Love them or hate them, super heroes are iconic. There are very few things that nearly everyone all around the world would recognize you matter where you went and who you talked to, and you can’t deny it, super heroes are way up on that list. You can picture every one of these heroes in your head immediately upon reading their name, and I’ll bet you know over half of their secret identities too. That’s why they’re on this list.
9. The Hulk
Real name: Bruce Banner. This over-powered and over-sized green monster was created after scientist Bruce Banner (or David Banner if you watched the old television show) was bathed in high volumes or radioactive energy. When he gets angry he grows tall, strong, and green and just wants to be left alone or else, “Hulk smash!” He was popularized outside of the comics from an old television show and then more recently by two decent movies a few years apart.
8. Iron Man
Real name: Tony Stark. This super rich, super egotistical, creepy mustache-sporting alcoholic used his wealth and weapons engineering genius to create his own Iron man armor. It allows him flight, super strength, and an assortment of weapons not to be toyed with. He was popularized somewhat by a string of bad cartoons, but mostly by Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr’s current incarnation where Tony Stark is as charismatic as he is tough.
7. The Flash
Real name: That depends… There have been three men to don the Scarlet’s Speedster’s treads Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, and Wally West. Jay is the old school version; Barry the one who’s married to the love of his life, Iris, and Wally is the funny one. They’re super fast because they can tap into the mysterious Speed Force and that’s about all they need to fight crime in Central City. He has been popularized by many cartoon series over the years, and one decent television show in the 90’s.
Real name: James Howlett or just Logan. This Canadian mutant has a healing factor that allows his body to quickly heal from any damage inflicted, and I mean ANY. Wolverine has been broken, bludgeoned, shot, stabbed, burnt, and he has bounced back every time. That’s where he gets his name, that and the fact that he’s a little muscular guy who doesn’t take kindly to being called runt. Hugh Jackman has recently made Wolverine into a mainstream character, but for years he’s just been a cartoon and comic fan’s standout.
Real name: Pete Parker. This average New York high school nerd was bitten by a radioactive spider on a class field trip and woke up with all the powers of a spider. Super strength (I guess spiders have that), a spider sense, perfect reflexes, and depending on what you’re reading or watching the ability to organically make and shoot web from out of his wrists. Spiderman has had his share of popular cartoons, but he’s known mostly for his witty banter, and most recently his string of high grossing Hollywood box office smashes.
4. Wonder Woman
Real name: Diana. Wonder Woman is far and away the most iconic of all women super heroes ever, head and shoulders above most fo the rest of them too. She is an Amazonian princess from the all female island of Themyscira who has the power of the gods at her back making her one of the most formidable forces on the planet. She was popularized early on in the comics, in several cartoon shows, and then later in a Wonder Woman television show.
3. Captain America
Real name: Steve Rogers. Steve was an All-American kid who just wanted to aid the war effort in any way he could during WWII, and although he had the heart, he lacked the strength and strong body that was required by Uncle Sam. Notice was taken of this an he was injected with the Super Soldier Serum transforming him into the super strong weapon and figure head of our fighting force that the government needed. He has always stood as an American icon, and bet money that after his movie Captain American: The First Avenger he is going to blow up all over again this summer.
Real name: Clark Kent. This alien was sent by his parents from the dying planet of Krypton to Earth to be a force of good, and he has done that. He has stood as one of the most true, good, and American icons that this country has ever had. Farm fed and raised right Superman fights for truth, justice, and the American way. We all know all of that. He was popularized outside of the comics by tons of cartoons, movies, and merchandise. You name it, and I guarantee you can buy one with his trademark “S” on it. It would be impossible to go anywhere without someone knowing who Superman is and what he stands for.
Real name: Bruce Wayne. Bruce Wayne became the heir to the Wayne fortune after his billionaire parents were gunned down right in front of his eyes as a child on the streets of his own Gotham City. Over the next twenty years he used his wealth and influence to mold his mind and body into a weapon in order to combat the very crime that robbed him of his parents beginning his own personal crusade on crime. He is a real man. No powers, no super suits, nothing but sheer will and determination. Everyone everywhere knows who the Caped Crusader of Gotham City is. He has been popularized outside of the comics by countless cartoons, television shows, and nearly a dozen movies cementing his place as the most icon super hero of all time.
Think you can top this list? Let’s see you try. Who is more iconic than Batman and Superman? Give it your best.
Top Photo Credit: beingmyself