The world of comics is vast, from Marvel to Image and Dark Horse to DC. And in this ever-expanding world of comics, we have plenty of different characters to choose our favourites from; superheroes, anti-heroes, villains, damsels in distress, psychopathic clowns and more.
There have been plenty of characters over the years that I’ve loved to hate, ones I’ve warmed to immediately and some who have annoyed me from the get-go. When flicking from one comic to another, you get to experience a wealth of different characters, many of whom are very different and some who are quite similar. What I’ve come to find is that there’s one type of character that you can be guaranteed is in every comic universe you’ve dipped your toes in; the playboy. And not just your average playboy who thinks he’s all that when he isn’t, I’m talking about the perfect playboy.
The perfect playboy is a man who is always conventionally handsome, usually with a strong jawline and cheekbones you could cut your hand on, with narrow eyes, well groomed hair and a body that looks like it was sculpted out of marble. He’s also filthy rich, notoriously scared of commitment, with an extensive arsenal at his disposal. As well as that, he’s unhealthily obsessed with a personal mission for vengeance, justice or [insert noble cause here], one that’s usually formed because of some haunting past experience that scarred him and sent him on his path.
Here is a list of the top 3 imperfectly perfect playboys in the comics universe:
Batman (Bruce Wayne)
Batman is just as well known to us comic fans as a wooer of women as he is the caped crusader. Although his many (many…) relationships don’t define him, they’re certainly a major part of his character’s actions and, to some extent, his personality. Bruce Wayne – suave, successful, rich and good looking, who wouldn’t look out of place with a girl on each arm. He’s very easy to visualise, either as his crime-fighting, badass alter ego or as the rich, charming man who’s keeping up the charade of his name by being what everyone expects.
He’s dabbled with both villainesses and heroes, as well as civilians and respected members of society as well. Batman doesn’t seem to have a certain taste in women that can be nailed down, but he certainly falls hard and fast for the dangerous women that slip in and out of his life. Talia al Ghul and Catwoman are the two main interests that come to mind. So although Batman may be a dangerous force to be reckoned with, there are two women who can floor him like big bad villains only wish they could.
Besides some of the women who have fascinated the Bat, it’s hard to know whether Batman actually enjoys being a playboy or not. On the one hand, kicking butt every night is a pretty hard job and, although that’s sure to be a stress reliever by itself, the brief embrace of a beautiful woman is sure to bring him back to earth after a near death experience or two. On the other hand, Batman and Bruce Wayne aren’t separate entities, and I see the bat having swallowed the man whole until all that’s left that matters is the mission. So in that respect I think Batman probably plays along with the frivolities and fleeting perks that come with being ‘Bruce Wayne’. Really, Batman’s just along for the ride.
Green Arrow (Oliver Queen)
As someone who didn’t start reading Green Arrow until after I saw (and gave up on) the TV show, I’m not the world’s best authority on Oliver Queen and his exploits with the women in his life. Not that you need to be, as he’s pretty shameless with his exploits and one only needs to read the very briefest of panels to see what Oliver Queen’s relationships with women are like.
After Queen’s parents died, he grew into his inheritance and became a rich, thrill-seeking drunken playboy. Now one could forgive him for going a little off the rails because of the trauma of his parents’ death, obviously, but who’s to say that Queen wouldn’t have turned out the same way? One thing’s for certain, though, there seems to be a pattern between boys who lost their parents becoming womanising players with a strong moral compass and a lot of issues.
His attitude towards women has changed over the years but, like Batman, he’s attracted to danger. Although he’s made very bad romantic decisions in his, committed infidelity and betrayed his fair share of sweethearts, ultimately the queen of Queen’s heart (heh) is and probably forever will be Black Canary. It goes to show that the right woman can tame even the wildest men.
Iron Man (Tony Stark)
In the words of the man himself, Tony Stark is a genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist, which I’m sure is just as fun as it sounds. Well, that quote is courtesy of the movie version of Tony, but they’re really very similar so props to Marvel for keeping true to the character!
Tony, and his womanising ways, as well as other facets of his personality were based on the real-life erratic billionaire, Howard Hughes. Though I doubt Hughes was a secret superhero. In fact, when Stan Lee created the character he thought that readers would hate him. And sure why wouldn’t you? Everyone has a green eyed monster bubbling below the surface, and that can spill over into real hatred when directed at someone as beautiful, talented and lucky with the ladies as Tony is.
However, even though boys may have been jealous of the playboy, or aspired to be him, the girls who read comics at the time actually send in fan mail gushing over the handsome hero. Stan Lee said that “of all the comic books we published at Marvel, we got more fan mail for Iron Man from women, from females, than any other title….We didn’t get much fan mail from girls, but whenever we did, the letter was usually addressed to Iron Man.”
Even though he’s gotten away with bedding women from all corners of the world, from She-Hulk to Janice Cord and everyone in between (including some crazies like Madame Masque) Tony Stark has been very unlucky in love. Because of his metal chest plate, Tony felt that any kind of real love was impossible for him for a long time (though I always hold a torch for the wonderful Pepper Potts) but he’s dated many women that have indulged his bad side and dragged him to the deep end of the depression pool.
For instance, his relationship with Indries Moomji who was hired by Tony’s enemy to make him fall in love with her, only to cruelly break it off. Tony hit the bottle fairly hard after Indries’ betrayal, and his health took an even bigger hit when he met Heather Glenn, who was also an alcoholic. After a string of bad relationships, you can’t really blame the man for sticking to one night stands.
To be fair to Tony, though, he did fall in love with Madame Masque despite her horrific facial scars so he’s obviously a man who who doesn’t just consider the outside. However, the relationship ended badly (really badly!) after he accidentally killed her father. Yeah, that’s a sure-fire way of fizzling a relationship.
Who do you think are the comic world’s biggest players? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!