One doesn't have to be a bad person to be a narcissist. According to Psychology Today, narcissists are characterized by one (or more) of three things: a grandiose sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy for others, or a need for excessive admiration. It turns out that a lot of superheroes fit that bill.
Ignoring some of the obvious examples - like Batman, who just has to be the guy who stops all of the crime in Gotham City, or Deadpool, whose entire schtick revolves around being a meta-narcissist - there definitely are some famous superheroes who meet the textbook definition of narcissism. Whether they're know-it-alls, like Tony Stark or Reed Richards, or convinced that they alone can put evildoers in their place, à la Superman or Spider-Man, the Marvel and DC universes are full of examples of narcissists.
Carol Danvers's Captain Marvel has become a pretty big deal in Marvel Comics over the past decade - not to mention general popular culture at large, what with her MCU film doing gangbusters upon its release in 2019. With a powerset that rivals any other Marvel hero (and seemingly on par with the gold standard, DC's Superman), it's easy to see why her popularity has surged in the new millenium.
But no one seems more obsessed with how great Captain Marvel can be than Danvers herself. When the Scarlet Witch altered all of reality during the 2005 House of M crossover miniseries, seemingly giving many superheroes their deepest desires, Danvers became the world's most popular and beloved superhero. Her obsession over belief that she can be the driving force for good in the world is partly what fueled the controversial and poorly reviewed 2016 series Civil War II. It likely takes a bit of narcissism to become great, but how much is too much?39455Secret narcissist?
Peter Quill's Star-Lord certainly that "young Han Solo" energy, which Chris Pratt brings to life in the MCU films. Quill seems to think he knows what's best at all times. While he's undoubtedly a hero, good luck keeping his ego in check.
During Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's 2008 Guardians of the Galaxy comics reboot, Quill has Mantis mentally persuade the rest of the Guardians team into joining because he doesn't want to waste his time convincing them. Kind of a jerk move. Right before he's dispatched by Gamora in 2018's Infinity Wars, Quill defiantly boasts, "You're not going to kill me." Yes, he is saved by Doctor Strange in the next issue, but that's besides the point: he's arrogant to the point of disaster.33748Secret narcissist?
We all know Tony Stark; he headlined the most successful film franchise of all time, after all. It will come as no great surprise that this self-proclaimed "genius billionaire playboy philanthropist" is a bit of a narcissist.
But in addition to being one of the richest and most famous people on the planet, he has also been a member of Marvel's secret group of influential superpeoples known as the Illuminati, who task themselves with solving the greatest threats to Earth's survival. He tried to drag the rest of the superhero world, kicking and screaming, into government regulation in the pages of 2006's Civil War. Stark is the man who thought he could fight off mortality by creating a digital archive of his personality. There is no upper limit on the ego of this guy.454114Secret narcissist?
- Photo: DC Comics
More of a magical anti-hero than a traditional superhero, the foul-mouthed, cigarette-wielding Englishman is the kind of guy who will do whatever it takes to save his own skin.
Over the years, the Hellblazer has figured his way out of impossible situations that seemingly reinforce his narcissistic nature. Constantine has managed to blackmail demons into doing his bidding, has survived innumerable occult mishaps, and has even managed to cure himself from cancer. When the rules of life and mortality don't apply to you, how could you become anything but a narcissist?25050Secret narcissist?