So Sayeth the Odinson: The Odinson’s Top 10 Fictional Icons of Pop Culture

Greetings from the Odinson,

Whether it’s cheering for your favorite sports team like the Dallas Cowboys, following the drama and OMG moments of your favorite television show like Game of Thrones, or waiting patiently from cliffhanger to cliffhanger in your favorite comic book series like ROM, we all have our own ways of consuming entertainment.  Some entertainment rises above the rest, and some characters in popular fiction can transcend the medium and resonate with an audience so much so that they become iconic.  I’m talking about those names in fiction that when spoken amongst mix company, from grandparents to grandchildren, are recognized the world over.

The Odinson’s Top 10 Fictional Icons of Pop Culture

10 – SpockLive long and prosper. – He came from a short lived TV show in the 1960s called Star Trek, a culturally important show that gave us so many iconic characters and storylines, a show that has spawned a pop culture empire that includes four and counting spin-off TV series, thirteen and counting films, dozens of video games, and countless comic books and novels.  But, in a sea of iconic characters, one stands head-and-shoulders above the rest, science officer Mr. Spock.  Walk up to just about anybody on the street and hold your hand up with fingers split in that iconic Vulcan gesture and just see how many people do it back.  I’m willing to bet it’s more than a few.

9 – MarioI’m ah-Mario. – From his earliest appearances in Donkey Kong to his rock star days in the Super Mario Bros. franchise to his cameos in other games like Punch Out!, this video game legend has become a household name.  From 1981 to the present, having appeared in well over 100 video games, Mario has become a worldwide and generational icon.  I was but a child when I first met Mario, my son grew up knowing Mario, and I’ll wager that his children will know Mario as well.

8 – RockyRocky, Rocky, Rocky… – He is the ultimate underdog.  Rocky Balboa is more than just another character in a movie (8 movies and counting to be exact), he is synonymous with never giving up and going the distance, and his theme music has inspired countless workouts for nearly four decades now.

7 – MacGyverAny problem can be solved with a little ingenuity. – Now this is truly a unique pop culture icon.  I’d be willing to bet that there are many people alive today that know the word MacGyver as a verb rather than as a TV show from the 1980s.  Angus MacGyver is a troubleshooter for the government who refuses to use a gun but can solve just about any problem, get by any obstacle, and survive any death trap just using his wits and a handful of assorted household products.  His adventures and problem solving skills have become so legendary that not only has his legend lived far beyond the end of his television series, but the word MacGyver has come to mean “to do the impossible.”

6 – Darth VaderI am your father. – On the Mount Rushmore of movie villains there is Hannibal Lecter, Agent Smith, and the shark from JAWS, and there is the dark visage of this iconic evildoer from the Star Wars Saga.  In A New Hope, he was already established as the ultimate bad guy, an unstoppable black knight with the power to choke-out victims with just a thought and an ambition that could destroy worlds.  So, by time we got to the end of The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader’s bad guy cred was already at heavy metal rock star status, but then he dropped a bombshell that turned poor Luke Skywalker’s world upside down and left movie goers with the greatest cliffhanger ending in cinema history.

5 – Wonder WomanOh, I don’t think you’ve ever known a woman like me. – She is an inspiration to children and grownups alike.  She is, hands down, the greatest female super hero in history and one of the greatest icons in history, period.  Her very name is inspirational.  She is an icon for women’s rights and equality, a symbol of strength, beauty, respect, and love.  Like Superman, Wonder Woman sets an example for the world of how we all can be better and work together toward a brighter future of equality and understanding.

4 – BatmanI’m Batman. – He debuted back in 1939 in the pages of Detective Comics #27 and instantly became the second most popular super hero at the dawn of the Golden Age of Comics.  Even in the 1950s, when the super hero genre had all but died out, Batman was one of the few heroes to survive.  In the 1960s, the Batman TV Series firmly established the Caped Crusader as a pop culture linchpin.  In the 1970s, Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams took the character back to his gothic roots.  In the 1980s, Frank Miller defined the character for generations to come with his seminal The Dark Knight Returns story.  In 1989 and throughout the 90s, thanks to Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman: The Animated Series, Batmania swept across the globe.  And in the new millennium, thanks in no small part to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, Batman’s iconic rise and star power is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.  In fact, it can be argued that Batman is the most popular super hero in the world.

3 – Spider-ManSpider-Man, Spider-Man…does whatever a spider can… – The reason why Peter Parker’s alter ego resonates so much with generation after generation is because behind that iconic mask, he can be anybody.  Spider-Man has long been most readers’ gateway character into the world of comics.  From cartoons to movies to toys to having his visage on everything from penny banks to collectible buttons and everything in-between, Spider-Man is a name that is known worldwide.  A while ago, the Odinson came across one of the most amazing and spectacular videos I’ve ever seen on the internet.  It was a little boy’s birthday party.  He must have been four or five years old, maybe younger.  When presented with a Spider-Man piñata, instead of smashing the paper doll to get to the candy inside, a doll that was as tall as he was, this little fellow dropped the stick, walked over and hugs the little Spider-Man.  That’s how powerful the world’s love for this hero is.

2 – SupermanThis looks like a job for Superman! – He is the greatest super hero in history, period.  He is the modern day Hercules.  From Look…up in the sky…it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Superman… to his never-ending fight for truth, justice, and the American Way, Superman is one of only a very few fictional characters that can make the Odinson become emotional.  I hear that awe-inspiring theme music by renowned conductor John Williams and the Odinson is a kid again.  Not only is the Man of Steel an inspiration for all other super heroes and the denizens of DC Comics, he is truly an inspiration for the denizens of the real world as well.  It isn’t because of his super powers that Superman is such an icon, it’s because of what he represents and what he inspires us all to be – kind, brave, fair, honest, and, above all else, good.  He is known the world over and translates into any language and any culture.  If it were not for the next name on this list, Superman would be the biggest icon in pop culture history.

1 – Mickey MouseM-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E…! – Just to give an idea about how well known this little guy is, other than being the mascot for Disneyland, Disneyworld and Walt Disney, the company that owns Marvel Comics, the actual character Mickey Mouse, though he’s been around, hasn’t been at the forefront of popular entertainment for at least forty years, yet dare I say, one would be quite hard pressed to find another person living on this planet between the ages of the cradle to the grave who does not know who Mickey Mouse is.  Plus, if that humorous scene from the sci-fi film Enemy Mine is any indication, Mickey Mouse is a name that will resonate in the lexicon of pop culture for many centuries to come.

Honorable Mentions:  Charlie Brown, Bugs Bunny, Captain Kirk, Urkel, the Noid, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the Hulk.

These are the pop culture icons that have made an impact on my life and the world itself.  Even if they all don’t know why, everybody knows their names.  Who are some other unforgettable names from the annals of popular entertainment?  Are there any fictional icons the Odinson may have left out?  Which characters inspire you or bring a smile to your face?  Who is your favorite?

This is Odinson bidding thee farewell

About Odinson

I am a lifelong comics fan and pop culture enthusiast. Comic books, novels, games, television, movies, I love it all. From fantasy to science fiction, drama to comedy, as long as the writing and execution are interesting, I love it, and I want to talk about it.

There are 3 comments

  1. Ronald R Lavallee Jr

    Mario on the list, but no Popeye? Well, blow me down….I yam what I yam, and that’s all what I yam…That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!

    Liked by 1 person

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