One of the things that made the early Marvel work of Stan Lee (and Jack and Steve and the rest of the bullpen) unique was the more realistic attitudes and personalities that the Marvel heroes were given.  Some, like Ben Grimm, were curmudgeonly to the point of unpleasantness, and early Hulk was a fullbore hateful misanthrope.  Marvel didn’t create the ‘jerk with a heart of gold’ routine (I think Moses Horowitz might be the patron saint), but they helped pave the way for Boston Brand, Cliff Steele, most of the X-Men, and the walking pile of swagger and Drakkar Noir that is Guy Gardner, leading us to today’s ‘runnin’ out of you!’ query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) is torn between Batman and Howard The Duck, but leans toward the one who is suave and heroic and not the one who wears the cape, asking: Who is your favorite example of the ‘jerk with a heart of gold’ in fiction? (Please, no real-life examples…)


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. In comics I always think Guy Gardner, who might be an ass at times, but he does have your back.

    In other mediums: Al Bundy is up there as well, because he does have a few moments that show (in his way) he does love his family, even if he is constantly (sometimes justifiably) berating them.

    Walter Sobcheck (spelling) from The Big Lebowski, is an arrogant man filled with rage and self-loathing, but he does have his soft spots even if it takes a death for them to come out.

    James Bond by most accounts is a horrible human being, but there are times like On Her Majesty’s Secret Service where the human part of him shines through.

  2. Malone_hasco on

    New 52 Billy Batson. He actually had character development and became likable in the end of first Shazam series, unlike most modern super hero comics .

  3. There are… actually so many examples of this that half an hour after I post this I’m going to think of a better one, but for now… Rocket Raccoon. If for nothing else than his relationship with Groot.

  4. Luis Dantas on

    Guy Gardner in this category? I would never think of him that way, personally. Among other reasons because he is consolidated in my mind as the callous being who looked aside as he let the Shark kill a man in Englehart/Staton issues of Green Lantern.

    Tyrion Lannister, Hawkeye, Ben Grimm, Nick Fury or Hercules for me. Pushed against the wall, I would choose Hawkeye.

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