Fans and collectors of pop culture memorabilia know: When it comes to fine fathers and paragons of paternity, our favorite genres have no shortage of great examples.
From sci-fi and fantasy benchmarks to superhero blockbusters to cartoon classics, the challenge isn’t finding great father figures to talk about – it’s choosing which ones to talk about first!
Because we want to give you plenty to talk about over your Father’s Day barbecue this year, here are our nominations for the 5 greatest dads in pop culture. (We only hope, after reading our selections, you won’t want to throw us on your grill!)
Let’s start counting ‘em down…
5. THANOS THE MAD TITAN
Like the old saying goes: If you love someone, drag them to the Soul Stone altar on Vormir and toss them off the cliff. You may say good fathers shouldn’t play favorites (and Gamora might agree), but you saw those tears trickling down the Mad Titan’s big purple cheeks. When the day inevitably comes for the kids to leave home – and maybe even your universe’s main timeline – it’s always emotional.
Maybe Thanos was a little tough on Nebula when she refused to show him her map to the Soul Stone. But you gotta teach your kids about honesty and obedience somehow. How else will they learn to respect you enough to close the eyelids on your freshly severed head when you die?
4. EGO THE LIVING PLANET
You know those cheesy Father’s Day cards with messages like, “Dad, You Are The World To Me”? Well, when your pop’s a living planet like Ego, you can send that card and mean it! His name may make you think he’s self-centered, but every dad needs some “me” space. Ego’s just happens to fill all space.
Besides, this Celestial’s offspring, Peter “Star-Lord” Quill, experienced some great side benefits because of Dad’s relentless drive to fill the cosmos with himself. There are the “rugged good looks,” for one. And the ability to handle an Infinity Stone without dying – that’s another. And it wasn’t just from his human mother Meredith that Quill got his love of great music. Any ageless, primordial being who can appreciate “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” can’t be all bad, right?
3. LUCIUS MALFOY
If you’re a well-connected dad like Lucius Malfoy, of curse – uh, we mean, of course – you’re going to use those connections to make sure your kid enjoys an edge. He could’ve gotten Draco into Durmstrang, where Igor Karkaroff, Lucius’ friend from his old Death Eater days, would have given the boy a “far more sensible” education than he’d ever get at Hogwarts. As recent headlines prove, even Muggles see the sense in pulling strings to get their kids into the best schools!
Draco went to Hogwarts anyway. But didn’t Lucius volunteer his time to its Board of Governors, and buy brand-new Nimbus 2001 broomsticks for Slytherin’s Quidditch team? He even gave Ginny Weasley the diary of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. That’s the generosity you’d expect from a pure-blooded wizarding father!
2. DARTH VADER
What dad doesn’t want to see his son follow in his big, booted, galaxy-oppressing footsteps? The biggest, best paternity reveal in movie history proves even fathers who are more machine than man dream of their boys going into the family business. He even got Luke a face-to-face job interview with the Emperor. Ungrateful kid could’ve had all the power converters he wanted, and more!
And before you call Darth Vader a dark father for torturing his own daughter with a mind probe and blowing up her adoptive parents and planet – he didn’t know she was his kid! You’ll give Luke and Leia a pass for their kissy-kissy, but not cut Dad any slack? He finds your double standard disturbing!
1. HOMER SIMPSON
For the last 30 seasons (all of them to be available on Disney+ when it launches), Homer Simpson has been proving he’s the World’s Greatest Dad (just like it says on the mug of gummy worms he bought in season 14 to help him catch a gummy fish).
He’ll do whatever it takes to provide for his family. And we’re not just talking about working in the notoriously dangerous Springfield Nuclear Power Plant (granted, no small amount of that danger’s due to Homer mashing the wrong button on his T-437 Safety Console, but…). He’s gone into the snow plow business. He’s charged neighborhood kids for trampoline time and elephant rides. And he may be the only cartoon character who’s ever voiced another cartoon character (ruff, ruff, Poochie, the rockin’ dog!).
We can’t think of any better way to end this tribute to pop culture’s greatest dads than to let Homer Simpson himself have the last word (from season 12):
“The key to parenting is don’t overthink it. Because overthinking leads to … what were we talking about?”
Okay, okay – obviously this Father’s Day fête is more than a little facetious. But what’s no joke is that Entertainment Earth is your one-stop shop for all the pop culture merchandise any Pop in your life would be thrilled to receive on Dad’s big day.
Don’t give him another tie he’ll never wear or soap-on-a-rope he’ll never use (which, ew, gross). Give him (or yourself) the gift of pop culture merchandise and collectible fun. Check out our special Paladone Father’s Day Sale now!
Then, let us know in the comments below: Who would you nominate as the best dads in pop culture?