The 90s: time of an enormous comic book boom, and the near-bankruptcy of industry stalwarts, DC and Marvel Comics. Why? Numerous factors contributed to the boom-bust economics of the comic business: investment speculation, overproduction of titles and publicity stunt events all contributed to the almost fatal finances of the comic book industry.
In the midst of it all, writers tried to update classic characters or produce new heroes to meet with the apathetic, dark and gloomy grunge rock attitude of the era. A good portion of them survive and endure in popularity to this day, while others have fallen by the wayside. Either way, it's hard to read the comics of the era (or even some of our own) without grumbling "that character is sooo 90s!" Unlike the music of the time, that's not a good thing, and revisiting their stories makes them feel even more hopelessly dated. Other than their ridiculous costumes, complete with superfluous belts, oversized weapons (thank you Rob Liefeld) and jackets, their anti hero, kill first question later, violent attitudes seemed more cynical than edgy in the days of post 9/11 hero worship. Even in the new era of hope and expanded superhero cinematic universes, gritty nihilists ring false when compared to wary heroes just trying to do the right thing.
10 Cable - Terminator Rip-Off
9 Bane - A Needlessly Brutal And Overpowered Character
8 Doomsday - DC Needed Someone To Kill Superman
7 Carnage - Ultra Violent and Vampiristic
6 Azrael - Batman's Apprentice
The rule that Batman never uses guns frustrated writers in the 1990s, so in the midst of the publicity stunt story arc boom, they figured, why not just paralyze him and replace him with someone else?
5 Electro Superman - What The...
4 The Super-Imposters - Superman Doppelgangers
3 Scarlet Spider - The Unpopular Spider-Man
2 Lobo - Parody Of Wolverine
1 Spawn - The Anti-Hero We All Loved In The 90s
What other character more embodies 90s pop culture than Spawn? A horribly scarred anti-hero with drug-like demonic powers and a love of ultra-violence, he prowled the streets beating low-life criminals to a pulp, courtesy of his living suit which granted him super strength and the ability to create weapons at will. Despite his heroics, Spawn knew he would always be damned, and would one day have to lead a Satanic attack on Heaven.
Overpowered, nihilistic, grimy and brutal, Spawn came to epitomize everything popular, proper and wrong with 1990s comics. Once a top seller, his popularity nosedived in the early 2000s, and by 2010, the once blockbuster character was barely a blip on the comics radar.
Some characters are for all time, others, of their time. The ten are all of the latter variety. Consider us lucky.
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