Batman.)

  30. …face that was so ugly that he could use it as a weapon
    Since when does Marvel steal super powers from the Bash Street Kids?

  31. “a guy who smelled like he spent the past week sleeping in the woods”

    With whom I share a first name.

    I also have War Machine, the original Human Torch, the Guardian, Bulletman, Warpath, and the male Vindicator, as well as a certain Superman’s Pal.

  32. I believe the first “hero” I suggested to Sims was Maverick. This made him angry.

    I was hoping Chris KL-99 would make the list. His origin? A human born in space. That’s it.

  33. Are you sure Hepzibah is a skunk-girl? I seem to remember her early appearances had her attacking the Shi’ar out of some bird/cat hate thing.

  34. Hepzibah may be a skunk-girl but there have been recent descriptions of her in comics as a cat-girl. I suppose the distinction is in which smell she marks her territory with.

    And there aren’t any comic book heroes or villains who share my first name. There is however one villain to comic book fans who shares my first name.

  35. Man, that Corsair write-up was awesomely funny. I nominate this for best feature of the year in the should-be-an-annual-fixture-already ISB reader’s poll. Make it happen, Sims!

  36. I get a pretty sweet deal on the name front really, including:

    Will Magnus
    Captain Marvel
    Beta Ray Bill
    Black Racer
    Willy Lumpkin
    Clock King
    William Stryker

    There are probably more, but those top 5 rock!

  37. OK, can anyone think of a Clay, hero or villain?

    I think there are some with that last name, but I can’t think of one with Clay as the first name.


  38. it might just be that im exhausted and not thinking, but guys named “Dan” dont seem to be in comics much.

  39. For as many Chrises there are in comics, I can’t think of a single one of those, whose full name is Christian.

  40. Clay Quartermain – agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and created by Steranko. That’s not too bad.

    I’ve got Adam Warlock and Adam Strange for my name that I can think off the top of my head. Kind of weird that neither of them really have a codename, they just use their normal name.

  41. jazzbo Said:

    Kind of weird that neither of them really have a codename, they just use their normal name.

    Heck, with a last name like WARLOCK, would you even want a codename?

  42. “For as many Chrises there are in comics, I can’t think of a single one of those, whose full name is Christian”

    A pain I know only too well.

    There’s…Christian Frost, I just discovered…Emma’s gay older brother…who ended up insane from drug use in an asylum?…w00t?!

    There was some indie comic from the mid-90’s which featured a heroine named Christian, but damned if I can find it on Google right now. I think it barely lasted one issue.

  43. I think the “karate expert marksman master of disguise” takes the cake when it come to this list of Chrises.

    (I can only conjure up a single Travis though: Warlord.)

  44. Are there any Craigs? “Cuz if there aren’t, I’m just going to tell people that”s Jughead’s real name…

  45. I remember reading my first Human Target story — in a DC digest of the other detectives from Detective Comics — and being just blown away that his name was Christopher Chance.

    Christophers everywhere thank you.

    Oh, and Roger, I have some critic friends who have already seen the pilot, and their verdict is: pretty great.

  46. Usually you make extreme analogies for the purposes of humour, but I’m glad to see you forego this today in favor of simply stating the obvious truth about Darkhawk – that those of our future descendants who survive will worship him as a form of god much as I already do.

    Any opinions on what he ‘did’ between his own series ending and his Mantloesque return to form in Nova? Personally I prefer my gods smitey.

  47. Hepzibah was definitely a skunk. She’s clearly a nod to Walt Kelly’s Pogo character of the same name.

    The only Jonathan I can think of is the Scarecrow, but I feel like there must be more.

  48. Hooray for Darkhawk.

    I’ve got Green Arrow and Kid Omni-man, which is alright.

  49. If you want to go behind the Iron Curtain, there’s also Kris Kalenov, who was in that awesome Winter Men series that Wildstorm never wanted to publish.

  50. I don’t mind sharing a first name with Jesse Custer. But I think he’s the only one.

  51. | Hepzibah was definitely a skunk.

    This doesn’t really change things.

    Oh, Mr. Sims. You know that to a furry that changes everything.

    I’m happy that I share my first name with Captain James T. Kirk. That is all I need.

  52. Thoughts I had while reading this article:

    -Has there ever been a Troy in comics? As a super hero? The only fictional Troy I can even recall is the skinny kid from that MST3K episode. You know, the one with Rousdour (sp?) I swear we used to have a guy that came into the store that was almost a ringer for that guy. Anyway, we Troys are underrepresented.

    -Slamming Transformers as a whole is not recommended. Just saying.

    -Slight correction: Darkhawk used to be awesome, until new writers who aren’t Danny Fingeroth came along, ignored the second half of the series, and dropped his AQ (“awesome quotient”) by half thusly. Although I’m glad the wings are back. I did miss those in the new design. Is the claw cable back?

    -Doesn’t Chris Chance in the new series drop the whole “disguise yourself as someone else” and just uses an assumed idenity? That’s what I got from the preview, and it kind of makes me miss the Rick Springfield series. Draw your own conclusions on my taste from that, but you know you wanted an airship like that.

    -The End

  53. The only fella I can think of is Mr Fury of SHIELD. I’ll take that.

    Speaking of crappy robots, the second movie is out in the UK on Friday! Woo! And yet, as bizarre as this sounds coming from me, I’m actually more excited about GI Joe, with Big Chris Eccleston as Destro complete with dodgy Scottish accent.

  54. I forgot I also share a first name with the original Spectre, Calamity from THE ORDER, the Hulk’s buddy Jim Wilson, Skull the Slayer, and Speed Demon.

  55. “Transformers? I thought you were talking about Shogun Warriors…”

    Dammit! Not enough to beat me to the joke, you get Lucky Post #69 too? Bah!

  56. I share my name with, off the top of my head, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner. I don’t think Selina Kyle counts in this case.

    But I share my name with a few creators, like Kyle Baker and Kyle Hotz.

  57. “Darkhawk used to be awesome, until new writers who aren’t Danny Fingeroth came along, ignored the second half of the series, and dropped his AQ (”awesome quotient”) by half thusly. Although I’m glad the wings are back. I did miss those in the new design. Is the claw cable back?”

    Be fair: Darkhawk’s detour into navel-gazing as a member of Excelsior was clearly envisioned by someone who’d never actually read the comics that featured those characters, and while their reinvention WAS poor, the story itself was fun.

    Loners later sucked all joy from the characters involved like a Bizarro-NextWave, but if you ignore Loners (as most thankfully did), you could check out Marvel Team-Up 15-18, where Robert Kirkman ignored Borehawk entirely and had our boy back kickin’ ass like he used to, claw cable and all – Darkhawk/Chris even gets a pretty decent final line that’s cheesey and reminds you why you read superhero comics.

  58. Something we’ve missed in this “skunk- or cat-girl” debate…

    Does this mean that Chris Summers is Pepe LePew?

  59. Hmmm..I get Captain Britain…

    And yes, Doug, Doug Ramsey is pretty good, all in all.

  60. Hey Wolter, don’t forget Jonathan Kent. Plus, Booster Gold’s a Jon. A Michael Jon.

  61. Hey, Grace, chin up! You’ve also got Grace Choi from the OUTSIDERS and Amazing Grace from Kirby’s Fourth World. And I think Two-Face’s ex-wife was named Grace.

    It’s not like sharing Wolverine’s first name (yay, me!), but it’s still something.

  62. Yeah. Whatever. Flaunt your normal names, like it matters or something. You don’t know my pain!

  63. Is there a Josie who isn’t with the pussycats anywhere in comics?

    My guy is the Thing, apparently.

  64. All I can come up with is Gary Gilbert, a.k.a. the villian Firebrand, and Gary Cody, Alpha Flight’s government liaison. Not much of a selection.

    Also, IIRC, Corsair was the one that gave her the name Hepzibah, because he couldn’t pronounce her name in her own skunk-girl language. Which if true just makes the Pogo reference a little more overt.

  65. Sadly Mr. JosephJohnJurgensJingleheimerschmidt (yes, I’ll hate myself later, but Kidsongs made sure that will stuck in my head for life) I can’t bring myself to bother with anything new (to me, at least) from Marvel that doesn’t have “Adventures” in the banner, except for it’s spritual member, Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers. (And at least the first issue of the Super Hero Squad ongoing coming up, because I’m weird like that.) So I’ll have to take your word for it.

  66. 51: Heck, with a last name like WARLOCK, would you even want a codename?

    I’d say that Adam Warlock *is* his codename, since he picked it out himself. It’s not his parents were Scott and Jody Warlock. Then again, his three fathers named the guy Him, so you can’t exactly blame him.

  67. Gotta love the Darkhawk. But let’s keep things in perspective: It’s his last name that makes him cool, not his first name.

    (I always liked that his little brother was named Jason too.)

  68. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: being named Colin sucks. I can think of Colin Mochrie from the American Whose Line Is It Anyway and that’s it.

    ::goes off to drink::

  69. I
    IRON MAN (and part-time director of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

    Put that in your pipe and suck it. Tony RULES!

  70. Well, Darkhawk managed to take down Ultron. Somehow. And while he was guest-starring, no less. That’s gotta count for something, right?

  71. Darkhawk does indeed rule. I always thought I was alone in realizing this. Well, me alone with Danny Fingeroth.

  72. Ha ha ha…. :-( No Erinns anywhere to be seen. Or Erins that I know of. (I regard ‘Aaron’ as a different name. Or a cowardly evasion. Take your pick.)

    Anyway! I’m both excited and saddened to find out that next year’s Human Target (TV show, you know) is based off a comic. On the one hand, it is a ROCKING premise. On the other, COME ON NETWORKS, BE ORIGINAL PLZ.