1. Superman– Superman, widely considered an embodiment of American culture, is a superhero character, envisioned by American writer,Jerry Siegel and Canadian-born American Artist, Joe Shuster in 1932. Iconized with an “S” in a shield, the character was first published by Action Comics in June 1938. He is arguably the best creation in the Superhero Comics genre. He has been portrayed as the Messiah and a beacon of hope in times of Despair.
Rocketed to Earth from his dying planet of Krypton, Superman was raised in Smallville, Kansas with small town American ideals. Brought up by the loving Jonathan and Martha Kent, Kal-El was given the name Clark Kent and was taught to use his powers to better humanity. After adopting Metropolis as his home in his adult years, Clark would save the city – let alone the world – time and time again. Superman’s famous arsenal of powers has included flight, super-strength, invulnerability to non-magical attacks, super-speed, vision powers (including x-ray, heat-emitting, telescopic, infra-red, and microscopic vision), super-hearing, and super-breath, which enables him to blow out air at freezing temperatures, as well as exert the propulsive force of high-speed winds. Superman has since appeared in various radio serials, television programs, Cartoonscape, films, newspaper strips, and video games. Superman was played by George Reeves on the Television Program and by Christopher Reeves in the Movies.
Superman has fascinated scholars, with cultural theorists, commentators, and critics alike exploring the character’s impact and role in the United States and the rest of the world. It has infact intrigued Scientists to search for existence of materials similar to kryptonite, A Mysterious Mineral subjected to which Superman’s Powers would be nullified.
2. Batman- The only earthling amongst the superheroes and without any unnatural powers, Batman is the Greatest Detective and the best illustrated Comic Character ever Detective Comics (DC). Conceptualised by Bob Keane and Illustrated by Bill Finger, Batman debuted in 1939. Batman’s secret identityis Bruce Wayne, an American Billionaire, playboy, industrialist and philanthropist. Having witnessed the murder of his parents as a child, he swore revenge on crime, an oath tempered with the greater ideal of justice. Wayne trains himself both physically and intellectually and dons a bat-themed costume in order to fight crime. Batman operates in the fictional American Gotham City, assisted by various supporting characters including his crime-fighting partner, Robin, his butler Alfred Pennyworth, the police commissioner Jim Gordon, and occasionally the heroine Batgirl. He fights an assortment of villains such as the Joker, Penguin, the Riddler, Two-Face, Poison Ivy and Catwoman. His abilities include, high Human Strength, athleticism, skilled hand to hand Combat, Use of high tech equipment, gadgets and weapons, batmobile, stealthlike agility,master strategist and an indomitable spirit and courage.
Batman was illustrated as a comic strip and later made into television series. He was later depicted in Tim Burton and Noel Schumacher’s movie series, batman, Batman Returns, Batman and Robin. Batman has been immortalised in the modern day by Christopher Nolan in his movie trilogy with Christian Bale as Batman/ Bruce Wayne. The Trilogy ends with The Dark Knight Rises expected in 2012. The second movie “the Dark Knight” had grossed over a billion dollars and the 10th biggest grosser ever.
3. Spiderman- A perfect embodiment of a natural off the street school boy and an accidentalmutant, Spidermanidentifies with the present day teenager. He has his share of miseries, girl problems, making ends meet, getting through school and other day to day activities, compounded with his mutant prowess, arising out of radioactive spider bite, and thereby a sense of responsibility to save the world from its villains.
Spiderman is a Creation of Marvel Comics Editor and Head writer, Stan Lee. Illustrated by Steve Ditco, Spiderman first appeared in “Amazing Fantasy”, a publication of Marvel Comics as “the Amazing Spiderman” in August, 1962. The character went on to be a highly commercial success and then it began to be sold independently as “the Amazing Spiderman”
Peter Parker, a.k.a, Spiderman’s weapons are, a strong web emerging out of his wrist which also doubles up to allow him to cling to any surface, accelerated healing abilities, pre-cognitive spider sense, super human strength, agility and reflexes, Genius level intellect and a master hand to hand combatant. His character is unique amongst all superheroes since it is at his fault that his fellow mates suffer and what follows is guilt and revenge. Referred as spidey, web head, web slinger and wall crawler in the series, Spiderman has appeared in many forms of media, including several animated and live-action television shows, syndicated newspaper comic strips, and a series of films.
The films are the latest forms of translation of this epic series and have enjoyed a heavy commercial success. Made into three movies till date under the direction of Sam Raimi and portrayed by Tobey Maguire, the fourth movie in the series featuring Andrew Garfield as Spider is on cards for a 2012 release. Spiderman 3 garnered 885 million and sits at 21stposition of all-time top grosser.
4. Wolverine- A mutant by birth and into the wild, Wolverine is the perhaps the most convoluted character amongst all the superheroes. He has animal like senses, enhanced physical capabilities, three retractable bone claws on each hand, strong healing capabilities, intellect of a spy, strength reflexes and age. Part man part animal, Wolverine lives with tattered memories of his past. He has been experimented upon by injecting admantium into his skeleton, played with memories and powers and traumatised during the entire process. Endless superhero adventures merely keep him focused on the present and not the past. Wolverine is ultimately a failed samurai at heart. He’ll keep wandering until he atones for his past mistakes, knowing full well that such a thing is impossible. He has his way, guzzling beer, wooing women and stabbing baddies, he is a pure raw deal and he does it the best.
Wolverine has had a lot of appearances both as an independent superhero and as a team, depicted in all the x-men and avenger series.Characterised by Len Wein,John Romita Sr.,Herb Trimpe, Wolverine debuted in “The incredible Hulk” by Marvel Comics in 1974. Wolverine has been depicted by Hugh Jackman in the X-men Movie series which has enjoyed a considerable commercial success.
5. Wonder Woman- A part of trinity, along with the Superman and Batman, Wonder women holds a significant charm among comic readers.Arguably the most popular and iconic female superhero in comics, Wonder Woman is also considered a feminist icon for not only female empowerment, but as a general ambassador for peace and love. She had also been a regular feature of the justice League.
Wonder Woman is a Princess of the Amazons,Known in her homeland as Diana of Themyscira, her powers include superhuman strength, flight, super-speed, super-stamina, and super-agility. She is highly proficient in hand-to-hand combat and in the art of tactical warfare. She also possesses an animal-like cunning and a natural rapport with animals, which has in the past been presented as an actual ability to communicate with the animal kingdom. She uses her Lasso of Truth, which forces those bound by it to tell the truth, a pair of indestructible bracelets, a tiara which serves as a projectile, and, in some stories, an invisible airplane.
Created by William Moulton Marston, also the developer of Polygraph truth test and illustrated by Harry G. Peter, Wonder woman first appeared in the “All Stars Comic” published by Detective Comics in December 1941. Wonder Woman was also made into an animated film in 2009. An attempt to make a movie series has also been made.
6. Captain America- Captain America is perhaps the most patriotic of superhero creations ever. The Most Respected man in the Marvel Universe of Superheroes, Captain America was also the most respected superhero amongst the readers of Marvel Comics. He is America’s first superhero in the sense that He wasn’t alien to the nation like the Superman. Captain America was special. He wasn’t born a god like Thor was, gifted fantastical abilities like Spider-man. He didn’t even have a super suit with gadgets like Iron Man. He had a shield, and the Super Serum coursing through his veins, but he was still a man (albeit the best a man could ever be). He was just a kid who wanted to stand up for his country and fight the goodfight. An experimental creation of the American Army under the project: Rebirth, Captain America had fought Hitler in the comics, a full 9 months before America was even led into the war.The symbol of America has long touched the hearts and minds of free people everywhere. Captain America stands for all that America should be; noble, strong, hard-working, just, and honest His later endeavours alongside the avengers as their leader see him fight national threats. He is infact the superhero who has had the most number of deaths and re-incarnations.
Created by Joe Simon and illustrated by Jack Kirby, and estimated of 210 million copies of Captain America have been sold in 75 Countries. Captain America has been developed into cinemascope as the recent hit, “Captain America- the Last Avenger” under the direction of Joe Johnston.
7. The Incredible Hulk- The burliest of all time superheroes, Hulk is basically an accident aftermath. The Hulk appears shortly after Dr.Bruce Banner, a reserved scientist, is accidentally exposed to the blast of a test detonation of a gamma bomb he invented. Subsequently, Banner involuntarily transforms into the Hulk, depicted as a giant, raging, humanoid monster, leading to extreme complications in Banner’s life. The original version of the Hulk was often shown as simple and quick to anger. His first transformations were triggered by sundown, and his return to Banner by dawn. However, in later versions, Banner started using a gamma-ray device to transform at will. In more recent Hulk stories, emotions trigger the change
He is an embodiment of sheer strength with the a few very few un-natural powers like long leaped runs, accelerated healing and under water breathing. 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
Apart from the comics, the character has since been depicted in various other media, most notably by Bill Bixby as Dr.David Banner and Lou Ferrigno as the Hulk in the live action television series, five made-for-television movies, and an animated series; through the use of CGI in Hulk (2003) and The Incredible Hulk (2008), as well as in three animated series and various video games. The Hulk is set to appear in the 2012 film The Avengers.
8. Ironman- A businessman cum superhero, Ironman is more a gadget superhero. Tony Stark as the alter ego of Ironmanis the owner of Stark Industries, a multinational corporation. Tony, an engineering Genius and a playboy, 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.
Tony stark is taken captive when on a business trip, and it is where he suffers serious chest injuries. He is saved by Dr.Ho-Yinsen, a Nobel Prize winner, by implanting a nuclear powered reactor core in him. He then along with Dr.Ho-Yinsen designs the suit to escape captivity. The location of captivity has changed over years, from Vietnam to Kuwait and in recent times to Afghanistan.
Created by the chiefs of Marvel comics, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and assisted by Larry Lieber and Don heck, Iron man first debuted in 1963. A gadget freak with a weird sense of humour, Iron man has appealed to all sections of readers of the Marvel Comics. Translated to cinemascope by Jon Farveau and portrayed by Robert Downey Jr., in two movies till date, the series enjoyed heavy commercial success. He will next be seen in Avengers in 2012 and iron man 3 expected in 2013.
9. Blade– A different breed of superhero, totally unique in evolution and existence, Blade is a Vampire Superhero bent on eliminating the bad vampires plaguing earth. He is infected to become a vampire when the doctor summoned to deliver him, turns out to be a vampire and feasts on his mother. He thus has all powers of Vampires without any weakness of them. He is trained by Jamal Afri, an old Vampire Hunter to become a vampire hunter par excellence. When Afri falls prey to a Dracula, he sets across Europe and Asia, tracking the Dracula. He is joined by a strong gang of vampire hunters who later succumb to the Dracula leaving Blade alone, who again sets on until he destroys it.
Blade debuted in Marvel Comics’ “The Tomb of Dracula” in 1973. Created by Mark Wolfman and Gene Colan, lade did not enjoy much of a commercial success as a comic strip character. The character went on to alternatively star and co-star in several comic book series as well as a film and television series. Portrayed by Wesley Snipes in the movie series- blade, blade 2 and blade trinity, the character achieved much critical acclaim and commercial success and thus makes it to this list.
10. Hellboy– It’s hard for a hero outside the realm of Marvel and DC to make an impact on the marketplace, but Hellboy makes it look easy. Created by Mark Mignola for Dark Horse Comics, this demonic monster hunter has thrilled us with his adventures since 1993.
A well-meaning demon whose true name is Anung Un Rama (the Beast of the Apocalypse), Hellboy was brought to Earth as an infant by Nazi occultists. He was discovered by the Allied Forces; amongst them, Professor Trevor Bruttenholm, who formed the United States Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD). In time Hellboy grew to be a large, red-skinned demon with a tail with the stump horns which he filed off, cloven hooves for feet, and an oversized right hand made of stone. Although a bit gruff, he shows none of the malevolence thought to be intrinsic to demons, and works with other strange creatures in the BPRD.
Hellboy fights for the BPRD, an international non-governmental agency, and himself against dark forces including Nazis and Baba Yaga, in a series of tales that have their roots in folklore, pulp magazines, vintage adventure, and horror fiction.
His abilities include super strength, extensive knowledge of the supernatural, right hand of stone, communicative ability with corpses and immortality.The comics were adapted into a 2004 film starring Ron Perlman, a 2008 film sequel, Hellboy II: The Golden Army with a decent commercial success and two straight-to-DVD animated films, Hellboy: Sword of Storms and Hellboy: Blood and Iron.
By, Shubham Wahal, New Delhi based research associate for CEOWORLD Magazine, enjoying the hobby of amateur Radio Jockeying.