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Comic Vine's Father's Day Roundup: The Good and the Bad Dads of Comics

With Father's Day quickly approaching this Sunday, here is a list of some of comics' best and worst dads.

Ah, Father's Day: a time for waking up early, making the old man some bacon and eggs and giving him the customary garish tie. It's a day to appreciate everything that man has done for you, whether or not you always agree.

Comic books has their share of fathers, each with their own set of pros and cons. Since the superhero-ing profession isn't the most family-friendly, I thought it would be a good idea to point out some dads who've made it work, and others who have been less than successful.

The Good List

Omni Man

I might catch some flack for this one, but Invincible's proud papa earns some points from me because of the massive redemption his character went through.

Nolan Grayson started off as Earth's greatest champion, betrayed the planet he loved, left his son and wife and absconded to another planet. While there, he wed another woman, had another child, returned to Earth and was promptly captured by the alien race he was fought againt. Nolan has been involved with multiple fights with his son, Mark, and is responsible for the murders of the Guardians of the Globe.

However, Nolan's fight against the Viltrumite Empire and the revelation that he was just trying to protect Mark lead him on the path of redemption; he wasn't totally guiltless, but damnit, he was trying to fix the problems he had started.

Before going off the deep end, Nolan was a writer who authored several science fiction and travel books. He was not shy about revealing his super-powered life to his family, and mentored his son as his powers grew. For the first few volumes of Invincible, Nolan seemed to be the dad that every teen superhero would want, and that earns him points.

Nolan represents the dad who has screwed up some things in his life but has made a genuine effort to repair the bridges he's burned. He's put a monumental effort into patching things up and making amends for his mistakes, and that earns him a spot on "the good list".

== TEASER ==

Jack Knight

I wrote about Jack Knight during a column about superheroes who had given up the profession, and that's specifically why he's on this list. After siring two children (one as a rape victim), Jack realized that in order to properly raise them as a family (with the wife of his second child) he would need to give up his dangerous profession.

I touched on this during the previous column, but Jack getting out of the game can be seen as a step towards responsibility that fathers gain when having a child. The world no longer is about them; the child is now that world. For taking the time to realize that his children are a bigger concern than his pursuit of justice, Jack earns a spot on "the good list."

Reed Richards

While I was planning this article I toyed with putting Reed on the "bad" list; Mister Fantastic has always struck me as someone who puts his work before his family. However, due to some extreme luck, Reed's children turned out as smart as he did, so his camaraderie and interaction with them has been admirable.

Reed's relationship with Franklin and Valeria represents a father who hasn't quite given up everything he enjoys in order to manage his family. While he is occupied with improving the free world, there are moments where he is tender with his children, fostering their intelligence and creativity to help them grow to their full potential. Reed hasn't been so selfish to put his own greatness ahead of his kids', so that saves him from being too horrible.

It would be interesting, however, to see what would happen if his kids were born with "average" intelligence; witnessing Reed trying to deal with a child who loves punk music would be entertaining, for sure.

The Bad List

Corsair

Christopher Summers, while awesome in certain ways (I mean, look at that costume!), made some major slip-ups at being a father. As a pilot, he flew his two sons (Scott and Alex) and pregnant wife in their private airplane on a trip. The ship was attacked by a Shi'ar cruiser, leading Christopher to strap Scott in a parachute, instruct Alex to hold onto him, and then threw them off the plane. He was then abducted along with his wife by the Shi'ar.

After witnessing his wife's death and surviving a prison sentence in spice mines, Christopher eventually rebelled against his captors and escaped with a number of other prisoners. They christened their team the Starjammers, as Christopher entered into a life-mate relationship with Hepzibah, a prisoner he saved from execution.

They then took to raiding the Shi'ar in revenge, as you would assume. However, never once did he decide to fly back to Earth to see if his sons were still alive; it took a chance meeting with the X-Men to lead to the possibility that they had survived their perilous escape. Corsair had seen his sons' parachute catch fire as they leaped out of the plane, and assumed the worst: however, I can safely say that a father who has the slightest inkling that his children may be alive would stop at nothing to verify it for sure.

Magneto

So, you're a mutant with a chip on your shoulder and you want to show the world what you're capable of. You amass a number of other mutants who think like you do, forming a terrorist cell that looks to rule the Earth with an iron fist. In the midst of all this, you recruit your two children (Wanda and Pietro) into the terrorist cell, and force them into evil. Eventually, they see the error of your ways and defect to the Avengers.

Then you reveal that you've fathered another mutant, this time with powers similar to your own. At no point do you attempt to take responsibility for said mutants, except when they go insane. Instead, you're content to keep on your fanatical quest, manipulating, killing, lying and deceiving a million times over.

That's not the mark of a good dad.

Alan Scott

While the original Green Lantern is an all-American powerhouse, it pains me to have to add him to this list. Time-displaced and possibly ageless, Alan remains an example of what can happen when you don't get with the times. While the relationship between Scott and his daughter, Jenny, has always been amicable, his relationship with his homosexual son, Todd, has been less than perfect.

Todd still harbors a deep resentment for Alan when he gave up both twins for adoption close after their birth. Todd grew up in an abusive household, escaping to be part of the Infinity, Inc. super-team with a number of his close friends. He reunited with Jenny and found out who their father was; this did little to heal the abandonment issues that had been festering in Todd's mind. As a result of manipulation, Todd became a super-villain, and was imprisoned; Alan felt guilty for what Todd had become, and vowed to be a part of his life.

Jenny's death while on a mission is space with Alan led him to cherish the time with his son, and gave him a deep feeling of guilt. While others remain skeptical about Todd's rehabilitation, it was Alan that has stepped up to the plate for him and offered him with as the JSA's security force. However, is this enough to make up for all the previous problems? The abandonment, the lack of communication? The death of his daughter? The awkwardness when it comes to his son's homosexuality?

Out of the two others on the "bad" list, I think Alan has a good chance of getting off it; however, with his new neck injury affecting his ability to show compassion, it may be some time before we see the happy family that the Scotts deserve.

---

Matt Demers is a Toronto columnist and a staff writer for Comic Vine. He looks forward to beers and barbeque with his dad this Sunday. You can find him on Twitter, or Tumblr; send him a message or leave a comment!

123 Comments
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Edited by Deadcool

Norman Osborn is the worst father in comics history. 
... 
 
Alfred is the BEST "father" in comics...
Posted by Txman210
@Deadcool: I agree with you on Alfred
Posted by maxicere

Magneto is the worst father.

Posted by Chaos Burn
@Deadcool said:
Norman Osborn is the worst father in comics history. ...
This
 
and Mr. Incredibles from The Incredibles would be the best - he just reminds me of my dad! 
Posted by ntb1124
@Chaos Burn said:
@Deadcool said:
Norman Osborn is the worst father in comics history. ...
This  and Mr. Incredibles from The Incredibles would be the best - he just reminds me of my dad! 
Mr Incredible is outstanding, and Norman definitely the worst...Alfred gets some credit too based on longevity.
Posted by Herx

 Darkseid anyone? I mean he did kinda kill Orion. Just saying.
 
 Oh, and lets not forget Silver age Superman

 I WANTED A ROLEX!!!!
Posted by TheThe

Cyclops needs to be in the bad list too.

Posted by jubilee042
@TheThe: i second that and wolverine  is not so great
Posted by SC
Parent Teacher Interview - Good Dad of War 
 Picks up Son from School, and is friendly and natural about it
Does dishes, and regulates TV viewing. Dad of the Year fo shizzle 
 Play fights and teaches self defense. 
Ares... working 9 - 5, like a good Dad
 
Y'all made a really good thread with good dads, and imma let you finish, but Ares was the BEST DAD EVER!!!!!!!!!! 
Moderator
Posted by BoOMbOoMpOw

My bad list :  
 

Magneto
 
Because of Wanda , Pietro and Polaris as you said .

   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
David Cain vs Batgirl
Because of Cass of course !
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Do I have to say anything ? 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 My good list :
 
 
Roy Harper
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jim Gordon ! In my opinion he has always been a great father to Babs .
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Modern Batwomans father , Jake Kane .
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And of course the best father of them all Alfred !
Posted by Vance Astro
@Deadcool said:
Norman Osborn is the worst father in comics history. ...  Alfred is the BEST "father" in comics...
I think Corsair and Magneto are far worse.At least Norman and Harry had good times before the Goblin nonsense.Magneto's failures as a father endangered the entire population of a race.
Moderator
Posted by .Mistress Redhead.

@mattdemers: Fantastic thread! this was a great read!

Posted by The Devil Tiger

Norman Osborn win the title for the worse father, no doubt.  
But Corsair is not long behind him. 
 
Omni man is a strange case, since he when from a culture that didn't even truly aknowlege the family tie as our own. He make a gigantic leap of faith. 
 
Alfred was a good "father" too and the Commissar Gordon too.
Posted by Grim
@SC: POINTS TO ARES!!!!!  BEST DAD EVER!!!!!
 
Worst has got to be David Cain. At least Deathstroke (who put his kids through similar treatment) actually loved his kids. DS just wanted them to be as bad ass as him. Cain? He wanted his kids to be a grade A assassin... or dead.
Posted by ninjadude853

Can someone tell me where that picture of Alan Scott came from? Because that looks AWESOME.

Posted by xerox_kitty

I'd argue the case for Corsair. He was captured by aliens and thrown into slave pens. It took many years to fight for freedom & escape... of course by the time he did, he's lost his two sons & seen his wife die. He was thrown into circumstances beyond his control, and by the time he'd become Corsair of the Starjammers his kids were grown up & he wouldn't have recognised them.

Whereas his eldest son Cyclops is a terrible father. He walked out on his wife & baby son at the very mention of Jean Grey. He's sent his son on a suicide mission to the future, and has left his daughter lost in space to the ravages of fate.

Moderator
Edited by Grimoire

For worst father I would have added General Lane and Thunderbolt Ross. Both have tried very hard to kill their daughters husbands. lol

Edited by cyberninja

WOOOOOOOOOOOOT?!!! No one said  Jonathan Kent as best dad?!!!!   

Posted by Emperormeister734

BATMAN: ON THE NEW ROAD  TO FATHERHOOD 
 
TONY STARK: SOON TO HAVE IRON KIDS 
 
DARTH VADER: COULD'VE BEEN A GREAT FATHER IF HE DIDN'T GO TO THE DARK SIDE 

Posted by marvelunivers_deleteme

what woulld you think wolverine be

Posted by XBen

My favorite comic dad is Wally West.  I loved the way we saw his concern for his kids in his post-Lightning Saga run.  And of course, I gotta second Jonathan Kent.

Posted by Stormmagician

Agree with Norman Osborn, one of the best fathers and family man in in my opinion would be Luke Cage, Beak/Blackwing is also my top choice.

Posted by Gambit1024

What about Johnathan Kent, Uncle Ben, and Bruce Wayne?   

Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson = Father and Son 
Uncle Ben 
 Pa Kent
Posted by Rainja

Venom and Carnage or horrible fathers too,they always try to kill their sons. :P

Posted by Deranged Midget

@SC: You win.

Moderator
Posted by Gambit1024
@SC: Reading those scans made me really happy :) 
 
You go, Ares!
Posted by umbrafeline

why isnt jason 'mastermind' wyngarde on the bad list i mean he is pixies father?
Posted by Phantim555

What about Bruce Wayne? Dick, Tim, and Cassandra all turned out great. Jason's crazy but he's never given up on him and Damian's still on the fence.
Posted by GothamRed

Uncle Ben could be seen as a good father, or at least father-figure

Posted by Lokheit
@SC said:
Parent Teacher Interview - Good Dad of War 
 Picks up Son from School, and is friendly and natural about it
Does dishes, and regulates TV viewing. Dad of the Year fo shizzle 
 Play fights and teaches self defense. 
Ares... working 9 - 5, like a good Dad
 Y'all made a really good thread with good dads, and imma let you finish, but Ares was the BEST DAD EVER!!!!!!!!!! 
Woah, great, I really really like Ares, and now like him more! 
 
From where is this from?
Posted by SC
@Lokheit:  That would be the five part Ares mini series, released a few years back. Great story, I recommend it. The tone of the story changes a little bit after the scenes I posted, but the writer of the mini, had a very great... and adult sense and feel for the character's he was writing. Really gave the characters a nice sense of depth.  
 
Here is the link to the issues in the ComicVine Data base. The book has a strong theme of father ship though out. Ares << Link.  
 
That link should have more info for you.  
 
@Gambit1024:  Yeah me too, Ares was really written well in those issues. I liked that the writer actually gave us some nice warm moments, instead of trying to make Ares all badass (well... later on, he did get all badass, but still... washing the dishes? Won't see Wolverine doing that... probably.. lol)  
 
So yeah I like those scans too. Especially the way Ares talks about fatherhood. 
Moderator
Posted by G-Man

I came across this last night. I don't remember it actually happening.

Staff
Posted by xerox_kitty

@G-Man: Alternate Reality?

Moderator
Posted by xerox_kitty

@SC said:

Parent Teacher Interview - Good Dad of War
Picks up Son from School, and is friendly and natural about it
Does dishes, and regulates TV viewing. Dad of the Year fo shizzle
Play fights and teaches self defense.
Ares... working 9 - 5, like a good Dad
Y'all made a really good thread with good dads, and imma let you finish, but Ares was the BEST DAD EVER!!!!!!!!!!

*burbles* God of War or not... I'd married that!

Moderator
Posted by SC
@xerox-kitty said:

*burbles* God of War or not... I'd married that!

 
He did all that as a solo parent too you know? I think you might like that mini as well Xerox Kitty. Well... now that I think about it, only the first issue. After that he shaves his beard and hair off. By they way, you do realize you are making Beardy Thor jealous? Beardy Ares appreciation and all that? *grin*
Moderator
Posted by xerox_kitty

@SC said:

After that he shaves his beard and hair off.

*Loses interest...* I'm sticking with the long-haired heroic Beardy Gods from now on ;)

(What was that from, BTW?)

Moderator
Posted by sithfrog
@cyberninja said:
WOOOOOOOOOOOOT?!!! No one said  Jonathan Kent as best dad?!!!!   

Good call, I was thinking of Jonathan too. 
 
Another good "father" like Alfred would be Ben Parker.  His death brought about the most recognized (and possibly over-used) catch phrase: "With great power comes great responsibility."   It seem like there are almost more adoptive fathers or father figures that are strong influences then actually fathers.  Giles filled that role for Buffy much like Uncle Ben or Alfred did for Peter and Bruce respectively.  Before we learned of all the dirty dealings Xavier was up to, he was like a father figure to many X-Men.  And Bruce Wayne certainly became a father figure to several characters. 
 
As for bad, other have given great examples: Cyclops, Cain, Deathstroke, Darkseid and I also lobby for Norman Osborn.  What about Ra's al Ghul?  And if we tap into some other media, Lionel Luther on Smallville was a pretty vile father.
Posted by Lorialet

Captain Dynamo, the father of the Dynamo 5 team. That creep was an incredibly lousy father, who only ever took care of one of his numerous illegitimate children.
Doc Noble, from Noble Causes, hasn't been the best father either, to the point that even his robotic creation felt that it was more his child than his real sons.
Belloc, Firebreahter's father is another awful dad.who sends monsters test his the mettle of his son.
Draconis, a Noble Cause villain has the bad habit of killing his children.
The Killer. His notion of education is frankly disturbing.
Sinestro hasn't hesitated to torture his daughter Soranik Natu.

Posted by AirDave817
@Deadcool said:
Norman Osborn is the worst father in comics history. ...  Alfred is the BEST "father" in comics...

Yeah. What Deadcool said. Alfred Pennyworth for Father of the Year!
Posted by Bestostero

great article!!! good for tomorrow lol

Posted by katanalauncher
@Phantim555 said:
What about Bruce Wayne? Dick, Tim, and Cassandra all turned out great. Jason's crazy but he's never given up on him and Damian's still on the fence.
Yes, because training minors to punch armed men in their tight underpants is a sign of good parenting. 
Posted by CellphoneGirl
@xerox-kitty said:

I'd argue the case for Corsair. He was captured by aliens and thrown into slave pens. It took many years to fight for freedom & escape... of course by the time he did, he's lost his two sons & seen his wife die. He was thrown into circumstances beyond his control, and by the time he'd become Corsair of the Starjammers his kids were grown up & he wouldn't have recognised them.

Whereas his eldest son Cyclops is a terrible father. He walked out on his wife & baby son at the very mention of Jean Grey. He's sent his son on a suicide mission to the future, and has left his daughter lost in space to the ravages of fate.

I agree with you. I'm very shocked that  Cyclops wasn't on that list.
Posted by sora_thekey

@xerox-kitty said:

Whereas his eldest son Cyclops is a terrible father. He walked out on his wife & baby son at the very mention of Jean Grey. He's sent his son on a suicide mission to the future, and has left his daughter lost in space to the ravages of fate.

After reading Prelude to Schism #3 all my hope in Cyclops' character had been build up like when I was younger and thought I wanted to be like him from watching X-Men TAS. Then you write this and all of that build up is gone!

Moderator
Posted by Pokeysteve

This list means nothing without Pa Kent. When you find a super powered alien boy and teach him to care for others instead of control them........you're a great dad. 

Posted by Deadcool

@Vance Astro said:

@Deadcool said:
Norman Osborn is the worst father in comics history. ...  Alfred is the BEST "father" in comics...
I think Corsair and Magneto are far worse.At least Norman and Harry had good times before the Goblin nonsense.Magneto's failures as a father endangered the entire population of a race.

 
No, they have ever had problems between them, Harry was unable to satisfy the whishes of his father, as kid that wasn't that common, but the goblin formula an his fights against Spider-man increased the father issues, and Magneto, well yeah, maybe he failed as father for Wanda and Quicksilver, but, he wanted them to be Mutant Terrorist, so well?, at least they are superheroes, so he actually became a good father being a bad father (my head hurts)...

Edited by fodigg
@xerox-kitty said:

I'd argue the case for Corsair. He was captured by aliens and thrown into slave pens. It took many years to fight for freedom & escape... of course by the time he did, he's lost his two sons & seen his wife die. He was thrown into circumstances beyond his control, and by the time he'd become Corsair of the Starjammers his kids were grown up & he wouldn't have recognised them.

Whereas his eldest son Cyclops is a terrible father. He walked out on his wife & baby son at the very mention of Jean Grey. He's sent his son on a suicide mission to the future, and has left his daughter lost in space to the ravages of fate.

Agreed. Corsair was an absentee father, which I don't want to defend, but he didn't walk out on his sons and he didn't actively screw up their life. Cyclops...is not so great with the "husband" and "father" thing. Although, is Rachel really his daughter? Or some other version of him?
Posted by Transmetal

Kratos deserves to be on the bad list
Posted by Mutant God

I thought Franklin Richards was average intelligence
Posted by ZORN

I'm surprised Frank Castle isn't there for both.

Posted by MichonneHack27

I kinda think Magneto and Norman Osborn are under the top of the worst fathers.
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