Top 10 Comic Book Superheroes


(1) Spider-Man

Spider-Man is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko, Spider-Man first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 (Aug. 1962). Lee and Ditko conceived the character as an orphan being raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben, and as a teenager, having to deal with the normal struggles of adolescence in addition to those of a costumed crime-fighter. Spider-Man's creators gave him super strength and agility, the ability to cling to most surfaces, shoot spider-webs using wrist-mounted devices of his own invention, which he calls "web-shooters," and react to danger quickly with his "spider-sense," enabling him to combat his foes. When Spider-Man first appeared in the early 1960s, teenagers in superhero comic books were usually relegated to the role of sidekick to the protagonist. The Spider-Man series broke ground by featuring Peter Parker, the high school student behind Spider-Man's secret identity and with whose "self-obsessions with rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness" young readers could relate. Unlike previous teen heroes such as Bucky and Robin, Spider-Man had no superhero mentor like Captain America and Batman; he thus had to learn for himself that "with great power there must also come great responsibility"—a line included in a text box in the final panel of the first Spider-Man story but later retroactively attributed to his guardian, the late Uncle Ben.Marvel has featured Spider-Man in several comic book series, the first and longest-lasting of which is titled The Amazing Spider-Man. Over the years, the Peter Parker character has developed from shy, nerdy high school student to troubled but outgoing college student, to married high school teacher to, in the late 2000s, a single freelance photographer, his most typical adult role. In the 2010s, he joins the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, Marvel's flagship superhero teams. In a 2012–2014 storyline, Peter Parker dies while his mind is in the body of his enemy Doctor Octopus; Doctor Octopus then lives on inside of Parker's body, taking the role of Spider-Man in The Superior Spider-Man. However, Parker returned to his body in April 2014. Separately, Marvel has also published books featuring alternate versions of Spider-Man, including Spider-Man 2099, which features the adventures of Miguel O'Hara, the Spider-Man of the future; Ultimate Spider-Man, which features the adventures of a teenaged Peter Parker in an alternate universe; and Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, which depicts the teenager Miles Morales, who takes up the mantle of Spider-Man after Ultimate Peter Parker's supposed death. Spider-Man is one of the most popular and commercially successful superheroes. As Marvel's flagship character and company mascot, he has appeared in many forms of media, including several animated and live-action television shows, syndicated newspaper comic strips, and a series of films starring Tobey Maguire as the hero in the first three movies. Andrew Garfield took over the role of Spider-Man in a reboot of the films. Reeve Carney starred as Spider-Man in the 2010 Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

(2) Superman

Superman is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, as well as its associated media. Superman is widely considered an American cultural icon. The Superman character was created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, high school students living in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1933; the character was sold to Detective Comics, Inc. (later DC Comics) in 1938. Superman first appeared in Action Comics #1 (June 1938) and subsequently appeared in various radio serials, newspaper strips, television programs, films, and video games. With the success of his adventures, Superman helped to create the superhero genre and establish its primacy within the American comic book. Superman's appearance is distinctive and iconic. He usually wears a blue costume, red cape, and stylized red-and-yellow "S" shield on his chest. This shield is used in a myriad of media to symbolize the character. The origin story of Superman relates that he was born Kal-El on the planet Krypton, before being rocketed to Earth as an infant by his scientist father Jor-El, moments before Krypton's destruction. Discovered and adopted by a Kansas farmer and his wife, the child is raised as Clark Kent and imbued with a strong moral compass. Very early on he started to display superhuman abilities, which, upon reaching maturity, he resolved to use for the benefit of humanity. Superman resides and operates in the fictional American city of Metropolis. As Clark Kent, he is a journalist for the Daily Planet, a Metropolis newspaper. Superman's primary love interest is Lois Lane, and his archenemy is supervillain Lex Luthor. Superman has fascinated scholars, with cultural theorists, commentators, and critics alike exploring the character's impact and role in the United States and worldwide. The character's ownership has often been the subject of dispute, with Siegel and Shuster twice suing for the return of legal ownership. Several alternative versions of Superman have also been produced.

(3) Batman

Batman is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, as well as its associated media. The character was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, and first appeared in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939). Originally named "the Bat-Man", the character is also referred to by such epithets as "the Caped Crusader", "the Dark Knight" and "the World's Greatest Detective". Batman is the secret identity of Bruce Wayne, an American billionaire, industrialist, and philanthropist. Having witnessed the murder of his parents as a child, he swore revenge on criminals, an oath tempered with a sense of justice. Wayne trains himself both physically and intellectually and dons a bat-themed costume to fight crime. Batman operates in the fictional Gotham City, assisted by various supporting characters including his butler Alfred Pennyworth, his crime-fighting partner Robin, the police commissioner Jim Gordon, and occasionally the heroine Batgirl. He fights a large assortment of villains, often referred to as the "rogues gallery," which includes the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, Two-Face, Ra's al Ghul, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, and Clayface. Unlike most superheroes, he does not possess any superpowers; he makes use of intellect, detective skills, science and technology, wealth, physical prowess, martial arts skills, an indomitable will, fear, and intimidation in his continuous war on crime. Batman became popular soon after his introduction and gained his own comic book title, Batman, in 1940. As the decades progressed, differing interpretations of the character emerged. The late 1960s Batman television series used a camp aesthetic which continued to be associated with the character for years after the show ended. Various creators worked to return the character to his dark roots, culminating in 1986 with The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, followed by Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth by Grant Morrison. The success of Warner Bros.' live-action Batman feature films have helped maintain public interest in the character. An American cultural icon, Batman has been licensed and adapted into a variety of media, from radio to television and film, and appears on a variety of merchandise sold all over the world such as toys and video games. The character has also intrigued psychiatrists with many trying to understand the character's psyche. Empire magazine listed him second in their 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters of All Time. The character has been portrayed in films by Lewis Wilson, Robert Lowery, Adam West, Michael Keaton, Kevin Conroy, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, and Christian Bale.

(4) Wolverine

Wolverine is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, commonly in association with the X-Men. Born James Howlett and commonly known as Logan, Wolverine is a mutant who possesses animal-keen senses, enhanced physical capabilities, and a healing factor. He has been depicted variously as a member of the X-Men, Alpha Flight, and the Avengers. Wolverine first appeared in the last panel of The Incredible Hulk #180, with his first full appearance in #181 (cover-dated Nov. 1974). He was created by writer Len Wein and Marvel art director John Romita, Sr., who designed the character, and was first drawn for publication by Herb Trimpe. Wolverine then joined a revamped version of the superhero team the X-Men, where eventually writer Chris Claremont and artist-writer John Byrne would play significant roles in the character's development. Artist Frank Miller collaborated with Claremont and helped to revise the character with a four-part eponymous limited series from September to December 1982 in which Wolverine's catchphrase, "I'm the best there is at what I do, but what I do best isn't very nice," debuted. Wolverine is typical of the many tough antiheroes that emerged in American popular culture after the Vietnam War; his willingness to use deadly force and his brooding nature became standard characteristics for comic book antiheroes by the end of the 1980s. As a result, the character became a fan favorite of the increasingly popular X-Men franchise. Wolverine has been featured in his own solo comic since 1988. He has appeared in most X-Men adaptations, including animated television series, video games, and the live-action 20th Century Fox X-Men film series, in which he is portrayed by Hugh Jackman in all seven films, although Troye Sivan plays the young James Howlett in the 2009 film. In May 2008, Wolverine was ranked #1 out of Wizard magazine's Top 200 Comic Book Characters of All Time and was ranked as the 4th Greatest Comic Book Character by Empire magazine in July 2008. On their list of the 100 Greatest Fictional Characters, Fandomania.com ranked Wolverine at #21.

(5) Spawn

Spawn is a fictional character, a graphic novel anti-hero that appears in a monthly comic book of the same name published by Image Comics as well as annual compilations, mini-series specials written by guest authors and artists and numerous cross-over story-lines in other graphic novels. Created by writer/artist Todd McFarlane, the character first appeared in Spawn #1 (May 1992). The series has spun off several other comics, including Angela, Curse of the Spawn, Sam & Twitch, and the Japanese manga Shadows of Spawn. Spawn was adapted into a 1997 feature film and portrayed by Michael Jai White, an HBO animated series lasting from 1997 until 1999, and a series of action figures whose high level of detail made McFarlane Toys known in the toy industry.

(6) Iron Man

Iron Man (Tony Stark) is a fictional superhero that appears in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, as well as its associated media. The character was created by writer-editor Stan Lee, developed by scripter Larry Lieber, and designed by artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby. He made his first appearance in Tales of Suspense #39 (cover dated March 1963). An American billionaire playboy, industrialist, and ingenious engineer, Tony Stark suffers a severe chest injury during a kidnapping in which his captors attempt to force him to build a weapon of mass destruction. He instead creates a powered suit of armor to save his life and escape captivity. Later, Stark augments his suit with weapons and other technological devices he designed through his company, Stark Industries. He uses the suit and successive versions to protect the world as Iron Man, while at first concealing his true identity. Initially, Iron Man was a vehicle for Stan Lee to explore Cold War themes, particularly the role of American technology and business in the fight against communism.[citation needed] Subsequent re-imaginings of Iron Man have transitioned from Cold War themes to contemporary concerns, such as corporate crime and terrorism.[citation needed] Throughout most of the character's publication history, Iron Man has been a founding member of the superhero team the Avengers and has been featured in several incarnations of his own various comic book series. Iron Man has been adapted for several animated TV shows and films. The character is portrayed by Robert Downey Jr. in the live action film Iron Man (2008), which was a critical and box office success. Downey, who received much acclaim for his performance, reprised the role in a cameo in The Incredible Hulk (2008), two Iron Man sequels and The Avengers (2012), and will do so again in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) and Captain America: Civil War (2016).

(7) Captain America

Captain America is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by cartoonists Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, the character first appeared in Captain America Comics #1 (cover dated March 1941) from Timely Comics, a predecessor of Marvel Comics. Captain America was designed as a patriotic supersoldier who often fought the Axis powers of World War II and was Timely Comics' most popular character during the wartime period. The popularity of superheroes waned following the war and the Captain America comic book was discontinued in 1950, with a short-lived revival in 1953. Since Marvel Comics revived the character in 1964, Captain America has remained in publication. Captain America wears a costume that bears an American flag motif, and is armed with a nearly indestructible shield that he throws at foes. The character is usually depicted as the alter ego of Steve Rogers, a frail young man enhanced to the peak of human perfection by an experimental serum to aid the United States government's imminent efforts in World War II. Near the end of the war, he was trapped in ice and survived in suspended animation until he was revived in the present day to subsequently become the long-time leader of the Avengers.

(8) Thor

Thor is a fictional superhero that appears in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character, based on the Norse mythological deity of the same name, is the Asgardian god of thunder and possesses the enchanted hammer Mjolnir, which grants him the ability of flight and weather manipulation amongst his other superhuman attributes. Debuting in the Silver Age of Comic Books, the character first appeared in Journey into Mystery #83 (Aug. 1962) and was created by editor-plotter Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber, and penciller-plotter Jack Kirby. He has starred in several ongoing series and limited series, and is a founding member of the superhero team the Avengers, appearing in each volume of that series. The character has also appeared in associated Marvel merchandise including animated television series, clothing, toys, trading cards, video games, and movies. The 2011 film Thor, based on the character and comic, was directed by Kenneth Branagh and starred Chris Hemsworth as Thor. Hemsworth reappears as Thor in The Avengers and Thor: The Dark World and will reprise his role in the sequels Avengers: Age of Ultron and Thor: Ragnarok as a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise.

(9) Hellboy

Hellboy is a fictional character created by writer-artist Mike Mignola. The character first appeared in San Diego Comic-Con Comics #2 (Aug. 1993), and has since appeared in various eponymous miniseries, one-shots and intercompany crossovers. The character has been adapted into two live-action feature films in 2004 and 2008 that starred Ron Perlman in the title role, and two straight-to-DVD animated films, as well as two video games – Asylum Seeker and The Science of Evil. A well-meaning demon whose true name is Anung Un Rama ("and upon his brow is set a crown of flame"), Hellboy was summoned from Hell to Earth as an infant demon on December 23, 1944 (given as his birth date by Mike Mignola) by Nazi occultists (spawning his hatred for them). He was discovered by the Allied Forces; amongst them, Professor Trevor Bruttenholm, who formed the United States Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD). In time Hellboy grew to be a large, red-skinned man with a tail, horns (which he files off, leaving behind the signature circular stumps on his forehead), cloven hooves for feet, and an oversized right hand made of stone. He has been described as smelling of dry-roasted peanuts. Although a bit gruff, he shows none of the malevolence thought to be intrinsic to demons, and has a strong sense of humor. This is said to be because of his upbringing under Professor Bruttenholm, who raised him as a normal boy. Hellboy works for the BPRD, an international non-governmental agency, and himself against dark forces including Nazis and Baba Yaga, in a series of tales that have their roots in folklore, pulp magazines, vintage adventure, Lovecraftian horror and horror fiction. In earlier stories, he is identified as the "World's Greatest Paranormal Investigator."

(10) Incredible Hulk

The Hulk is a fictional superhero that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and first appeared in The Incredible Hulk #1 (May 1962). Throughout his comic book appearances, the Hulk is portrayed as a large green humanoid that possesses near limitless superhuman strength and great invulnerability, attributes that grow more potent the angrier he becomes. Hulk is the alter ego of Bruce Banner, a socially withdrawn and emotionally reserved physicist who physically transforms into the Hulk under emotional stress and other specific circumstances at will or against it; these involuntary transformations lead to many complications in Banner's life. When transformed, the Hulk often acts as a disassociated personality separate from Banner. Over the decades of Hulk stories, the Hulk has been represented with several personalities based on Hulk and Banner's fractured psyche, ranging from mindless savage to brilliant warrior, and Banner has taken control of the Hulk's form on occasion. Banner first transforms into the Hulk after being caught in the blast of the gamma bomb he invented while saving Rick Jones, a youth who had wandered onto the testing range. Lee said that the Hulk's creation was inspired by a combination of Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Although the Hulk's coloration has varied throughout the character's publication history, the most usual color is green. As a child, Banner's father Brian Banner often got mad and physically abused his mother Rebecca, creating the psychological complex of fear, anger, and the fear of anger and the destruction it can cause that underlies the character. A common storyline is the pursuit of both Banner and the Hulk by the U.S. armed forces, because of all the destruction that he causes. He has two main catchphrases: "Hulk is strongest one there is!" and the better-known "HULK SMASH!", which has founded the basis for a number of pop culture memes. The character has been portrayed in multiple feature films by three different actors. Hulk was first portrayed in film by Eric Bana in Ang Lee's Hulk (2003). Subsequently, the character has been played in the Marvel Cinematic Universe initially by Edward Norton in The Incredible Hulk (2008) and in The Avengers (2012) by Mark Ruffalo. Ruffalo will be reprising his role in the sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) as well as future films.