FATHER'S DAY: The 10 BEST DADS in Comic Books

<p>In comic book mythology, fathers play a major role with some of the biggest and best-known characters, often times even reaching back through memories to influence their heroic offspring in the present. But who are the best dads? <p>On Father's Day, we figured it was time to take a look at ten of our favorite dads in comics. <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/fathers-day-10-worst-dads-comics.html>Click Here for the 10 WORST Dads in Comics</a> <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i>

Reed Richards

Honestly, there's an argument here to include Reed on the worst dad's list. He allowed Doom to name Valeria? He's pretty self-absorbed and borderline emotionally neglectful on occasion. And he probably wouldn't chart high on best husbands, either. Still, the time that he does spend with the kids is generally cool and adventure packed. What pair of little kids ever had a playground like the Baxter Building and the past, or playmates like The Thing and Lockjaw? That kind of mitigates the recurring Dad is in the lab again theme.

Bruce Wayne

Wait, wasn't he on the worst list? Yes, but there's a pretty big upside to Bruce Wayne as a father, too. <p>Wayne, being orphaned, has acted as a surrogate father to orphans in return. He takes kids in, teaches them strong values... and lets them play with some <i>really</i> cool toys. <p>Bruce's fatherhood has raised some of the greatest heroes of our time. Now, with his first biological son in his life, he works day and night to keep him safe from his bat$#!& crazy mother, and deprogram his assassin training. <p>It can't be easy being the son of a billionaire playboy, but Dick, Cassie, and Tim turned out pretty well, and we think Damian will too, thanks largely to Bruce Wayne's guidance.

Jim Gordon

We always knew Jim Gordon was one of the good guys. He may not have always been the best husband, but when Barbara "came out" as Batgirl and Oracle in the old DCU, he revealed that he already knew her little secret (man, what ELSE does he know?). In the New 52, Gordon has shown again that he'll do anything to protect his family. <p>Always supportive and now willing to let his daughter pursue her own path, even if it means risking her life, Gordon's the kind of dad we'd all like to have.

Bigby Wolf

OK, we admit that Bigby gets extra points for being so daggone cool. But his dedication to Snow and the kids since they moved to Wolf Valley at the Farm should be an example to any dad with a litter of seven kids. As any Fables reader knows, they're a bit of a handful whether wolf or human. <p>Plus, his acceptance of his seventh child, the invisible baby zephyr he named Ghost, was something only a loving dad could do.

Jack Murdock

It's true that his choices for his own life weren't the wisest. But when it came to his son, Jack Murdock didn't let being a single dad stop him from making sure young Matt was raised well. Despite being a boxer himself and going through some rough patches with Matt, he's the one who encouraged his son to hit the books and instilled in the boy a respect for non-violence. <p>And it was his father's murder that inspired Matt to turn dad's boxing robes into a vigilante costume and fight crime as Daredevil. <p>Thanks, Dad.

Rick Grimes

Any time a reader of The Walking Dead starts thinking he's got it rough, all he has to do is think of Rick, and life doesn't seem so bad. But faced with a zombie apocalypse, Rick doesn't go off the deep end like many of his co-survivors. Instead, he serves as an example for his son Carl by acting as their leader. <p>Along with that, he ignored the protests from others and taught his son to shoot a gun at zombies, and that's a skill that just might come in handy as the two fight for survival in the coming months. <p>And most recently, Rick's raising of Carl is yielding benefits, as the son now must help the father to cope after the horrible tragedy they lived through. Of course it's not all sunshine and lollipops for Carl in the zombie apocalypse. Things have taken a turn for the worse for the boy, but not due to Rick.

Animal Man

Buddy Baker comes off as an all-around great father. He's even-tempered and has real talks about real issues with his kids. We recall one strong moment under Grant Morrison's pen when he explained to his son the justifications of why the family should be vegetarian while still allowing their cat to have meat in its diet. <p>That's the kind of caring, intelligent conversation that one welcomes from an involved dad. <p>Now, he's guiding his daughter through the pains of becoming a superpowered being connected to all animal life on the planet. You know, like you do.

Wally West

When the public's knowledge of his identity led to his wife's attack and the miscarriage of their unborn twins, Wally was so traumatized that he begged The Spectre to make his identity a secret again, wishing to try to recover from the loss alone with his wife. But after a twist in time meant the two children were born alive, Wally didn't take them for granted, making their health and happiness the center of not only his home life, but even his time as a superhero, sharing costume time with Jai and Iris. <p>Wally may not be around in the New 52, but his legacy as a father lives on.

Uncle Ben

While he's not the biological father of Peter Parker, Uncle Ben certainly had the pivotal male role in the raising of the future Spider-Man. His words on great power become the mantra that Spidey lives by. <p>Honestly, inasmuch as we've always viewed Uncle Ben as Pete's father figure, the first Raimi film drives it home. When Tobey Maguire declares, I had a father; his name was Ben Parker, you can't help but nod in solemn agreement.

Pa Kent

A narrow win, but Pa Kent remains the Gold Standard for Comic Dads. Pa Kent represents the notion of nurture-over-nature, as his (and Ma's) warmth and strong values serve as the strongest influence on the worldview of Superman. <p>It's accurate to say that Pa Kent is iconic in his own right; the character has been judged worthy to appear in nearly every iteration of Superman media, including the serials, the first episode of the '50s series, Superboy, the brief '80s cartoon, Lois and Clark, and obviously the first Reeve film and Smallville. His gentle nature, constant optimism, and wisdom make him the only choice for #1 on our list of the Best Dads.

FATHER'S DAY: The 10 BEST DADS in Comic Books

Date: 15 June 2008 Time: 03:53 PM ET