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We Ranked the Best and the Brightest of All the Superheroes


Michael Keaton as Batman in 1989's Batman.


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Listen, I get that you’re new here. From what I understand, you transferred out of Anime High because you couldn’t sit with the most popular anime boys and girls of all time. But why did you think Superhero High would be any different? You’re NOT one of the popular superheroes. I don’t even think you’re super at all! HOW DID YOU EVEN GET IN HERE? DID YOU BREAK INTO SCHOOL GROUNDS? HOW DID NO ONE NOTICE?

Okay, maybe your superpower is that you’re so unpopular you’re basically invisible. Cool. Whatever. Why don’t you go and sit with the other invisible kids. They’re around here somewhere—I think? That could be them over there. Or maybe that table is just empty? Idk. Go sit down. If you sit in Captain Invisible’s, it’ll probably be the most action he’s had all year.

You’re still HERE? Okay, listen. If I introduce to the popular heroes you will you PROMISE to leave?


Okay fine. Let’s go.

10. Iron Man

Iron Man in Captain America: Civil War.
(Marvel Entertainment)

Okay, see the guy whose lunch box is feeding him with mechanical arms? That’s Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man. He’s what we call “new popular.” He wasn’t really all that cool when he first hit the scene. I mean, don’t get me wrong. He was still pretty popular. There was like … a Black Sabbath song about him I think? Idk some Dad music. But he got SUPER popular when he was played by Robert Downey Jr. in 2008. And it’s all been uphill from there.

9. Thor

Chris Hemsworth wonders who Thor really is in the trailer for 'Thor: Love and Thunder'
(Marvel Entertainment)

Thor is also what we call “new popular.” He wasn’t really all that back when his first comics started. Tbh I thought he looked like kind of a dork with the winged helmet. He debuted in Journey Into Mystery #83 all the way back in the 1960s. But it wasn’t till the Avengers movies took off that he saw his popularity soar. The first Thor movie was okay, but he didn’t hit home with fans. But then the people at Marvel had the bright idea to make him comic relief in movies like Thor: Ragnorok and the fans went wild. And who wouldn’t go wild over Chris Hemsworth, am I right?

8. The Incredible Hulk

Bruce Banner as Professor Hulk in Endgame
(Marvel Entertainment)

Okay so the Incredible Hulk was always cool, but a lot of people didn’t give him the time of day because his mild-mannered Bruce Banner persona wasn’t as cool as, say Bruce Wayne. I mean Bruce Banner is kind of a nerd, and nerds weren’t really in for a while. Now nerds are so in; basically everyone on Earth is a nerd in some fandom right now. Just wasn’t the case back then. But what’s not to love about a guy who turns huge and green and smashes things when he gets mad? I wish I could do that.

7. Wolverine

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in X2
(20th Century Fox)

Wolverine was also always cool, but again, he didn’t get MEGA cool until he a Hollywood makeover. The original Wolverine is kinda ugly. He’s short, stocky, hairy, and looks like he got punched in the face one too many times. He’s not exactly movie-star quality. Then some genius of a casting director decided that Hugh Jackman would be a perfect fit and the rest was history. Besides, he’s got KNIVES IN HIS HANDS. So cool. Yeah he’s cutting up his sandwich with them. Wouldn’t you?

5. Wonder Woman

Diana Prince in Justice League
(Warner Bros.)

You see that woman with the rippling biceps? That’s Wonder Woman. She’s in the big leagues. She’s been popular forever, and is arguably the most popular female superhero of all time. She’s got it all: brains, beauty, and a hero’s heart. Ugh. I just wanna be her. She grew up in a community of Amazonian warrior women, and is the strongest of them all. She was always a heavy hitter on the popularity front, but her popularity shot up even further now that she’s played by the incredible Gal Godot in the movies.

6. Captain America

Steve Rogers meme
(Marvel Entertainment)

To be honest, America is kind of a scary place to be right now, but Captain America makes it just a little bit brighter. He was a symbol of American strength and resilience since the 1940s. He has his roots in antifascism, and he was pictured punching Hitler in his debut comic in 1941. He represents all of the best parts of American ideals: courage, optimism, and tolerance of all cultures and beliefs (except for fascism). It also helps that he was played by that hottie Chris Evans and now second hottie Anthony Mackie. Definitely a popularity booster.

4. Black Panther

chadwick boseman
(Matt Kennedy / Marvel Studios)

WAKANADA FOREVER! Omg sorry I just get really excited whenever I talk about Black Panther. I’m a big fan. His popularity EXPLODED back in 2018 with the release of the first Black Panther film. It was the first Marvel film with a Black director and a predominately Black cast, and was also the first superhero film nominated for Best Picture. Needless to say, it’s a serious touchstone in pop culture. T’Challa was played by the late, great actor Chadwick Boseman. A modern cinema legend.

3. Superman

George Reeves in Adventures of Superman
(Warner Bros.)

You see those three dudes in the middle of the table? Those are the Big Three. The most popular superheroes of all time. And you see that guy in the red cape who also looks suspiciously similar to a certain mild-mannered journalist at the Daily Planet? Yeah, that’s Superman. He was one of the first superheroes ever conceived. He also has antifascist roots. He was created by two Jewish illustrators named Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1938 to beat the shit out of Nazis, and his name, Kal-El, is a Hebrew phrase meaning “God is in everything.” This guy didn’t need Hollywood to make him popular, he had been a legend for DECADES.

2. Batman

Christian Bale, flocked by bats, in Batman Begins.
(Warner Bros)

See that guy in the dark cape next to Superman? He’s vengeance. He’s the night. He’s totally NOT a billionaire playboy named Bruce Wayne. What gave you that idea? Batman was created by Bob Kane in 1939, and since then he’s aged like the fine wine in Bruce Wayne’s mansion. But again, he’s totally not Bruce Wayne. Batman has it all. He’s got the dark past, the utility belt full of gizmos, and the mind of a master detective, and the body of a black-belt martial artist. He also didn’t need help from Hollywood, but one could argue that The Dark Knight is the greatest superhero movie of all time. Bruce Wayne is even in it! And yes, it is totally a coincidence that he and Batman are never in a scene together.

1. Spider-Man

Spider-Man hanging from a highway sign.
(Marvel Entertainment)

Okay, see the cute kid sitting in between Batman and Superman? The kid who caught that redhead and her lunch tray when she tripped earlier? That’s the most popular superhero of all time: Spider-Man. There have been a few Spider-Mans (a whole Spider-verse of them, actually) but the first and most famous is Peter Parker. He was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1962, and has gone on to sell BILLIONS of dollars worth of comics and movies. Peter Parker is unstoppable, probably because he’s so charming! What’s not to love about a loud-mouthed kid from Queens? I know I love him. I pass notes to him in class all the time. He stopped opening them, but I know if I keep trying he’ll dump that ginger and take me to prom.

(featured image: Warner Bros.)

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Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels in crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.

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