A superhero is a type of stock character dedicated to protecting the public. Since the debut of the prototypical superhero Superman in 1938, stories of superheroes — ranging from brief episodic adventures to continuing years-long sagas — have dominated comic books and crossed over into other media. The word itself dates to at least 1917.
The Punisher is a vigilante who employs murder, kidnapping, extortion, coercion, threats of violence, and torture in his war on crime. Driven by the deaths of his wife and two kids, who were killed by the mob when they witnessed a gangland execution in New York City’s Central Park, the Punisher wages a one-man war on the mob and all criminals in general by using all manner of conventional war weaponry. His family’s killers were the first to be slain. A war veteran, Castle is a master of martial arts, stealth tactics, guerrilla warfare, and a wide variety of weapons.
Each Green Lantern possesses a power ring and power lantern that gives the user great control over the physical world as long as the wielder has sufficient willpower and strength to wield it. The ring is one of the most powerful weapons in the universe, and can be very dangerous. Ferris Aircraft test pilot Hal Jordan is chosen by the ring and transported to the crash site, where Abin Sur appoints him a Green Lantern, by telling him to take the lantern and speak the oath.
One of the most famous characters in classic mythology is also one of the most famous superheroes. Like all Asgardians, Thor is not truly immortal but relies upon periodic consumption of the Golden Apples of Idunn to sustain his extended lifespan, which to date has lasted many millennia.
Wolverine was typical of the many tough anti-authority antiheroes that emerged in American popular culture after the Vietnam War; his willingness to use deadly force and his brooding nature became standard characteristics for comic book anti-heroes by the end of the 1980s. As a result, the character became the clear favorite for fans of the increasingly popular X-Men franchise. Wolverine has been featured in his own solo comic since 1988 and has been a central character in most X-Men adaptations, including animated television series, video games, and the live action 20th Century Fox X-Men film series, in which he is portrayed by Hugh Jackman. In May 2008, Wolverine was ranked #1 out of Wizard magazine’s “Top 200 Comic Book Characters of All Time” and was ranked #4 of “The 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters” by Empire magazine in July 2008.
Over the years, an estimated 210 million copies of “Captain America” comic books have been sold in a total of 75 countries. For nearly all of the character’s publication history, Captain America was the alter ego of Steve Rogers, a frail young man who was enhanced to the peak of human perfection by an experimental serum in order to aid the United States war effort. Captain America wears a costume that bears an American flag motif, and is armed with an indestructible shield that can be thrown as a weapon. An intentionally patriotic creation who was often depicted fighting the Axis powers of World War II, Captain America was Timely Comics’ most popular character during the wartime period. After the war ended, the character’s popularity waned and he disappeared by the 1950s aside from an ill-fated revival in 1953.
Anyone who has ever felt rage at the world around him can identify with Hulk. This hero transplants the famous Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde dynamic straight into the Marvel Universe. Dr. Bruce Banner is a brilliant but deeply disturbed man who hails from a childhood of abuse. All that inner torment was given physical shape when a gamma bomb transformed Banner into the Incredible Hulk. Banner has spent years on the run with villains both human and monstrous attempting to bring him in. What they always tend to forget, though, is that Hulk is the strongest one there is. And luckily for the ordinary citizens of the Marvel U., his heroic streak remains no matter what form he takes.
4. Iron Man
A billionaire playboy, industrialist and ingenious engineer, Stark suffers a severe chest injury during a kidnapping in which his captors attempt to force him to build a weapon of mass destruction. He instead creates a powered suit of armor to save his life and escape captivity. He later uses the suit to protect the world as Iron Man. Through his multinational corporation ― Stark Industries ― Tony has created many military weapons, some of which, along with other technological devices of his making, have been integrated into his suit, helping him fight crime. Initially, Iron Man was a vehicle for Stan Lee to explore Cold War themes, particularly the role of American technology and business in the fight against communism. Subsequent re-imaginings of Iron Man have transitioned from Cold War themes to contemporary concerns, such as corporate crime and terrorism.
Spider-Man has become one of the most recognizable fictional characters in the world, and has been used to sell toys, games, cereal, candy, soap, and many other products. Spider-Man has become Marvel’s flagship character, and has often been used as the company mascot. When Marvel became the first comic book company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1991, the Wall Street Journal announced “Spider-Man is coming to Wall Street”; the event was in turn promoted with an actor in a Spider-Man costume accompanying Stan Lee to the Stock Exchange. Since 1962, hundreds of millions of comics featuring the character have been sold around the world.Spider-Man joined the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from 1987 to 1998 as one of the balloon floats, designed by John Romita Sr., one of the character’s signature artists. A new, different Spider-Man balloon float is scheduled to appear from at least 2009 to 2011.
Batman has become a pop culture icon, recognized around the world. The character’s presence has extended beyond his comic book origins; events such as the release of the 1989 Batman film and its accompanying merchandising “brought the Batman to the forefront of public consciousness.” In an article commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of the character, The Guardian wrote, “Batman is a figure blurred by the endless reinvention that is modern mass culture. He is at once an icon and a commodity: the perfect cultural artifact for the 21st century.” In addition, media outlets have often used the character in trivial and comprehensive surveys — Forbes magazine estimated Bruce Wayne to be the 9th-richest fictional character with his $5.8 billion fortune, several places after Iron Man, who is at 6. Business Week listed the character as one of the ten most intelligent superheroes appearing in American comics. Entertainment Weekly named Batman as one of The 20 All Time Coolest Heroes in Pop Culture.
Superman has come to be seen as both an American cultural icon and the first comic book superhero. His adventures and popularity have established the character as an inspiring force within the public eye, with the character serving as inspiration for musicians, comedians and writers alike. Kryptonite, Brainiac and Bizarro have become synonymous in popular vernacular with Achilles’ heel, extreme intelligence and reversed logic respectively. Similarly, the phrase “I’m not Superman” or alternatively “you’re not Superman” is an idiom used to suggest a lack of invincibility.