In light of my current attempt to kick my smoking habit, I decided to make today’s top 5 post around the theme of smoking, so I’m looking at my top 5 smokers in comics. Specifically looking at the characters that smoke, as opposed to creators which would take me far too long to look into and, frankly, what creators do with their own lives outside of the comics is entirely up to them. Anyone that knows me or my reading habits will most likely be able to guess who my number one will be, but let’s get things kicked off anyway, shall we?
When you have a character that gleefully surrounds himself with chaos, violence and all out carnage, there are always going to be a multitude of more “mature” themes and scenarios throughout the book. Lobo was primarily created to appeal to DC’s older readers, those who were looking for something outside of the more mainstream works, something not constricted by the comics code of authority yet something that still fell within the shared universe that they’d come to know and love after many potential years of reading. Enter the Main Man, a bounty hunter with a penchant for taking the reward for “dead” rather than “alive” most of the time, and a character who enjoyed a good cigar. It makes sense when you look at his original intended purpose as an over the top parody of Marvel’s Wolverine, who himself smoked a fair number of cigars until the great Marvel smoking ban courtesy of Joe Quesada. DC, however, have remained open to the idea that there are still people out there of all ages that both read comics and smoke. Don’t expect Superman to light up any time soon, not that I’d want him to, but it means that all the characters they have that have traditionally smoked still do.
- Jonah Hex
Bounty hunter number two for the list, Jonah Hex hails from a time where pretty much everyone smoked and no one knew better. Even if they could have, it was the sort of time where no one would have really given a shit anyway, but in fairness to Hex he has managed to find himself in some extremely stressful situations. Living by a code of always protecting or avenging the innocent, he constantly finds himself up against some ridiculous odds, fighting a fight he doesn’t necessarily have any real stake in. At the end of a tough day, or in the middle of a tough day, you got to have something to take the edge off and help you keep a relatively cool head and let’s face it, if you’re in the middle of a huge, good old western gun fight, getting hammered is probably unwise. So, he lights a cigarette, gathers his composure, and gets to killing. I know I couldn’t quit if I had to do the stuff Hex does, no way.
- Jim Gordon
So far all we’ve seen from the list of smokers are what we’d consider anti heroes, those who by and large fight a good fight, or at least don’t deliberately try and screw the world over for some reason or another, but we’ve seen nobody that traditionally falls on the good side of the fence. Enter the commissioner of the GCPD, James Gordon, notable smoker of cigarettes and pipes. And who can blame him, being a cop in Gotham must be one of the highest risk and stress jobs in the world, trying to be a straight, by the book cop in Gotham would require saint-like patience and nerves of steel. Taking those work ethics and trying to apply them to the entire police department you are running whilst working with a group of masked vigilantes keeping the citizens of Gotham safe and it’s incredibly high number of completely maniacal villains locked up would be the very epitome of “over worked and under paid”. So I think a bad habit like smoking can be forgiven for a man that’s had to put up with everything he has, especially when you consider that his daughter was left in a wheelchair by the Joker and his son is one of those aforementioned maniacal villains…
- Rose Wilson
A.k.a. Ravager, the daughter of Deathstroke the Terminator. She never really had much of a chance of growing up to become a well rounded person, did she? Not that smoking is a sign of a bad person or anything, but if anyone is going to pick up bad habits, it’s Rose. She had a messed up childhood, has been manipulated by her father multiple times, betrayed by people she thought of as friends and has never truly been able to fit in anywhere. Sadly, I couldn’t find an image of her smoking on the internet and frankly couldn’t be bothered to get the Teen Titans TPB out that shows her smoking, so you’ll have to do with her dual wielding lightsabers like a boss instead.
- John Constantine
Who else could it be at number one? I know there will be many people out there expecting Wolverine in here somewhere, but as someone that has only recently started to expand my reading into Marvel and someone that really can’t stand Wolverine, you were always going to come out of this disappointed. John Constantine is a name synonymous with smoking, and not just the image of smoking but his Hellblazer series dealt with the health issues that come with smoking, especially over as long a period as John. Thankfully, it was a part of his character not lost with the New 52 reboot, no matter what comic he shows up in, regardless of who the intended audience for the book is, wherever you see John he has a cigarette in hand or mouth. It’s a bit of a shame that we won’t get to see him smoking in his new TV show, although it seems they’re saying he is indeed a smoker, but network broadcasting standard in America don’t allow for onscreen smoking. At least, that’s the gist I’m getting anyway, I’m fairly hazy on US broadcasting so don’t take my word on it. Still, he’s one of my absolute favourite characters in comics, and there’s no denying his smoker status. If only we all had the opportunity to carry on and use magic to (try to) cheat death!
Well that about wraps things up here for tonight, thanks for stopping by and checking out another top 5, next week’s may be a day or so late as I’m away for the weekend at N.I.C.E in Bedford and while I return home on the Sunday, there’s a very good chance I’ll have a lot of comics to bag, board, catalogue and then put away. That’s not taking into account any that I absolutely desperately have to read as soon as I get home. So the top 5 will probably be Monday followed by a brief write up of the convention on the Tuesday. Anyway, I’m pretty hungry so I think I’m going to go grab some dinner, take it easy guys and girls!