The Best Comic Book Superheroes of All Time Fictional Characters
Ultimate List
140  items 177,322 votes 10,266 voters 153,655 views more info

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.
  • 117 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
The List
rerank list
  1. 101
    Up 145
    Down 201

    added by blackvulcan Gardner Fox, James Robinson, David S. Goyer

  2. 102
    Up 218
    Down 380

    added by IvanBarba Steve Gerber, Gardner Fox, James Robinson

  3. 103
    Up 34
    Down 29

    Marv Wolfman, Keith Pollard

  4. 104
    Up 27
    Down 27

    Hasbro, Tomy, John Romita, Sr.

  5. 105
    Up 73
    Down 103

    added by blackvulcan Roger Slifer, Keith Giffen

  6. 106
    Up 227
    Down 411

    added by Logan2011 Art Adams, Ann Nocenti, Marc Silvestri

  7. 107
    Up 113
    Down 146

    added by IvanBarba Otto Binder, C. C. Beck

  8. 108
    Up 204
    Down 457

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Steve Ditko

  9. 109
    Up 16
    Down 26

    added by Sakura928 Dan Jurgens DC Universe

  10. 110
    Up 122
    Down 183

    added by blackvulcan Jim Lee, John Byrne, Whilce Portacio

  11. 111
    Up 61
    Down 113

    added by IvanBarba Gardner Fox, Gil Kane

  12. 112
    Up 64
    Down 106

    added by IvanBarba John Broome, Gil Kane

  13. 113
    Up 85
    Down 104

    Paul Gustavson

  14. 114
    Up 79
    Down 125

    added by dreamcatcher088 Jack Kirby, Stan Lee

  15. 115
    Up 89
    Down 127

    added by IvanBarba Doug Mahnke, Judd Winick, Gerry Conway

  16. 116
    Up 31
    Down 8

    new! Stan Lee, Don Heck, Don Rico

  17. 117
    Up 67
    Down 140

    added by AlanDeanNaldrett Jerry Siegel

  18. 118
    Up 79
    Down 119

    added by blackvulcan Karl Kesel, Tom Grummett

  19. 119
    Up 99
    Down 167

    added by jonny33333

  20. 120
    Up 32
    Down 7

    new! Todd McFarlane, David Michelinie, Mike Zeck

  21. 121
    Up 63
    Down 122

    Joss Whedon

  22. 122
    Up 48
    Down 96

    added by IvanBarba Gerry Conway, Al Milgrom

  23. 123
    Up 77
    Down 166

    Chris Claremont, Herb Trimpe

  24. 124
    Up 165
    Down 341

    added by BrandonAdams Len Wein, Bernie Wrightson

  25. 125
    Up 62
    Down 129

    added by IvanBarba blue lantern

  26. 126
    Up 76
    Down 121

    Jeph Loeb, Ed McGuinness

  27. 127
    Up 58
    Down 149

    often listed & added by blackvulcan Gardner Fox, Dick Dillin

  28. 129
    Up 18
    Down 35

    Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Larry Lieber

  29. 130
    Up 64
    Down 169

    often listed & added by blackvulcan Carmine Infantino, Arnold Drake

  30. 131
    Up 174
    Down 478

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

  31. 132
    Up 18
    Down 18

    new! Nintendo

  32. 133
    Up 18
    Down 14

    new! Jack Kirby, Stan Lee

  33. 134
    Up 62
    Down 103

  34. 135
    Up 143
    Down 354

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

  35. 136
    Up 55
    Down 128

    added by dreamcatcher088 Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum

  36. 137
    Up 114
    Down 165

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

  37. 138
    Up 44
    Down 131

    Frank Miller

  38. 139
    Up 59
    Down 110

    added by IvanBarba Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

141 +

Something missing? Add it!

think you can do better?

Rerank This List

got a blog or website?

embed this list

viewers of this list also saw...

more popular lists