?In cartoons and sitcoms, we often see an angel on one shoulder acting as the conscience and a devil on the other, tempting someone to do wrong. A protagonist always has to make that character defining choice between right and wrong, good and evil, Jedi and Sith, red lasers and blue lasers.
But why not enjoy the best of both worlds? Today’s list brings you five loveable angels and demons from different nerdy franchises. The demons aren’t all bad and some of the angels have serious flaws. That’s what makes them interesting.
We’ll be dealing strictly with characters that actually are angels or demons, as opposed to those that simply look angelic or demonic or are merely labeled as such (which is why you won’t find the Weeping Angels or creatures from Evangelion here.) Also, huge omnipotent god-types are right out, since they do not serve but define good and evil, fictionally speaking. Also, no Angel from X-Men or Angel from Angel, for reasons that should be obvious. And with that caveat, here are 10 divine beings most nerd would love to have on their shoulders.
5) Angela, Spawn
?Angela has recently gained attention as the subject of legal shenanigans between Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane; at the moment, both are credited as co-creators of the character. But in the ’90s, Angela gained fame as the totally hot angel babe who battled evil as a heavenly bounty hunter in Image comics. She fought and romanced Spawn to fulfill her role as a Catwoman-style femme fatale. Also, let’s not kid ourselves, we remember Angela for her decidedly non-angelic choice of wardrobe, especially the “pantyless” Party Angela action figure. That’s how awesome she was — even God couldn’t make her wear underwear.
4) Tyrael, Diablo II
Why is Tyrael so damn awesome? Is it because he’s the only semi-decent angel in Diablo interested in interceding on behalf of humans in a world of hostile supernatural beings? That he’s actively trying to keep evil from entering the world? Is it his title, Archangel of Justice, which would be a highlight on any resume? Or is it his magnificent wings, which are epic-sized streamers of living light?
Okay, it’s the wings. Just look at how they move; it’s hypnotizing. Some view this angel as a savior, others as a meddler, but perhaps we can all agree that not even Tyrael can save us from the perilous gibbering madness that is the Cow Level.
3) Metatron, Dogma
Alan Rickman is… The Surliest Angel! Well, not exactly, but that is how he comes across in his role as Metatron, the voice of God, and God, we love him for it. He terrifies the protagonist by appearing as a column of flame, turns her fire extinguisher into a fish, calls her out on her bullshit and lack of Biblical knowings, and then teleports her away to drink tequila shots. So he’s pretty much the best angel ever, even if he is as anatomically impaired as a Ken doll.
2) Castiel, Supernatural
With his stoic demeanor, rusty people skills, and Mischa Collins eyes, Castiel won our fangirl hearts the first time he gripped Dean tight and raised him from Perdition. This angel can smite, time travel, appear and disappear with ninja-like stealth, and lob a mean Molotov cocktail. Castiel is one of the few examples from Supernatural in which an actor’s awkwardness is both intentional and highly entertaining to watch. He could also give growly-voice lessons to Christian Bale.
1) Gabriel, The Prophecy
Christopher Walken is a wonderfully terrifying man to behold on screen. His fantastic performance of the Archangel Gabriel in The Prophecy manages to be endearing, creepy and hilarious all at once. Just imagine for a moment waking up from the big sleep to behold Christopher Walken’s face gazing at you unnervingly! Hey, it’s gotta be somebody’s fantasy. One of the more memorable scenes from the film is when Gabriel peers into the mouths of children at their souls. It’s right up there with the watch-in-the-ass scene from Pulp Fiction as a moment of amusingly riveting discomfort. And here’s some bonus Walken Angel action, courtesy of The Black Angel SNL Dress Rehearsal sketch:
The moral is: Don’t judge an angel by the color of his wings, nor the color of his sweet Converse All-Stars.
The demons most beloved by nerds wait in the abyss that is the next page.
5) Etrigan, DC
?Created by the legendary Jack Kirby, Etrigan has earned a solid status in comics and the DCAU as a fun supporting character. Streaky-haired human Jason Blood speaks in rhyme to transform into Etrigan, and the demon himself busts constant rhymes after moving up in the ranks of hell, resulting in some of the most pompous-sounding speech ever rendered in comics. Happily, the Demon is awesome enough to pull it off. Also, who could forget adorable baby Etrigan from the “Kids Stuff” episode of the Justice League cartoon? Cutest lil’ hellspawn ever!
4) Lord of Darkness, Legend
If there ever were a power that could be harnessed for ultimate good or evil, it would be Tim Curry. He inspires both fear and attraction, from his infamous role in Rocky Horror to this fantasy film, in which he sports a truly magnificent pair of horns (the makeup for this role took five and a half hours to apply daily. Talk about suffering for your art!). Curry rocks the classic red devil look with panache and style that none other could achieve. In fact, it’s kind of surprising that the heroine Lilli chooses an infant Tom Cruise over the undeniable devilish appeal of Darkness. I mean, that voice, man. That voice.
3) Anya, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Anya the former-vengeance demon provides some of the best awkward humor in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Anya is trying her best to make do in a human world, and it’s all too clear when she doesn’t fit in. She’s always there with a phrase that can stun the Scooby Gang to silence or earn a withering retort, which makes her probably the most quotable character on the show. But she isn’t limited to comic relief; Anya undergoes true development through the series, learning to feel sorrow and love until she gains back humanity at last. Also, she hates bunnies, which is pretty great.
?When it comes to loveable demons, it’s hard to beat cigar-smoking, kitten-loving, paranormal-investigating, apocalypse arm-bearing Hellboy. As a demon Hellboy is a strong case for nurture over nature, raised by Professor Bruttenholm to fight occult Nazis, Baba Yagas, and other supernatural menaces. With the Good Samaritan and the B.P.R.D at his side, Big Red commands respect. People who think otherwise can have a nice polite chat with the Right Hand of Doom. SPOILER ALERT: In fact, Hellboy is so well loved that news of his recent death isn’t enough to keep fans down. We’re looking forward to seeing him return one day as a ghost or some kind of floating badass spirit-gas. Hell, if Johann Krauss can do it, why not this boy?
1) Crowley, Good Omens
?Crowley is brought to you by the most super-sweet authorial team up ever: Pratchett and Gaiman. What more do you need? If you haven’t read this book, you are now under orders to do so right away. Do not question why; it is simply part of the Ineffable Plan. With a history that goes back as far as Adam and Eve, Crowley understands humans very well. So well that he has tricked people into creating their own sin and torment while he sits back and takes a spin in his shiny black Bentley, listening to diabolic messages delivered via Queen mix tape. Although he has kept up with the times, Crowley has difficulty accepting that the world is going to end, which is why he teams up with his equally awesome angel-buddy Aziraphale to start some apocalyptic meddling in the inestimable Good Omens.
Also, we mustn’t forget Crowley and Azriaphale’s New Year’s Resolutions, in which Crowley claims credit for inventing “Googling yourself.” Infernal work, indeed!