Superheroes are a huge part of our fantasy. They are the reason we still believe good defeats evil. Superheroes have always provided us with icons. We look at top 10 superheroes who continue to be our inspiration.
We have to begin with the caped crusader. Created by artist Bob Kane & writer Bill Finger, Batman made his debut in Detective Comics (series published by DC Comics) in 1939. Within a year the character became so popular that in 1940 he got his own independent title. Over the years Batman has been adapted into a variety of media, from radio to television & films.
What makes him special: A large part of his popularity is because he has no special powers, and relies on his scientific knowledge & martial art skills. Even his secret identity, Bruce Wayne, the billionaire, and owner of Wayne Enterprises, is involved with various charities & causes.
If DC Comics is around, how can Marvel Comics not be present? Created by writer-editor Stan Lee & writer-artist Steve Ditko, Spider-Man made his first appearance in Amazing Fantasy (series published by Marvel Comics) in 1962. As Marvel’s flagship character and company mascot, he has appeared in different forms of media, including several animated and live-action television series, syndicated newspaper comic strips, and in a series of films.
What makes him special: At the time of Spider-Man’s debut, teenagers were always the sidekick to the hero. But Peter Parker/ Spider-Man broke the trend. He is a high school student who has to learn by himself that “with great power there must also come great responsibility.”
Another one of Stan Lee’s creations, Iron Man was scripted by Larry Lieber & designed by artists Don Heck & Jack Kirby. He made his first appearance in Tales of Suspense in 1963. Lee created Iron Man as a way to explore Cold War themes. With time, Cold War has been replaced with more contemporary themes of corporate crime & terrorism. Iron Man is also the founding member of the superhero team, The Avengers.
What makes him special: A man who uses his money for a cause. Tony Stark, an American billionaire playboy, business magnate, and ingenious engineer, suffers a severe chest injury during a kidnapping when his captors force him to build a weapon of mass destruction. Instead, he creates a powered suit of armour to save his life & escape captivity. Stark continues to modify his suit with weapons & other technological devices, and protect the world as Iron Man. Did we say he has the best suit?
It would be unfair to choose just one of them. Born out of the collaboration of Stan Lee & Jack Kirby, the characters made their debut in 1963 in their own series. They are a group of powerful mutants, led by Professor X, who fight for peace and equality between humans & mutants.
What makes them special: They may have their differences, but in the hour of need, they combine their powers for the greater good. From Cyclops’ laser eyes to Wolverine’s metal claws to Storms control of the weather, they are one formidable team.
We know we are starting to sound a little biased to Marvel. But we can’t help it. Marvel Comics has given us more superheroes to love & idolise than any other publication. We mean, look at Hulk. Who could have thought of making a man with anger issues into a hero? Another one of Stan Lee & Jack Kirby’s creations, Hulk was launched with his own comic series – The Incredible Hulk – in 1962.
What makes him special: Hulk is not the superhero persona of Bruce Banner. Nor does he have any special powers. Hulk is, literally, Bruce Banner’s alter ego. He is all of us when we get angry. Only, he turns into a green humanoid with superhuman strength. Don’t we all wish for that strength when we are angry?
One of the very few female superheroes, Wonder Woman was our first introduction to a female character having special powers, and we didn’t care that her powers were a result of the fact that she was a demigod. Wonder Woman was introduced in 1941 in the All Star Comics. Conceptualised & created by Charles Moulton, the character was made a female on the suggestion of Moulton’s wife, Elizabeth.
What makes her special: Mostly depicted as an international diplomatic heroine, fighting for justice, love, peace, and gender equality, Wonder Woman is largely considered the earliest icon of feminism & LGBT rights. And when she is not saving the world, she is saving lives as nurse Diana Prince.
OK! So not exactly a superhero, rather a supervillain, but we had to put her on the list because she is no less than her enemy, Batman. Also, she has her own series. Created by Bob Kane & Bill Finger, Catwoman made her debut in Batman in 1940.
What makes her special: Her constant love-hate relationship with Batman! She equals Batman in his skills & gadgets. And never misses an opportunity to mock him. Her salvation lies in the fact that she never kills.
Another superhero team born out of the genius collaboration of Stan Lee & Jack Kirby, we could not pick just one out of them. They first came to the limelight with their own series in 1961.
What makes them special: Their combined powers – elasticity, invisibility, fire & strength – and, of course, their occasional differences, that makes them the perfect family.
In the comic world, Deadpool is a newbie. He made his debut in 1991 in The New Mutants, and was the brainchild of artist-writer Rob Liefeld & writer Fabian Nicieza. By the creators’ own confession, Deadpool is a combination of Deathstroke, Spider-Man & Wolverine. He got his own title in 1997.
What makes him special: A supervillain who became a superhero with a sense of humour! What makes him even more funny, creepy & lovable, all at the same time, is the fact that he is always aware that he is a fictional character, and leaves no opportunity to remind us of the fact.
So, he is technically not a super hero. But as children he was our introduction to saving the world with his skills & a dependable sidekick, Sabu. He was created by Pran (not the Bollywood actor) in 1971 for the Hindi magazine, Lotpot, and soon became popular with kids & adults alike.
What makes him special: He represented the wise, old man of every Indian family. His only weapon was his age, experience, and his grey cells (occasionally assisted by Sabu’s muscles). After all, Chacha Chaudhary ka dimaag computer se bhi tez chalta hain (Chacha Chaudhary’s brain is faster than a computer).
So here are our top 10. Who is your favourite? Tell us in the comments below.