Obedience can be a dangerous thing. Blind obedience is… well… just plain stupid. The laws, and enforcers of the status quo don’t take too kindly to any mass action that could be interpreted as dissent. And with various protests happening around the world against police brutality, government corruption, thieving bankers and other despicable dregs of a failing society, it would seem peaceful, structured protests get less attention and are more and more less effective.
But let the power superstructure thank their lucky stars, stripes and crosses that none of these comic book heroes and villains are leading the anti-establishment charge, because only carnage and dead bodies will be leading the path all the way to 10 Downing Street. And I say 10 Downing Street because it seems a lot of the listed anarchists here are from good ol’ England. Bloody hell, remnants of that punk, Sex Pistol-era of reversed-V salutes, hooliganism and good ol’ anti-establishment chaos. Indubitably, some of the anarchists have ideals, reasons and goals behind the chaos, but to be honest, most of them just want to burn this motherf*cker to it’s charcoal skeletal-frame.
So without further adieu, start those zippos and get your molotovs ready, because #TAP10 goes f*cking nuts with this top 10 list of Comic Book Anarchists:
Batman may be a vigilante who operates on the outskirts of societal law, but his intelligent, idealistic nemesis Anarky would rather break the law over his knee like Bane did Batman’s spine. Too soon? Anyway, like his namesake, Anarky is all for carnivalesque revolt, taking a stand against socio-economic inequality, government corruption and authoritarianism, amongst other pitfalls of a kakistocracy. Making his first appearance on Detective Comics #608 (1989), Anarky is well-learned and highly intellectual. Anarky draws inspiration from philosophy and anarchist theories, and being the bastard son of the Joker and a Vegas showgirl, you can forgive his methods for being certifiably callous and brazen. Oh, did we forget to mention Anarky is 12 years old?
Tank Girl drives a tank. Lives in it too. She’s an outlaw, takes whole lotta drugs and has bizarre sexual inclinations. It might be because her boyfriend is a mutant Kangaroo. Heavily influenced by British pop / punk culture, the very construct of the Punk Girl comic was anarchic: collage, cut-up frenzied artwork were common occurrences in the British comic. Looked like a serial killer’s scrapbook.
Certainly an anarchist to her core, she’s on mad bitch who cares little about conformity or fitting in.
Jack Frost, a moniker for Dane McGowan, is a rebellious teen hailing from the home of anarchy, Liverpool, England, along with the likes of John Constantine. Jack makes his first appearance in The Invisibles (1994). Rebellion is strong with this one; coming from a broken home, he never was too fond of authority. In fact, he tried to burn down his own school. After a stint of being institutionalised by the villainous order known as the Outer Church, he gets sprung by the clandestine anarchist group The Invisibles. To be honest anyone on the Invisibles team could’ve easily made our #TAP10 anarchist list.
Eventually being a bad-ass and taking on the establishment went to his head as he seemed to have developed a bit of a messiah complex. No, he literally thinks he could be the next Buddha.
As far as journalists go, they certainly don’t make ’em like Spider Jerusalem in the Transmetropolitan comic. Tied to a contract to produce a book despite spending all his advance with nothing to show, Spider ends up abandoning his hermit life to find work in the city as a journalist. But a simple job won’t do, because as soon as he sets up shop, he gets into it with political government corruption of the highest order. Armed with liquor, a potty-mouth and Tetsuo mind-bending stimulants and other exotic drugs, he takes on the establishment of pedestrian journalism and politics. He also has the knack for intricately weaving the use of both the word and combination and neologisms of said-word:
‘fuck’. In fact, he wrote an article about Robert Nixon’s election, which was 8,000 words, all of them being ‘fuck’. An excerpt:
Fuck fuckfuck fuck fucking fuck.Fuck fuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuckfuckfuck…
Well you get the gist. Who even likes Nixon anyway?
Anarchik is an anarchist. Ok. He also walks around complete with a beard, and a boulder-bomb… in his hand. Not hidden or anything. He’s certainly not a fan of
pigs the constabulary force, the prison and military industrial complexes, or whatever corrupt construct society uses to prolong its inhumane lifespan. Making his appearance in the infamous Rivista Anarchica magazine in the 1970’s, best believe Anarchik will expose society’s hypocrisy with satire and a well-placed bomb. It’s like Mad’s Spy Vs. Spy, but with a political twist.
Eddie Blake, aka the Comedian, is a former member of the Minutemen in the Watchmen comic. Skilled in hand-to-hand combat and military operations, he becomes a pawn in America’s military excursions home and abroad, particularly in Vietnam. But even before the war and civil unrest in America that led to the criminalisation of superhero vigilantism, the Comedian was a loose canon.
Though only appearing as flashbacks and in non-linear narrative form in Watchmen, the chaos and unapologetic cynicism is far reaching and present to the point he is the turning point in many of the lives he has affected, whether it was spurring on Ozymandias’ crazed plan of mass genocide for world peace to begin with, intuiting Dr. Manhattan’s detachment from humanity or Laurie discovering that not only did he rape her mother but she (Laurie) was Blake’s love child. Soap opera stuff, man.
But being sanctioned by the government in the 1950’s as the only legally-operating superhero, the Comedian revelled in chaos. Described as “deliberately amoral”, the Comedian had no problems killing POW’s in World War One, shooting a village girl pregnant with his child during the end of Vietnam, or burning corpses alive. In fact he did it all with a smile. No regard whatsoever for social conventions or human life. And his “practiced cynicism”, for better or worse, affected and transformed wholly every person that he ever interacted with. That is the true power of Murphy’s Law.
Ras Al Ghul has big plans to set the world right. Too bad none of these plans include many human beings living. Ras Al Ghul wants to reset equilibrium to mother earth, and his secret organisation known as the Demon have the power and money to do just that. They were responsible for city wide atrocities that have been written of as natural disasters or some oddity like Rome or Pompeii. Ultimately he’s dead set on committing genocide worldwide with chemical warfare. More disturbingly, Ras Al Ghul’s ideals are sound, even if you don’t like his methods. Humans do more harm than good to the earth, and Ras wants to be the one that pushes the reset button that puts everything back to when it was pure and true.
And it doesn’t help the matter that Ras is near immortal with the use of his Lazarus Pit, a geological phenomenon that restores the youth of anyone that baths in its waters. So he pretty much has all the time in the world to hatch some dastardly deed.
He first had his stint in the panels of Swamp Thing, then the epic 300-episodic Hellrazor, then in the ongoing comic series John Constantine and getting his own live-action series on NBC. The occult detective / con-man is often seen giving snarky comments to angels and demons alike, but ultimately has the desire to do good. But his hunger for danger and supernatural chaos, being such a “Weirdness Magnet”, seems to get the better of him. He doesn’t even take the time to look less ‘grungy’ in his attire. Take that society! I bet he smells dirty. Like sulphur, fags and constipation.
Got to any protest in the world, whether its steeped in the falsity of rebellious suburban youth or a true proletariats stand against an oppressive system, you will eventually come across someone wearing a Guy Fawkes mask.
This mask is taken from V for Vendetta, and is a part of V’s getup. The Anarchist has a thing for explosions, after all his mask is of Guy Fawkes, the ‘terrorist’ that pretty much tried to blow up the House of Parliament before his plan was foiled by authorities. Nowadays, the ‘ambiguous anarchist’ V’s image has been adopted by the likes of protestors and the super-hacker group Anonymous, who have infiltrated computer systems and accounts of corporations and organisations in protest, from Paypal to the Ku Klux Klan.
Appearing in V For Vendetta, much of V’s past is unknown. Having been held as a political prisoner in a ‘resettlement’ camp in (a dystopian) Britain, he was genetically experimented on. Everyone that got injected eventually died gruesome deaths, except for the man in holding cell ‘V’. V becomes a genius in many respects, articulate, lover of the arts and literature, and the odd martial arts move and explosives. Which is pretty much how he got out. Accumulating fertiliser and other gardening knick knacks to make explosives, napalm and mustard gas. What follows is five years of intricate planning to overthrow the fascist government and killing every surviving member that ran Larkill’s Concentration Camps. Now that’s staying power.
To say the Joker is a baddy is an understatement. His anti-all. Intelligent, Sadistic, and with a streak of psychopathy and fitting warped sense of humour, he view of the world is ‘unique’ to say the least.
A tragic character as depicted in the Killing Joke, Joker’s descent into madness is further harkened by the death of his wife and son and his disfigurement having dropped into a vat of chemical waste that bleaches and disfigures his skin, hair and lips into the joker. But in all earnest, Joker’s history is sketchy at best, understandably, seeing the source material is categorically insane.
Many villains have a reason for doing what they do, some ideal or mission to fulfil. The Joker just is. Chaos, destruction is something he does because he can. Epitomised in The Dark Knight as a ball of contained chaos, the Joker is the greatest villain of all time because he embodies the raw essence of what Anarchy is; to be ‘without rule’ or to be unconstrained by anything. Not the government. Not the police. Not any form of authority. Not even thought, empathy or reason.
When it comes to rebellion, especially the type of rebellion that needs psychedelic drugs and wanton destruction, you Americans fall a little bit short to the good ol’ Brits. To be fair hooliganism and punk are British exports, so it’s only right that British writers like Grant Morrison and Alan Moore are usually at the helm of the most anarchistic characters to ever adorn our comic pages.
In any case, anarchy, like everything else, is best conducted in moderation. No one wants to be a blind, mindless sheep wandering through society like a zombie. But any form of anarchy has to be constructive, and a last resort. But in the end, all true, pure anarchists want to do is see and smell every system of oppressive-control burn.