Watchworthy

The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated May 7, 2020 1.8M votes 120.9k voters 1M views 311 items

List Rules Only superhero protagonist characters from comics. No villains or superhero teams (of course there is often a fine line between hero and villain).

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.") If you love these superheroes, you'll also be interested to know that a few of them have really lame origin stories.

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 - at times even while maintaining day jobs. 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.  Some superheroes also have disabilities that counteract their skills, weapons or unique talents. 

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. So take a look at this list, decide who your favorite comic book superheroes are, and vote them up. We have your top 50 superheroes, your top 100 superheroes of all time… we don’t quite have your top 200 comic book characters of all time simply because this list is just for the best superheroes ever. We didn’t include the super villains on this top comic book characters list. Who are the top comic book heroes? Who is the best superhero? Let’s put these question to rest of who is the best super heroes to rest.

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
Spider-Man is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
Precognition, Healing factor, Superhuman speed
Spider-Man is a fictional superhero created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko. He first appeared in the anthology comic book Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962) in the Silver ...more

More Spider-Man 

28 Funny Spider-Man Memes Good Enough For The Daily Bugle #18 of 3,533 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time #46 of 140 The Most Hardcore Big Screen Action Heroes

2
Batman is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
blackvulcan added Flight, Martial arts, Eidetic memory
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, ...more

More Batman 

#5 of 3,533 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time #5 of 140 The Most Hardcore Big Screen Action Heroes #1 of 182 The 100+ Best DC Comics Heroes of All Time, According to Fans

3
Deadpool is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
JesusPerez added Martial arts, Healing factor, Immortality
Deadpool is a fictional antihero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Fabian Nicieza and artist Rob Liefeld, the character first appeared in The New ...more

More Deadpool 

25 Things You Didn't Know About Deadpool #244 of 3,533 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time #18 of 140 The Most Hardcore Big Screen Action Heroes

4
Thor is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
Flight, Superhuman strength
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 ...more

More Thor 

There's Already A Future Where Thor Rules The Earth, But It's Much Less Awesome Than It Sounds #46 of 3,533 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time #19 of 140 The Most Hardcore Big Screen Action Heroes

5
Iron Man is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
Flight, Hand-to-hand combat, Superhuman strength
Iron Man is a fictional superhero appearing in comic books and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A wealthy American business magnate, playboy, and ingenious scientist, Anthony Edward ...more

More Iron Man 

20 Fun Facts About the Iron Man Movies #27 of 3,533 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time #12 of 140 The Most Hardcore Big Screen Action Heroes

6
Wolverine is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
Healing factor, Regeneration
Logan is a fictional character from the X-Men series. He is a mutant who possesses animal-keen senses, enhanced physical capabilities, powerful regenerative ability known as a healing factor, ...more

More Wolverine 

The Most Messed Up Things That Have Happened To Wolverine In The Comics #9 of 3,533 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time #1 of 140 The Most Hardcore Big Screen Action Heroes

7
Captain America is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
Martial arts, Hand-to-hand combat
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 ...more

More Captain America 

#30 of 3,533 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time #20 of 140 The Most Hardcore Big Screen Action Heroes #4 of 186 The Best Characters In The Marvel Cinematic Universe

8
Doctor Strange is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
Arthur Williams added Flight, Magic in Harry Potter, Martial arts
Doctor Stephen Vincent Strange, best known under his alias Doctor Strange, is a fictional superhero that appears in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. A former neurosurgeon, ...more

More Doctor Strange 

21 Things You Should Know About Doctor Strange Doctor Strange's Silliest Catch Phrases & Spells #430 of 3,533 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time

9
Flash is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
Flight, Superhuman speed
The Flash is a fictional superhero who appears in American comic books published by DC Comics. Created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Harry Lampert, the original Flash first appeared in Flash ...more

More Flash 

#4 of 182 The 100+ Best DC Comics Heroes of All Time, According to Fans #19 of 31 The Best Superhero Evolution on Film #6 of 29 The Best Comic Characters To Have On Your Apocalypse Team

10
Black Panther is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
Black Panther is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Jack Kirby, first ...more

More Black Panther 

21 Things You Should Know About Marvel's Black Panther The Best Villains Black Panther Has Ever Faced #1,139 of 3,533 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time

11
Hulk is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
Shapeshifting, Healing factor, Superhuman speed
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. ...more

More Hulk 

How The Hulk Became Immortal And Angered The Deepest Levels Of Hell #79 of 3,533 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time #33 of 140 The Most Hardcore Big Screen Action Heroes

12
Wonder Woman is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
Flight, Regeneration, Superhuman speed
Wonder Woman is a fictional superhero who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character is a warrior princess of the Amazons and is known in her homeland as Princess Diana of ...more

More Wonder Woman 

#4 of 1,033 The Greatest Female TV Characters of All Time #173 of 3,533 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time #2 of 182 The 100+ Best DC Comics Heroes of All Time, According to Fans

13
Venom is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
Shapeshifting, Healing factor, Superhuman speed
Venom, or the Venom Symbiote, is a fictional antihero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, commonly in association with Spider-Man. Venom was originally a supervillain ...more

More Venom 

The Real Origin Story Of The Venom Symbiote Is Much More Complicated Than You Think Everyone Who Has Ever Worn The Venom Symbiote, Ranked By How Intimidating They Are #1,254 of 3,533 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time

14
Superman is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
Flight, Healing factor, Eidetic memory
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 ...more

More Superman 

#61 of 3,533 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time #39 of 140 The Most Hardcore Big Screen Action Heroes #37 of 87 The Best Batman Villains Ever

15
Punisher is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
RatedMMA added
The Punisher (Francis "Frank" Castle, born Castiglione) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer Gerry ...more

More Punisher 

The Best Punisher Storylines To Get To Know Frank Castle #485 of 3,533 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time #27 of 140 The Most Hardcore Big Screen Action Heroes

16
Nightwing is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
Nightwing is a fictional character in the 2010 animated action thriller film Batman: Under the Red Hood.

More Nightwing 

Why Dick Grayson Is Better Than Batman #11 of 92 The Best Members of the Justice League and JLA #4 of 25 Which Street-Level Superhero Would Win In An All-Out Bare Knuckle Street Fight?

17
Black Widow is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
Natalia Alianovna Romanova is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by editor and plotter Stan Lee, scripter Don Rico, and artist Don Heck, ...more

More Black Widow 

The Best Black Widow Villains #114 of 3,533 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time #8 of 186 The Best Characters In The Marvel Cinematic Universe

18
Groot is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
Bellwoodbomb611 added
Groot is a fictional superhero that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Dick Ayers, the character first appeared in Tales to Astonish #13. An ...more

More Groot 

The Comic Book Backstory Behind How Groot Went From Tree Monster To Guardian Of The Galaxy #76 of 3,533 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time #10 of 186 The Best Characters In The Marvel Cinematic Universe

19
Star-Lord is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
DouglasMckeever added
Star-Lord is a fictional superhero appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Steve Englehart and Steve Gan, the character first appeared in Marvel Preview #4. The son of a ...more

More Star-Lord 

Horrifying And Weird Aspects Of Star-Lord's Comic Book Backstory Star-Lord Was A Villain Long Before His Defining Moment In 'Infinity War' #49 of 3,533 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time

20
Scarlet Witch is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
Reality warping
Wanda Maximoff is a fictional character, whose code name is Scarlet Witch, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

More Scarlet Witch 

The Bizarre History Of Scarlet Witch And Vision's Children, Explained The Best Storylines Featuring Scarlet Witch #250 of 3,533 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time

21
Silver Surfer is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
Flight
The Silver Surfer is a fictional superhero appearing in comic books and other publications produced by Marvel Comics. The character also appears in a number of movies, television, and video game ...more

More Silver Surfer 

#9 of 108 Comic Book Characters We Want to See on Film #13 of 125 The Best Comic Book Characters Created by Stan Lee #7 of 27 Everyone Who Has Wielded Mjolnir In Marvel Comics

22
Ghost Rider is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
Superhuman strength
Ghost Rider is a fictional superhero that appears in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Johnny Blaze is the second Marvel character to use the name Ghost Rider, following the ...more

More Ghost Rider 

#685 of 3,533 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time #21 of 45 The Greatest Ghost Characters of All Time

23
Rocket Raccoon is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
Rocket Raccoon is a fictional superhero who appears in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Bill Mantlo and artist Keith Giffen, the character first appeared in ...more

More Rocket Raccoon 

#168 of 3,533 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time #9 of 186 The Best Characters In The Marvel Cinematic Universe #271 of 1,429 The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

24
Aquaman is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
Telepathy, Healing factor, Superhuman speed
Aquaman is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger, the character debuted in More Fun Comics #73. Initially a ...more

More Aquaman 

It's Time To Stop Making Fun Of Aquaman Aquaman's All Time Most Notorious Villains #9 of 182 The 100+ Best DC Comics Heroes of All Time, According to Fans

25
Jean Grey is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time
Extrasensory perception, Flight, Psychokinesis
Jean Grey, or Jean Grey-Summers, is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics and is a founding member of the X-Men. Jean Grey has been known under the ...more

More Jean Grey 

Just How Many Times Has Jean Grey Died And Come Back To Life, Anyway? #121 of 1,033 The Greatest Female TV Characters of All Time #466 of 3,533 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time