Newest Review: ... the brains of the team and sometimes where's specs which reflect this. According to the comic, his mutation occurred pre-birth to his f... more
Not a red cape among them!
Top Five Superheroes
Member Name: Mauri
Top Five Superheroes
Date: 27/07/06, updated on 28/07/06 (501 review reads)
Advantages: They are superheores
Disadvantages: They don't exist...
So what is a superhero? Most people would give Superman or Spiderman as an example, fictional characters that perform incredible feats of courage using abilities that are beyond those of ordinary humans… a skintight gaudily coloured costume also helps. Usually but not always they appear in comic books but some were originally seen in books. However I think the Superhero label can be extended a little and rather than giving a list of the best known I’ll give you some of my favourite alternatives maybe less clearly identifiable superheroes and bear in mind my tongue might be very firmly in my cheek…
A character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs 1914 did not start in comic books but in a more literary adventure novel. Originally known as Tarzan of the Apes the character became hugely popular. A total of 23 sequels to the original story appeared in print and by the 1920’s Tarzan had become a newspaper strip illustrated by Hal Foster and later was taken up by Hollywood in a number of feature films. But wait I hear you cry how can Tarzan be a superhero he doesn’t have any special powers? Well I beg to differ he was raised by apes and learnt how to communicate with a variety of animals. He can easily best a lion or crocodile in hand to hand combat and can swing through he trees with most able of the apes. Is that not special enough? And of course he has his own particular costume the loincloth.
In the original stories Tarzan meaning (White-skin) was the English aristocrat John Clayton, Lord Greystoke. When his parents die in the jungle the young infant is raised by Kala his ape mother and becomes Lord of the Apes. Later he meets the beautiful Jane and with her he tries to make a life for himself in England but he becomes disillusioned with civilisation and eventually they return to Africa. Burroughs intended to write an adventure story set in Africa, which at the time was still a mysterious place to your average English reader. But a swell as providing entertainment I think the character is saying something about cultural attitudes to class and breeding. The idea of Darwinism was still contentious and setting the young infant to grow ups amongst apes and yet still retain his morality and sense of honour was a definite statement of nature over nurture.
Of course over the years the character has changed and in recent times the comic strip versions present a more recognisable superhero that thwarts evil criminals and protect the natural environment form scrupulous developers.
My next choice is also British
2. Dan Dare
I bet not many of you would have thought that a list of superheroes would contain any Brits!
Colonel Daniel MacGregor Dare was first seen in the British Comic the Eagle in 1950. He is an officer in the Interplanet Space Fleet and the best space pilot known. His special powers may seem very impressive but his highly resourceful nature and piloting skills seems to get him out of many a scrape and to achieve superhero status in saving the world on many occasions. However his true superheroes credentials are shown in a later incarnation in the 200AD comics of the 70’s and 80’s. In one story Dan Dare is left for dead in space and is rescued by the evil Mekon and alien being from Venus, needing Dare’s help to save his own life the Mekon trick the amnesiac Dare into helping him steal the Crystal of Life and then uses it to cure himself. Dare is now a fugitive but as his memories return he gains possession of the Cosmic Claw which gives him great destructive power and he begins to hunt down the Mekon in order to clear his name.
Dan Dare was originally a vestige of the second world-war fighter pilots updated to space and he embodies all the stiff upper lip British characteristics of those war heroes. In a time when Britain’s supremacy in the world was fading Dare was a reminder of what had once been great about the country; in the early episodes he even had a faithful batman (not the superhero) from Lancashire.
Next we have another superhero who against isn’t American, I’ve got nothing against American superheroes really…Although is real identity is unknown I will call Diabolik Italians because that ‘s where the comic strip was first produced. I first came across this character when I was growing up in Italy and I think the appeal is that the character is quite dark and not obviously moral. He is human and possesses no superhuman powers as such but he more than makes up for it with is super intelligence and general skills. He is a criminal mastermind, superfit and has a variety of high tech gadgets at his disposal. What makes him a super ‘hero’ rather than a super baddie is that he targets the criminal underworld ably assisted by his lover the beautiful Eva Kant. Of course life is never easy for a super hero and the police in the shape of Inspector Ginko constantly hunts Diabolik.
Diabolik first appeared in 1962 in a pocket sized comic book created unusually by two sisters Angela and Giuliana Giussani and drawn by Gino Marchesi the character was in part based on the French arch Criminal creation 'Fantomas'. The aspect of Diabolik that made him attractive to some but unpalatable to other is his lack of moral rectitude when dealing with his criminal elements. Extreme violence is meted out at regular intervals when needed.
There have been film adaptations of the stories but Hollywood has never been involved since Diabolik was always viewed as too ‘risky’ for American sensibilities.
Diabolik created in the 60’s was one of many fictional creation that arose in the more liberal climate that tended to blur the dividing lines between good and bad, not quite an Anti hero Diabolik was nevertheless a darker character and provided more interesting ambiguity of feelings in the way the reader related to him.
4. Captain Scarlet
Ok now for some I’m going to stretch the definition even further by including a puppet on this superhero list the indestructible Captain Scarlet.
Captain Scarlet real name Paul Metcalfe was the creation of Gerry Anderson also responsible for Thunderbirds. Captain Scarlet is an officer in Spectrum an international organisation operating out of airborne Cloudbase dedicated to protecting the Earth from alien attack.
In 2068 on a mission to Mars Captain Black mistakenly destroys a Mysteron base. The Mysterons declare a war on Earth and begin to infiltrate Earth’s forces and sabotage aimed at the industrial, security and military establishments on Earth. The Mysterons are able to take over humans and use them to do their work. Scarlet along with a fellow agent Captain Brown is killed by the Mysterons and replaced by a duplicate but when the duplicate falls from a tower the original personality of Scarlet regains control and becomes immune to alien control. He also is left with the duplicates powers the ability to detect Mysteron agents and the retro-metabolism that allows him to regenerate and heal if he is injured or killed thus the tag ‘indestructible’. With these new superpowers Scarlet becomes the best agent Spectrum posses and the safety of the earth against Mysteron plots largely depend on him.
The original puppet or Supermarionation series was recently updated successfully into a CGI TV series and Scarlet is still going strong. Scarlet is again of it’s time, the discovery of space and the moon landing where a very exciting preoccupation in the 60’s and then it was imagined that after the Moon mars would follow. What dangers would lurk there? The character was more complex than the Thunderbird brother in that Scarlet is actually recreated by the Mysterons the original scarlet being dead. The original TV series was also very 60’s in its look bright brash colours and psychedelic setting for the Mysteron gave the series cult status amongst children and adult. Captain Scarlet was a British Superhero of his time a James Bond for the space age generation and of course we can’t forget the ‘Angels’ surely the sexiest puppets on TV.
5. Flash Gordon
Ok so eventually I think we should include an American superhero…what about Flash Gordon?
Originally he featured in a comic strip and he along with his beautiful love interest the feisty female reporter Dale Gordon and the eccentric scientist Dr. Hans Zarkov fight to save the Earth from coming under control of the evil vicious tyrant Ming the Merciless from the planet Mongo.
Flash Dale and Zarkov make a journey to the planet Mongo in Zarkov’s new rocket there they are stranded on a planet with warring cultures but dominated by the evil Ming. Flash aids the suppressed peoples of the planet including the deposed rightful leader Prince Barin and fight to stop Ming and his forces.
This is all classic 1930’s space opera science fiction and Flash Gordon is the typical hero of the time more brawn than brains but greatly adaptable and resourceful in being able to adapt his talents to using what weapons he finds against the overwhelming forces of Ming.
The comic strip later spawned a number of novels, TV series, film (including a porno movie the wonderfully titled Flesh Gordon)!) and was also said to have inspired George Lucas to make the Star Wars films.
In the 80’s Flash makes an appearance along with his teenage son Rick in the classic Defenders of the Earth, where after Dale’s death at the hands of Ming, Flash joins forces with other superheroes The Phantom, Mandrake The Magician and Lothar to fight against Ming.
Flash doesn’t have special powers as such but his almost super human skills as an ace space fighter pilot and his resourceful nature and courage does make him a worthy superhero and of course he wear a colourful outfit.
So there you have it an alternative pick of top Superheroes, but Superheroes nonetheless!
Summary: An alternative list of the best superheores.