As I was perusing the blogosphere this afternoon something exciting happened! Thanks to Nancy over at Graphic Novelty 2 and Heather from Heather Hobbs – A Book Blog, I learned that “Top Five Wednesday” is not only a thing, but an exciting thing at that! (It’s worth noting I’ve seen a lot of brilliant Top Five lists online…I’m sure a lot of them were on Wednesday too. Buuuut I didn’t “get it” until I saw Nancy and Heather’s posts a few moments apart. This is embarrassing…let’s not broadcast it.) So I figured I’d join the ol’ group over at Goodreads myself and join the fun. With it being Father’s Day this weekend, the post was to be on your Top Five Favorite Literary Fathers. (Okay, okay, it’s technically Thursday. But I just saw this now! So shhhh…let’s not broadcast this either. I promise next week the post will be written and posted on Wednesday.) With that being said, let’s look at some great dads!
As a lifelong Spider-Man fan I have to start with Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben. Ben and May take in young Peter after the death of his parents and they unwaveringly care for him. There’s no sense of “…as if he were their own” because Peter is. They are a beautiful image of what family can and should be. Uncle Ben’s death is the tragic event that sends Peter on his lifelong quest to be a hero. And, while he may’ve died in Spidey’s first appearance, his life lessons live on, shaping every issue of every Spider-Man comic. With great power, comes great responsibility. It’s the words Peter strives to live by every day…and ones we as readers should take to heart too.
I’ve also loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for just about as long as I can remember. As such, Splinter has to make this list. He raises the Turtles; teaches them how to live, love, and protect themselves; he guides them on their hero’s journey; and he will willingly offer his life for his sons. He fights fiercely to protect them while also teaching them the importance of compassion and wisdom. Also, as the film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) taught us, he has “always liked…cowabunga.” So, COWABUNGA. Woo!
One of my absolute favorite comics growing up was The Fantastic Four. The team was amazing, the visuals captivating, and their adventures were routinely some of the best I could find every month. It makes me sad to see the (shudder…blah) movie Fox put out and how the growing rift between Fox and Marvel has led to the title being cancelled currently. But that doesn’t stop Reed Richards – aka Mr. Fantastic – from making this list! He serves as the father not just to young Franklin but to so many of the heroes in the Marvel Universe as well. Plus, as the very first Marvel comic he’s essentially the superhero father of the Marvel Age!
Okay this, admittedly, may be a bit of a surprise. But I agree with Nancy’s (very Star Wars!) post on this issue. Yes, Darth Vader’s killed a lot of people. He spent twenty years being a glowing example of evil incarnate, serving his Emperor and scouring the galaxy to crush any sign of hope. BUT, he went to the Dark Side in the pursuit of love (admittedly, he soon lost sight of love as the Dark Side corrupted him) and his desire to save Padmé. THEN he came back to the Light Side as his love of his son brought him redemption. Sure, Vader’s a bit of a bastard but he follows wherever love pulls him and it’s his realization of his responsibilities as a father and his love of his son that allow him to become redeemed and save the galaxy.
If you were surprised by Vader then Deadpool has to be a complete and total shocker. But his relationship with his daughter Ellie is one of the most beautiful, authentic, and original parts of his series. When Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn introduced Ellie in their Marvel NOW! run of Deadpool the readers found an intimated and layered relationship. Deadpool is certainly (and consistently) the rudest, crudest, most inappropriate superhero around. But realizing he had a daughter changed him. Yes, he’s the same Merc with a Mouth when he’s working. But now he’s living for something more than that. He’s trying to figure out how to become the person Ellie needs him to be…and the father she deserves. She is safe and protected, completely off the grid to keep her away from superhero shenanigans. But Deadpool still sees her regularly, tucks her in, reads her stories, and works on building a real relationship with this beautiful little girl. As soon as he knew she existed, his whole world changed and it’s been uplifting to see,
So there you have it, my first Top Five Wednesday submission. I enjoyed reflecting on some famous literary father figures. Oop…and now that George Michael song is in my head. This just keeps getting better! This was kind of exciting! Now we just have to see if I have the focus to keep making it a thing… Wish me luck! On the subject of focus and fathers…it may be time to finish up my Father’s Day shopping too!