Top 5: Comic Book Dads

There are lots of bad dads out there, and lots of pretty good dads, but these are the guys who get it done for their families, and even set up their kids to be be the best humans (or whatever) they can be. It's just past Father's Day, so let's do Top 5 Comic Book Dads!


1.  John Custer (Preacher)

John Custer wasn't around that long, but he made a huge impression on young Jesse Custer, which is a good thing, since he was walking around with the power of God in his voice.  That's something you wouldn't want a lot of your elected leader to have.  Luckily John Custer was a damn fine man and soldier, and even though he was killed when Jesse was only 5, he told him, "You gotta be a good guy, Jesse. You gotta be like John Wayne: you don't take no shit off fools, an' you judge people by what's in 'em, not how they look. An' you do the right thing. You gotta be one of the good guys, son, 'cause there's way too many of the bad."  Those are some amazing words to live by.


2. Ted Knight (Starman)

Ted didn't necessarily get it right the first time.  He'd always treated Davey as his favorite, and Jack was just too strange and like his mother to even bother with.  There's nothing unusual about that.  But where Ted Knight shines is that he came around.  Before it was too late, he was lucky enough to have the chance to really get to know his son Jack, and by the end of Starman, theirs was a relationship to be admired, and while it may have been fictional, I'd been with these characters for such a long story that the emotional resonance felt entirely real.


3. Buddy Baker (Animal Man)

Grant Morrison's Animal Man series showed readers something they hadn't seen a lot of, and that was a man trying to balance being a good father with trying to be a superhero, right along with trying to earn a living.  Very often comic book dads are either saints or devils.  Buddy was a guy who wanted to do the best he could, but just like in real life, that wasn't always clear cut, and it wasn't always easy.  But when it came down to it, Buddy was always there for his family first and foremost.  Plus, you've gotta love a dad who can bring home Starfire to watch the kids.


4. Rick Grimes (Walking Dead)

Some dads sacrifice for their families, and then there's Rick.  Carl Grimes will never need to wonder if his father really cared about him, because if you're talking about a guy who will do anything for his son, you're talking about Rick. Some say a real father will kill for their children if they have to, and if that's the case, it's fair to say that Rick is a real father.  Rick lost every single thing in the world except for his son, so his entire purpose is to make sure Carl is safe, and as happy as possible. That's a damn good father right there.


5. Pa Kent (Superman)

There's simply no way to have a list of the top Dads in comics without Pa Kent, because he simply is the prototype superhero dad.  Every wonderful father in comics starts with Pa Kent.  Superman isn't Superman without Pa Kent.  He taught Clark how to be a good man, to do the right thing, and that leaves us with the best, most selfless character in comics, who also happens to be the most powerful character.  You know that Jonathan Kent is significant, because as soon as you imagine Clark's shuttle landing 50 miles in any other direction, and you might end up with an entirely different Superman, and an entirely different DC Universe.


  1. I’ll eventually learn to skip over anything that mentions Walking Dead. I’ve got to get caught up so I don’t get anything else spoiled.

    Good list! Shouldn’t Uncle Ben get an honourable mention for being Peter’s adoptive father?

  2. That’s exactly what I was thinking@ intergy

  3. I vote Lucas Falconer.  He gets to be Dr. Strange and Batman rolled into one, all while raising a daughter as a single dad.  Tough gig for the protector of Devil’s Echo.

  4. good call intergy! I am not familiar with any of the above characters. Is it an admirable thing that most of these fathers are not mainstream, or is it an indictment of mainstream comics that only the unrealistically saintly Pa Kent is the only one who makes the list?

  5. Yall should do worst comic book dads as well, everyone knows Scott Summers would make that short list.

  6. Bruce to Dick, Jason, Tim and Damien??

    Alfred to Bruce?

  7. @har13quin: You mght not be familiar with them, but Animal Man and Starman are quite mainstream.

  8. @Conor: Fair shout, I stand corrected.

     I have been thinking about it and I can’t think of a single father, or father figure in popular culture that stand out to me as particularly good or bad. They just don’t register. Weird.

  9. I was thinking Roy Harper until, well… recently.

  10. @smeeeeee Jason turned out so well. I agree with Alfred though. Maybe there should be a Top 5 Adoptive/Foster Dads, although that would move Pa Kent off the list.

    Darkseid, Scott Summers, Magneto, and Ra’s Al Gould could be on the worst dads list.

  11. Oh sure, Rick Grimes makes the list, but where is Kirkman’s other model dad: Omni-Man?  There seems to be a decidedly anti-alien bias to this list.

  12. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Some other good dad stories: Three Shadows by Cyril Pedrosa; Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

    I also like the non-traditional dads of comics like Alfred, Uncle Ben and Professor Broom. Maybe even Jor-El. 

  13. I wouldn’t want to be Bruce Wayne’s kid.

  14. Best dads… Lone Wolf? Martin Jordan (post-Rebirth)? Pat Dugan?

    Worst dads… maybe Howard Stark, Ollie Queen, Bruce Wayne, Plastic Man, Odin, Alan Scott, Ted Grant… Venom?

    OOH, NO! Worst dad is comics? Spider-Man!

    Dude doesn’t even know where his kids is AT!

  15. Ogami Itto: good one.

  16. Red Tornado was a good dad in Young Justice. Steve Rogers is a father figure for nearly every Marvel superhero.

  17. Commissioner James Gordon

  18. I would say Wally West should be in the top 10.

    But on the otherside of the coin. Oliver Queen might be the worse comic book dad

  19. Did anyone like the Wally West as Dad stories? I don’t know anyone who did.

  20. Great list, I agree that Pa Kent is the definitive comic book Dad. 

    Also, worst comic book dad should have Booster Gold’s dad on there. He’s meeeeean 🙁 

  21. I thought this was going to be guys like John Romita and Joe Kubert. I guess this will so too.

  22. Thanks for not having Reed Richards on the list. I was expecting it despite him being an awful awful father.

  23. So…what you’re saying is that the Marvel U is full of a bunch of deadbeat scumbags? 🙂

  24. Looks like I might be. Reed Richards was in my first draft. If that helps.

  25. Cyclops is the kind of father all men can and should aspire to be. Abandoning your wife and baby because your ex-girlfriend just showed up again not enough? Get rid of the kid by sending it off to a hellish future, and send your wife to hell*!

    But, seriously, no Uncle Ben? If Pa Kent counts as a real dad, so does Uncle Ben.


    *Or whatever happened to the Goblin Queen. If only there were some way to look things up online…

  26. I was scrolling down saying "Rick’s gotta be #1, right?" But #2 to Pa Kent isn’t too bad, I suppose.

  27. Buddy Baker is by far my favorite with John Custer a close second and Rick a close third. Man that’s crazy, I see those faces and whole series of issues flashes before my eyes.


    lol, but seriously, i would have loved to have starfire babysit me

  29. @har13quin: What about Bill Cosby in "The Cosby Show"? Heck, if Bill Cosby had been in a comic, and he probably was, then I’d have to put him above Pa Kent. 

  30. @Kodaiji – But remember that episode where he made Rudy and Vanessa move into the basement? That was kinda effed up.

  31. Worst Dad: Deathstroke?

    If I had to pick a Comic book Dad to be my Old Man, it’s Pa Kent all around. One of the most decent men ever written.

  32. I agree with the Uncle Ben love and add that the Parkers in Spider-Girl are an absolutely wonderful family, my favourite portrayal of parents in comics.

  33. Uncle Ben was in a total of *5* panels before he was killed in Amazing Fantasy #15. So no, he didn’t really have the impact I needed for this. I literally wrote a caption that was longer than the sum total of his dialog in that issue for each of the above choices. I think people are in love with the idea of Uncle Ben, or maybe movie Uncle Ben.

  34. Omni-Man from Invincible. ‘Nuff said.

  35. Damn you Josh! Now I want to go read Preacher again. I read one or two pannels and then i just can’t stop…

    Luke Cage hasn’t been a dad for long and who knows if he is a "GOOD" father, but he is THE COOLEST!!!