Bad Ass Dads In Popular Culture

“Be a dad. Don’t be ‘Mom’s assistant.’ That’s depressing, just waiting for her to write you a list, walk around a store staring at it, calling her from the cereal aisle to make sure you got the right thing. Be a man. Make your own list. Fathers have skills that they never use at home. You run a landscaping business and you can’t dress and feed a 4-year-old? Take it on. Spend time with your kids and have your own ideas about what they need. It won’t take away your manhood; it will give it to you. I did that. I spent more time with my kids. And I found out that I’m a pretty bad father. I make a lot of mistakes and I don’t know what I’m doing. But my kids love me. Go figure.” -Louis C.K., comedian

Happy Father’s Day, OJers! The staff at Omnibus Journal (and some readers) compiled a list of bad ass fathers for your perusal. We looked into fathers, step fathers, godfathers, as well as father figures and thought we’d share some of our favorites in Television, Movies, Video Games, and Books!



Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead series


Photo courtesy of AMC

“I’d have to say my favorite “Pop” in pop culture (see what I did there??) would have to be Rick Grimes from the Walking Dead. He really does try to do right by his family as best he can in the crazy, dangerous world he lives in. He loves them more than anything, and would truly do anything for them.” – Tiffany Mertz, “Make All The Things!” Editor


Ned Stark from the Game of Thrones television series

Photo courtesy of Home Box Office

Photo courtesy of Home Box Office

“Ned Stark is a moron. That’s right, I said it. We’ve all thought it at least once and I don’t think many people would disagree. That being said, he’s still a bad-ass motherfather. He lived in a world where people squabbled, plotted, schemed and machinated all to take a seat on a big ol’ pointy chair, but not Ned. He lived in a world far away from those suckers. He arose each morning with his wife, spent the day with his children and bastard and went to sleep exhausted and accomplished. He taught his offspring the harsh lessons of the world; never break an oath, never miss an arrow and a loyal animal is a loyal friend and responsibility. He even taught them to stand a moral ground. His final lesson, however, was that standing that moral ground isn’t always the best route. Your high horse means nothing when nobody else is riding a high horse. In fact, everyone else is riding some magical winged thing that poops on your high horse from even higher and you could have ridden the magical winged pooper but you were all, “But the rules say to ride the horse” and everyone’s all, “You’re covered in poo!”, but I digress. Ned Stark was a fantastic father and raised some of the most truly strong people in all of Westeros.” –Patrick, Pizza Patriot


Sterling Archer from Archer


Photo courtesy of FX

“He may not have been wee baby Seamus’ biological father, but I’ll be damned if Sterling Archer didn’t try his hardest to be the most kick-ass father to the little tike. Sure, he may not have done things ‘by the book,’ but Archer was protective and proud of Seamus. Now that he’s *Spoilers* a father for real, he’s showing initiative and – in his own Archer way – being the best parent possible. Also, what’s not to love about a guy that would literally get into a standoff with Kenny Loggins in a five-star hotel? Danger Zone!” – Brandon Coday, Tabletop Editor


Yancy Fry, Sr. from Futurama 

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television

“Philip J. Fry’s dad. A Commie-hating, Vietnam vet who had a military personality. He was often hard on his sons, but he truly loved his sons. In the episode, “Cold Warriors” (Season 6, Episode 24), he said to Philip Fry, “I don’t want you getting frozen on me”. *Sad face* –Joey “Canada” Raab, Hockey Fanatic


Rowan “Eli” Pope from Scandal

“I mean, he’s not a good guy, but…” –Jacinta, Pop Culture Extraordinaire


Sirius Black, the Harry Potter book and film series

Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers

Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers

“No other father in popular culture quite had a chance with me when it comes to Sirius Black, Harry Potter’s godfather. He stands beside Harry Potter and becomes his father figure, best friend, and role model. *Old-as-hell Spoiler* Whenever Sirius died, that hole remains there in the text. While Harry matures and grows before our eyes because of Sirius’s death (and frankly, all of the other deaths that occur), no one quite guided him and understood him like Sirius Black. Other dads, take note.” – Faren Coday, Editor-In-Chief, Movies & Television Editor


Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird by: Harper Lee

Photo Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Photo Courtesy of Universal Pictures

“I wrestled with the answer to this question for a little bit, but I have to go with Atticus Finch.  He taught his children to treat every person the same, no matter the color of their skin.  That was simply unheard of in the 1930’s.  He takes on the case of Tom Robinson knowing that he is going to lose but still puts his all into defending Tom because he’s innocent.  Atticus Finch was a moral compass in a terrible time and one badass dad.” – Jake Overton, Movies & Television Head Writer


Billy Burke (in the Twilight saga and Revolution)


Photo courtesy of NBC

Any dad played by Billy Burke is pretty badass. He was the only good character in the Twilight films, and he was a super sword-wielding dad in Revolution.” – Lauren Sutton, Writer


Uncle Ben from the Spider-Man comics or any version of the movies

badass dads uncle ben

Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures

“Two words for you: Uncle. Ben. No list of badass dads would ever be complete without him. Uncle by name, but father by heart. All other father figures in Spider-Man fall short in comparison. Peter really lucked out by having Uncle Ben as a father– he truly cared and loved for Peter. He wanted to know what was going on in Peter’s life and make sure he was on the right path in life. And true, Peter gets mad at Uncle Ben for being intrusive, mirroring ourselves in those angsty teenage years. But after the fact, you can tell that Uncle Ben had a lasting impact on Peter and who he is as a person. It is truly unfortunate that Uncle Ben gets taken away so soon in Spiderman lore, and that one scene gets to me every. single. time. But what Uncle Ben will always be known for is when he says, ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ That is a Dad-ism through and through, and one that will be perpetually found in nerd culture.” -Rachel Jervis, Assistant Movies & Television Editor


John McClane from the Die Hard series

A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD TM & © 2012 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  All Rights Reserved.  Not for sale or duplication.

Photos courtesy of  Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

When it comes to bad ass dads, not many can top the dedication of Bruce Willis’ John McClane from the Die Hard series, who has been doing badassery and fighting terrorists since 1988. I chose this particular dad, not for any arbitrary reason, but because Die Hard is a series I have shared with my own bad ass dad, starting with the 2007 film, Live Free or Die Hard. McClane may not have had the best relationship with his daughter, Lucy, or son, John Jr. (Jack), but when the chips were down and his kids were in danger, he goes the distance. He averted a potential apocalypse in Live Free or Die Hard to save his daughter from crazed former Department of Defense agent, Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant), and even teamed up to fight Russian terroists with his now-grown son, Jack, who followed in his father’s footsteps to become a deep-cover CIA agent in A Good Day to Die Hard. So here’s a “yippee-ki-yay, mother fuckers” to all you dads out there, but especially to my own, with whom I share film and television as our bonding device. —Kyle Sanbonmatsu, Co-Founder

Video Games

Lee Everett from The Walking Dead video games


Photo courtesy of Telltale Games

Okay. Okay. I cheated. I also have a Video Games selection too. #Sorrynotsorry. While he is not Clementine’s actual father, Lee takes Clem’s hand and is her guardian and protector through the games. He could have very well left her to die in her treehouse, but he doesn’t. They become a force to be reckoned with. To the point to where you start to question if he really is her father.  *Spoilers* Clementine is thrown into fending for herself in the middle of the apocalypse after Lee’s tragic death in Season One. She takes all of the lessons she’s learned from Lee and uses them to survive. – Faren Coday, Editor-In-Chief, Movies & Television Editor


Joel from The Last of Us

Photo courtesy of Naughty Dog

Photo courtesy of Naughty Dog

“He’s a badass to begin with. He is willing to put everything on the line, even the survival of the human race, in order to keep his almost-adopted daughter Ellie safe from harm.” – Andrew Christman, Assistant Video Games Editor


How’d we do? Who is your pick for bad ass dad in popular culture?

Let us know in the comments!

Featured image courtesy of Fury Productions

*Editor-In-Chief’s note: I didn’t want to just use a pic of Chuck Norris because he’s a bad ass. This is actually a shout out to my own Chuck Norris, my dad, Dave! Love you, dad! Happy Father’s Day! <3

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