The Best Comic Book Superheroes of All Time Fictional Characters
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The Best Comic Book Superheroes of All Time

List Criteria: Only superhero protagonist characters from comics No villains or superhero teams.

List of the most badass, tough, and iconic comic book superheroes ever created. This list includes central characters from both the DC and Marvel Universe, as well as more non-traditional or underground comic books. The definition of what makes a "superhero" can be quite slippery, and often encompasses characters with questionable morals and behavior (giving rise to the notion of the "anti-hero.")

Traditionally, a "superhero" simply means a larger-than-life character, or one gifted with special abilities, either organically or via their own genius or inventiveness, who uses his or her powers to protect and defend the public from threats. Though the word "superhero" began to be used as early as the 1910s, the concept really took hold in the public's mind following the introduction of Superman in 1938.

Though Superman and other characters of his day were gifted with special talents and abilities, making them particularly suited to crusading for justice, many characters that followed were more "human" than the noble alien from Krypton, using their intelligence (such as Iron Man or Batman) to create a superheroic persona. A common trope has also become scientific accidents or twists of fate that turn a regular citizen into a superhero (as is the case with Spider-Man being bitten by a radioactive spider or Bruce Banner becoming The Hulk after being pelted with gamma rays.) Some superheroes also have disabilities that counteract their skills, weapons or unique talents. Of course, a number of superheroes are also not only not human, but god-like beings, such as Marvel's Thor.

Because of the massive popularity of superheroes – particularly at the start of the 21st Century, when superhero films reigned at the box office – a number of deconstructions and analyses of the genre have also been done, culminating in the creation of "meta-superheroes" who comment on the concept of superheroism itself. The Watchmen, a group modeled on classic superhero comics but representing the ways that vigilantism and consolidated power can go wrong, is a good example of this trend.

So take a look at this list, decide who your favorite comic book superheroes are, and vote them up.
  • 111 ReRanks
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  1. 101
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    added by blackvulcan Roger Slifer, Keith Giffen

  2. 102
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    added by IvanBarba Otto Binder, C. C. Beck

  3. 103
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    ranked low on reranks

  4. 104
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    Archie Goodwin, Marie Severin, Sal Buscema

  5. 105
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    added by IvanBarba Jack Kirby, Stan Lee

  6. 106
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Steve Ditko

  7. 107
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    added by blackvulcan Karl Kesel, Tom Grummett

  8. 108
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    Joss Whedon

  9. 109
    Up 69
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    added by IvanBarba Doug Mahnke, Judd Winick, Gerry Conway

  10. 110
    Up 51
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    added by AlanDeanNaldrett Jerry Siegel

  11. 111
    Up 98
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    added by blackvulcan Jim Lee, John Byrne, Whilce Portacio

  12. 112
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    added by Logan2011 Art Adams, Ann Nocenti, Marc Silvestri

  13. 113
    Up 43
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    added by IvanBarba Gardner Fox, Gil Kane

  14. 114
    Up 57
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    added by dreamcatcher088 Jack Kirby, Stan Lee

  15. 115
    Up 31
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    added by IvanBarba Gerry Conway, Al Milgrom

  16. 116
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    added by jonny33333

  17. 117
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    Paul Gustavson

  18. 118
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    added by IvanBarba blue lantern

  19. 119
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    Chris Claremont, Herb Trimpe

  20. 120
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    added by blackvulcan Gardner Fox, Dick Dillin

  21. 121
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    Down 307

    added by BrandonAdams Len Wein, Bernie Wrightson

  22. 122
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    added by blackvulcan Carmine Infantino, Arnold Drake

  23. 124
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    Jeph Loeb, Ed McGuinness

  24. 125
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    ranked low on reranks

  25. 126
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Steve Gerber, Val Mayerik

  26. 127
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    Frank Miller

  27. 128
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    often listed & added by IvanBarba Steve Ditko, Pat Broderick, Cary Bates

  28. 129
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    ranked low on reranks & added by IvanBarba Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Brian Michael Bendis

  29. 130
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    added by dreamcatcher088 Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum

  30. 131
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    added by IvanBarba Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

  31. 133 +

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