Friday, January 19, 2018 • Morning Edition • "We put the lotion in the basket."

Your Top Teens

Written by Chris Mitchell on Monday, September 28 2009 and posted in Features
Welcome one and all to your favorite event on the internet, that’s right the Top Lists have returned. And I want to apologize for taking so long, life has been kicking me in the balls repeatedly but enough of that, lets get to the fun stuff (unless you are into me getting kicked in the nuts, and if you are remind me to ignore your lists next time around).  Anywho, what’s the theme for this Top List?  Well, Comic book Teens, or youths, or underagers, but you get the point. So you will see characters from all over the comic book spectrum. We have Titans, we have Mutants, we have members of the Legion, and everything in between. We have characters that are currently teens in comics and characters that were once teens but have grown up before our geek eyes.  {nomultithumb}

The way the voting was conducted, each voter picked their ten favorite youth characters, ranked from 1-10 (1 being most favorite, 10 being least favorite). For first place, the character was given 10 points, for second - 9 points, for third - 8 points, and so on and so forth. Then, all the points were added up, and ranked in order of points received.

Also in any case of a tie, they will be broken by who got more first place votes. If that number was tied, it went to second place votes, etc etc etc. We do have several ties on the list, all of which appear between 2 points and 10, with a few appearing in early teens. From that point it’s all smooth sailing. 

Let’s do this, Rockapellas!!

190. Winry Rockbell, The Kid Commandos, Jeffrey Dietz, and Titus Alexander Island (2 points each)


So here we go, right off the bat I have no clue that three of the four characters are in this first position on the list. So, I had to Google her and all that jazz and I found out she is from an anime/manga. I always wanted to read this but just couldn't get into Manga. Oh well.

Winry's parents, both doctors, were killed by the Amestris Army during the Ishbal War because their clinic assisted the wounded of both sides. She was raised by her grandmother, an automail expert in the small town of Rizenbool. She grew up with Ed and Al as her closest companions and wants to be able to support their intense endeavor.

Winry is portrayed in the series as kind, optimistic, and sincere, acting like a concerned family member to the Elric brothers whenever in their company. Having known Edward and Alphonse since childhood, she maintains a close friendship with the two. In the story, she was orphaned at a young age when her parents, serving as doctors in the Ishbal war, and were killed, so she lived with her grandmother in the town of Resembool from then on. Known as an "Automail Otaku", she is fascinated by any and all types of machines, tools, excelling in building and repairing automail, and she takes pride in her work as a mechanic. Along with her grandmother, Pinako, who is a famous automail engineer, the two run a small automail shop out of their home. They are also the ones who made and installed Edward's automail arm and leg after he lost his original limbs in a failed human transmutation of his mother.

Winry takes it upon herself to make sure that his automail is in top form and will go out of her way to travel for servicing when it's needed. Despite being rather tomboyish she is perfectly willing to use her feminine charms to get what she wants. Across both manga and anime series, Winry falls in love with Edward. On the other hand, Edward shares the same feeling but tries to ignore it whenever he thinks about it.

Kid Commandos

kidcommandoes.jpgBefore you all bitch and moan, Bucky appears higher up on the list. A lot higher, but his teammates deserved to be honored too. So there.

The Kid Commandos were a team of teenage costumed adventurers who aided the Allies during World War II.

During World War II, teenaged Gwenny Lou Sabuki, the daughter of Japanese-American scientist Dr. Sam Sabuki, was present at a stateside battle in which sidekicks Bucky (Bucky Barnes) and Toro (Thomas Raymond) of the superhero team the Invaders fought the super villain Agent Axis. There one of Dr. Sabuki's inventions accidentally gave Gwenny Lou and her friend David "Davey" Mitchell superhuman powers. Gwenny Lou became Golden Girl, and Davey became the Human Top. The four youthful heroes defeated Agent Axis, and later formed the Kid Commandos, who were allied with the adult Invaders. The Kid Commandos fought Nazi espionage at home in America.

After the war, Golden Girl and Human Top were part of the V-Battalion.

Titus Alexander Islandtitusalexander.jpg

Again, I have no clue that this is so I found a neat review on the book.


OMEGA THE UNKNOWN is one weird mother. So think twice about snatching this one up if you're not down with odd shenanigans involving alienated 14-year-olds, inimical nanobots deployed in fast food joints, an introspective stone statue, and a space alien wielding salt shakers for the benefit of mankind.

The bizarre plot: With the passing of his parents (who, by the way, turn out to be robots), 14-year-old prodigy Titus Alexander Island is declared a ward of the state, with guardianship of him falling to a nice young nurse who dwells in scuzzy Washington Heights, New York. As Alexander strives to fit in at his new school, the Sammy Sosa High School (no, really!), inexplicable things are going on around him. A mute, blue-clad being from outer space watches over Alexander and shares a tenuous psychic link with him. There are robots around, up to no good, and also malignant nanorobots. In the first issue, we meet the Mink, the sleazy self-designated costumed guardian of Washington Heights. He's not very likable and not much of a superhero. He's like the Stephen Baldwin of the cape & the cowl set.

On the surface, OMEGA THE UNKNOWN is a superhero comic. But, no, not really. It tends to deconstruct the superhero mythos. It's also just a bizarro story. The focus is on the kid, Alexander. So, Alex is a 14-year-old who is socially obtuse and boasts a comprehensive vocabulary. And there's his psychic link thing. And, lest you think he's still a normal geeky teen, okay, he also happens to shoot laser rays out of his palms, palms which are then branded with the Greek letter Omega. So, no, not normal.

I'll backstroke some. Back in the mid-70s, writers Steve Gerber and Mary Skrenes created the OMEGA THE UNKNOWN comic book for Marvel (see Omega: The Unknown Classic TPB). This title was immediately weird and iconoclastic, and it didn't sit well with most comic book readers. It was axed after only ten issues, but not before garnering cult comic status. It definitely shook up the world of one young Jonathan Lethem.

This trade, then, is Jonathan Lethem's very recent revival and re-imagining of OMEGA THE UNKNOWN, also all done in ten issues (ah, symmetry). It's his comic book debut, because Lethem in his everyday guise is a bestselling novelist, and a quirky one (The Fortress of Solitude and Motherless Brooklyn). He's never quite forgotten Steve Gerber and Mary Skrenes and their brand of 1970s oddity, so it makes sense that he gravitates towards this particular title. In a Newsarama interview, he's admitted to admiring the original OMEGA THE UNKNOWN #1 so much that he ended up borrowing prodigiously from it for his own first issue. Of course, Lethem's ensuing issues would begin to veer away from the original story. This trade also contains ten pages of Lethem and co-writer Karl Rusnak's reflections on the original OMEGA, as well as reprinting several panels of artwork from that comic.

Although set in the mainstream Marvel Universe, there isn't much in the way of cameos, guest-stars from or even many references to characters and things already established in that continuity. I think there's one mention of the Daily Bugle and one of the Avengers... What this does then is isolate Alexander and his strange cast and make their story into a more unique and unsettling experience. Without all the other Marvel Comics freaks around, you feel the strange impact even more. Farel Dalrymple's awkward, unconventional illustrations keep you further off-balanced.

Even I note that the robots' infiltration of society is a metaphor to technology's rapid encroachment into all aspects of our lives. But Lethem and Rusnak don't make it easy, not really. The narrative, often outrageous, sometimes ambiguous, will startle and flummox, will make you question the context of the authors' created reality. OMEGA THE UNKNOWN delves into themes of alienation and friendship, of franchising and technology run amuck and of the value of reading S. E. Hinton's Rumble Fish, and who knows what else. There's humor, but it's from around the bend and subversive. I like that the nanotech poisoning initiated at a fast food chain is combated thru the ministrations of a food truck. And I really like the epithet on the deceased giant hand's tombstone. This hand, by the way, sprouted its own legs (again, so weird).

Wonderfully offbeat, but, in the end, I'm left reeling inside just a bit, and still with questions. Yeah, some of the enigmas are explained, yet not every truth is spelled out. This series is simply stingy with the clarity. For eff's sake, when all's said and done, I don't know that much more about the eponymous guy in blue. He is one truculent dude.

I guess it's apropos that the final issue is virtually without dialogue. Betcha it's another metaphor.

Jeffrey Dietz

jeffdietz.gifThe two to ten point positions always piss me off. You know why?  Well, I think people out there just like to see me go crazy by nominating an uber obscure character. The person who nominated this one likes to drive me crazy. Thank you. Anywho, Jeffrey here is a main character in Sean McKeever’s "Waiting Place" comic. 

The Waiting Place started life as a self-published comic. McKeever realized that his best chance of breaking into the comics industry was to have a complete comic to show publishers, rather than his writing on its own. He found Brendon and Brian Fraim, and together they produced three issues of The Waiting Place. At a convention they submitted a copy of the self-published comic to Slave Labor Graphics, who liked it and took it on, republishing those early issues themselves too.

Marvel editor, Tom Brevoort, was a fan of The Waiting Place and gave McKeever his first Marvel assignments on the strength of it.

In 2005, Venture Management optioned The Waiting Place, believing it to have the potential to become a TV series.


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