Most Requested Figures: DC Fan Poll Results

Twice now, Mattel and ToyFare have teamed up for DCUC fan polls. I’ve made no secret that I’m not a fan of, uh… fan polls. I don’t have an inherent problem with them. It’s just that the characters are rarely selected with care. Often enough, the winner can be guessed before polling even begins. I don’t have any ill will towards the two characters that won their spots in DCUC; I wanted them too. But I also wanted to see Mattel do a fan poll where a savvy reader wouldn’t instantly know the outcome. I wanted some suspense!

So, we tried to make some. For March, IAT quietly featured a poll between eight lesser known DC Characters. We cheated a little bit. We didn’t ask which one of the eight you most wanted to see in DC Classics. Nor did we tell you that the winner would be featured as the DCUC Request in Round Two. We simply asked which of the eight you could provide a sentence of back story on. We figured that would allow everyone to vote on the eight characters as independently as possible. Sorry if you feel a little hoodwinked.

We tried to choose carefully, to avoid picking any one character that would easily mop up on the others. Some we picked because we wanted them, some because we thought it’d be funny, and some just to see if anyone but us knew who they were. We had a good time watching the results and we were legitimately surprised by the winner. That was nice.

The poll featured the DC Characters Dr. Occult, Sargon, Tommy Tomorrow, Sarge Steel, Lady Cop, Starfire, Blackwing, and Gangbuster. We tried to choose roughly equivalent characters: appearances vs. notoriety, popularity vs. age, etc. We expected the results to be close. They weren’t – our poll still produced some significant gaps. One character even took a quarter of the vote. We still achieved suspense, I suppose, because we wouldn’t have guessed that. Here are the results with that sentence or two of back story about each character provided by us.

In eighth place, with 3%, is the most obscure representative on our poll: Blackwing. Charlie Bullock grew up in Earth-2 Gotham City, was trained by Wildcat, and worked at the same law firm as E-2 Huntress and E-2 Robin. Becoming fed up with growing gang activity, he donned a Batman-inspired costume and failed miserably. He was saved by the Huntress after being caught and unmasked by the villains he was chasing.

In seventh place at 5%, is Lady Cop from First Issue Special #4. Liza Warner watched her roommates get murdered by an unknown assailant and joined the police academy to seek justice. She goes on to become a capable police officer disarming several criminals, saving lives, and offering STD counseling in the issue. Recently, Lady Cop appeared in the All-New Atom as the Chief of Police for Ivy Town and assisting the now deceased Ryan Choi Atom.*

*- Bad form, DC. Bad form.

For fifth place, we had two characters tie at 11%. Tommy Tomorrow and Starfire (no not that one).

Tommy Tomorrow was a futuristic space police officer published throughout the 1950s. Tommy’s had three distinct eras in his life. His early appearances featured him as a renaissance man living in the far flung future of the 1990s and taking on various assignments for the Science Bureau. Later, he was pushed back into the 2050s and treated more as the police officer he’s remembered as. Finally, in Crisis, he was rebooted to be Kamandi in a universe where the Great Disaster never occurred.

The Starfire in our poll was the 70s swordswoman. Starfire’s race had been divided by civil war and was easily conquered by invading aliens that turned them into slaves. Starfire stood up to her oppressors and led a slave revolt and underground movement to free her planet. Her final fate has never been revealed as her series was cancelled and she’s rarely revisited.

In fourth place, with 13% of the vote is Sarge Steel. Originally a Charlton character, Sarge was brought into the DC Universe with Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, etc. Unlike those heroes, however, Sarge has always been an odd fit. His mechanical left hand has been a constant part of his character, but beyond that he’s been portrayed as a private eye, a secret agent, a bureaucrat, and a cabinet official. He also has the habit of getting mind controlled a lot. Poor guy.

In third place, with 14% of the vote, comes Sargon the Sorcerer. Sargon is a golden age character that was part stage magician and part crime fighter. He carried a jewel called the Ruby of Life that would let him manipulate objects he was in contact with. He was used sparingly in subsequent years and appeared as a villain, an honorary member of the JLA, and ultimately sorta permanently died in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

In second place, is another Golden Age mystic, Dr. Occult. Doc pulled 17% of the vote. Occult was a golden age gumshoe with a mystical twist. He appeared consistently for a few years in the thirties, but was packed away until the All-Star Squadron brought him back in the 80s. In his updated version, Occult carried a powerful mystical weapon, the Symbol of Seven, and shared his body with his once girlfriend/partner, Rose. He’s been used a few times off and on since his return, primarily in the stories that deal with magic like Black Baptism or Reign in Hell.

Finally, the leader of our little poll with 26% of the vote and given the honor of being the DC Classics Most Requested character for Round Two: Gangbuster.

Why did Gangbuster do so well? We honestly can’t tell you. If I had to hazard a guess, I would cite two things. One, he was recently featured in the weekly DC book Trinity back in 2008. We didn’t catch that at the time. But, I think it might be his importance around the time of Superman’s death and his appearance in the The Legacy of Superman comic. Then again, no one remembers Sinbad, so it might not be that either.

Gangbuster was created in 1987 by Marv Wolfman and Jerry Ordway. Much like Blackwing, Jose Delgado grew up in Suicide Slum (the Gothamiest part of Metropolis), was trained as a boxer, became fed up with gang violence, and donned a costume to do something about it. He fought crime in the pages of Adventures of Superman and Action Comics through the last few years of the 80s and in the early 90s including the time while Superman was presumed dead. One of the more interesting appearances that I remember was, as Jose Delgado, he investigated someone else using his Gangbuster identity that would turn out to be an amnesiac Superman. Gangbuster has only appeared a handful of times since those wild and crazy 90s.

So what do you think? Gangbuster? We were surprised, so here’s our question. We polled you under the pretense of gauging your knowledge about the characters and let you choose as many as you were able to remember a sentence of backstory about. We tried to remove everything except for awareness of the character. But now that you know we were asking you to choose a Most Requested Nominee, would you choose differently? Would Gangbuster still beat out the other seven? Or would the results be different if we asked you to play favorites instead of polling your knowledge? Here’s your chance to tell us.

Next week, we’ll resume our normal operations and feature another reader submission. If you’ve got a suggestion you’d like to see in this column and be nominated for a spot in our polls, we now take submissions in our Green Room.

42 thoughts on “Most Requested Figures: DC Fan Poll Results

  1. I had a suspicion that the poll was part of the requested setup. Wasn’t sure how though.

    What I found odd about your selections was that you somewhat spaced out the selections by decade, but bunched two or three lesser knowns from the late seventies in the middle. Why no 90s characters? I would’ve chosen Starfire OR Lady Cop and added someone from that decade.

    I don’t see anyone on the list I would really, really want, but I voted for Doctor Occult to keep in the spirit of things. And I do think it would be hilarious if one of Mattel’s polls featured characters like this.

    1. I felt a 90s character might spoil it. His “recentness” might give him too much charage, even in our “Cant get enough 1978” climate. Looking back, perhaps even Gangbuster was too recent a choice?

  2. gb is, to my knowledge, the only one on this list to make the dc trading cards too. those were big in the 90’s as well.

    1. I had his card and still couldn’t remember anything about him. For some reason, I thought it was an alternate identity of Superman’s, at least in part.

  3. I have really fond memories of Gangbuster back from when I was a kid reading the Superman comics. I’d be happy to have him as a DC Classic. Him, Doc Occult, and Sragon were the only three I knew.

    1. Three-eights ain’t bad.

      I know I’ve got too much comic-knowledge rattling around upstairs because I didn’t have to look anybody up for the descriptions.

      I still contend that I would *love* Mattel to put a character in the line that I did have to look up though.

  4. Main Entry: gothamiest
    Pronunciation: \ˈgä-thəm·i·est\
    Function: adjective
    1: likely to befouled and/or defiled with overcrowding, run-down housing, poverty, social disorganization, and pyschopathic criminals

    1. I’m with you. Wouldn’t buy any of these. Ideally, we’d get Lady Cop in wave 853. Before that, there are too few spots for female figures, so I couldn’t possibly support her. I’d mind Dr. Occult the least.

      1. The tree of obscurity must be refreshed from time to time!

        I do agree on the female characters. DCUC is still lacking and if we tracking them separately she’s pretty far down on the list.

        But, do keep in mind, we did this partially as a lark in response to Mattel who could have ordered the 4H to sculpt Raven before voting began.

  5. How can Poison Ivy not be on this list?
    How can DC fans not be screaming for a 4H Poison Ivy?!
    This is an atrocity!

    1. Oh we are! She’s a hot topic, but I don’t think she’d fit in with this motley crew. This seemed to be a stab more at fan polls more than getting us Swamp Thing or Mirror Master.

      Poison Ivy would be a great nominee in the future though.

  6. I went with Sarge Steel because I like how he has done everything and is known for his mechanical hand!

  7. the others were interesting choices but I grew up on Superman comics in the 90’s and Gangbuster was right there when I started! Nostalgia trumps.

  8. “would you choose differently?”

    Of course!
    But you gotta understand that if I know of a character is of much lesser importance to me than if I think it would make a good toy.

    So I’m voting Gangbuster not because I know of him, I don’t, but because he’s the most interesting to me visually.

    1. You raise an excellent point, and that’s what we’re looking to see. But I’m thinking that Gangbuster was new enough to skew it.

      Very hard to do these polls… LOL

  9. I vote Dr. Occult, in hopes that I’ll get a Trenchcoat Brigade going.

    (Maybe the next Wal-Mart 5pk: Dr. Occult, Mr. E, Phantom Stranger, John Constantine, and a M’nagalah. A man can dream, right?)

  10. As a non-DC reader, I definitely have no clue who any of those are, so I’m not sure who to vote for on the poll.

    Gangbuster kinda looks like he’d make a cool addition to the C.O.P.S. roster, though! 😉

    Hmm, I wonder what Mattel thinks: Would Gangbuster sell like . . . gangbusters . . . ??!!

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAH*coughcoughcoughcough* OK, not that funny.

      1. I had a few as a kid, and later eBayed pretty much the entire set MOC.

        This was before they got VERY expensive, I guess I was among the first group of people buying ’em off eBay.

        I had ’em for a while, opened all of them and had a blast, then gave them back to eBay. 🙂

  11. While I really dig Lady Cop (I remember seeing this comic on the stands as a wee gaffer) and Starfire and Doc Occult have a place in my heart (and I’m not voting for Gangbuster because he already won), I voted for Sargon, since he has the most connection of the rest to what’s on my shelf. He spent several issues of mid-70’s Justice League of America as both a hero and a villain.

  12. While Lady Cop is a fave for her sheer obscurity (and I didn’t know about her recent appearance, that’s fun) and I like Doc Occult and the sword & sorcery Starfire, I gave my vote to Sargon, as he ties in most with what’s currently on my DCUC shelves, what with his hero/villain turn in mid-70’s JLA.

  13. OOPS! Double post! I thought the first didn’t go through because of some connection problems on my end.

    Well, now you get insight into a first writing approach from me and a second attempt. No charge!

    1. LOL. It’s a weird comments form some times. A couple people always get stuck in the spam filter for no reason.

      That’s a great point about Sargon. He should have a bigger following from fans of that era.

      Speaking of eras, I got an e-mail that my “subtle” pro-Kyle header runs off all comics fans but 90s fans and that’s why Gangbuster won. I LOLed.

    1. Ambush Bug isn’t obscure enough for my polls. I’m surprised he hasn’t been in a Mattel poll (along with Wally West… der).

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