Today is National Curmudgeon’s Day, an opportunity to celebrate all of the crankiest, surliest, and most miserly individuals in our lives. In order to celebrate this odd holiday, we’ve decided to pick out a set of comic book characters that best embody the “virtues” of a curmudgeon. It’s a mean lot, but you can’t help but appreciate what they bring to the comics they occupy.
1. Dr. Sivana
Dr. Sivana is the Lex Luthor to Shazam’s Superman, a hyper-intelligent, human arch-nemesis. His schemes like Shazam’s adventures tend to be big, bold, and brazen. Even though Sivana has his own family, he’s always been in the supervillain game for himself. He plays a Grinch-like role in Fawcett City, constantly trying to ruin everyone else’s fun. While Sivana is definitely not a good guy, he’s certainly more entertaining than some of the curmudgeons to come. We have to give him props for keeping things colorful while being his miserable self.
2. J. Jonah Jameson
Was there ever any doubt that J. Jonah Jameson wouldn’t appear on this list? While Jameson has shown a slightly softer side over 50 years of Spidey comics, he’s always been at his best while plaguing the Wall-Crawler with threats, libel, and Spider-Slayers. The fact that Jameson can’t even say thank you to the hero who saved his own son speaks volumes about his unwillingness to acknowledge joy. JJJ is only having fun when absolutely everybody else is miserable, making him a shoo in for the “Curmudgeon Hall of Fame”.
3. Anton Arcane
Arcane ups the stakes from wacky schemes to downright evil machinations. Whereas Jameson or Sivana might summon a redeeming quality (or at least prove mostly harmless), Arcane is an example of a curmudgeon the world would be better off without. He’s dedicated his lonely life to antagonizing his dear niece and generally trying to ruin anything beautiful and green. Arcane would rather commune with demons and sell his own soul than allow his own family to live a happy life. It’s good that Swamp Thing keeps an eye on this self-mutilating creep or else the DC universe might be a lot worse off.
4. Jakob Hock
Speaking of completely irredeemable curmudgeons bound and determined to spoil anything they can’t control, Jakob Hock has made quite an impact in Lazarus. Everything this monstrous family leader has done in the series has been out of spite. There are the obvious offenses like torture, mind control, and poisoning, but he even managed to make a dance invitation into a threat. He’s the meanest, ugliest person in a comic filled with greedy characters looking out for number one. You know Hock is pretty crappy when the writer ofLazarus, Greg Rucka, has called him out for simply being a “piece of s**t.”
5. Silvio Silvermane
We had to save the best for last: Silvio Silvermane. Silvermane wasn’t much of a household name until Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber reinvented the old (literally and metaphorically) Spidey villain. By turning him into a self-sustaining head, they focused on the character’s attitude, which is nothing but bad. Silverman became a comedic highlight of the very funny series, always happy to sling the very best insults. Even without a body, he managed to manipulate the criminals around him into serving his needs. Now the same creative team is back together this spring for another crime-comedy The Fix. It’s likely they’ll be adding some new curmudgeons to celebrate come this time next year.