As many of you will be aware, news of Stan Lee’s death spread last week. We’ll miss the industry legend, a term we don’t use lightly. Instead of us wallowing in misery however, we figured we’d celebrate the man. As such, today’s Top 10 is around Superheroes. These are our Top 10 Underappreciated Superheroes – As these guys could definitely do a lot more, if only people would believe in them.
Our lowest list entry, as Ant-Man has been in a number of films already. However, when you say “Superhero”, it’s rare that anyone will turn around and say “Ant-Man” within their personal Top 10 lists. You may enjoy Ant-Man, sure; you may also have really enjoyed the most recent film, but all in all, compared to many of the other big superheroes he just isn’t that well loved. Big screen or by fans, he’s always enjoyed, but never hugely celebrated.
If you’re a fan of Ant-Man, don’t take this as gospel – But it’s rare that Ant-Man tops lists. He’s yet to be portrayed in such a way, to where he’s genuinely appreciated, even though he does a lot of good. He’s one of these characters that will always be a welcome addition, however he’s not always going to be the hero we want.
9) Matt Parkman – Heroes
Can we take a moment to appreciate the one guy in this series who actually tries to be a hero? He is a long way from perfect, sure, but nobody in the show is, but he’s one of the few people genuinely trying to help people at pretty much every turn. When we first meet him he’s struggling to make detective because of his dyslexia, but when he finds a little girl hiding in fear he doesn’t give into ambition, and even as story develops, his motivation always (usually) remains earnestly intent on… well, helping people.
Peter Petrelli just wants to embrace his power, dedicated to the idea of destiny, same with Hiro. Claire Bennet is a messed up teen, Mohinder takes one hell of a ride through the moral alignment chart as life bounces him around. Matt, though he loses his temper, makes some genuinely bad choices, and occasionally becomes more a hindrance than a help, but at his core he is a cop, and stays a cop in the face of pure evil beyond what handcuffs and jailcells can hold.
8) Beast Boy
By far the most undervalued and underappreciated of the Teen Titans, Beast Boy has been in a number of comics, but has yet to really get his own big time film appearance. Oh sure, you can say that the Teen Titans films count, but it’s not like those were met to a huge fanfare in and of themselves. Indeed, it’s fair to say that this little Beast Boy has been tamed into a domesticated pet.
Whilst that’s not strictly fair to say, Beast Boy definitely would thrive in his own movie. The green-skinned morphing guy is, by far, one of the more interesting characters. In the Teen Titans series alone, he was always portrayed as a bit of a flirt, but when people find out more about him, they see it masques a sensitive, tragic backstory. All in all, Beast Boy is a well thought out character with a lot of heart and a whole lot of opportunity to show off some amazing CGI.
7) Namor the Sub-Mariner
If I were to tell you that Aquaman was made before Aquaman the character was made, you’d probably think I was either lying, or was trying to make a comparison. Naturally, you’d be right about the comparison business, as before Aquaman, which launched in the early 40’s, there was Namor in the very late 30’s. Namor, in a similar vein to Aquaman, was a hero from the lost city of Atlantis. Also, both are aquatic men.
Okay, so let’s talk about why we’d even put this on the list – When anyone thinks of an underwater superhero, they will immediately think of Aquaman. However, Namor was one of the first “packager” characters, as well as appearing in the very first issue of Marvel Comics. He’s been part of many superhero teams, including the Avengers, Fantastic Four, X-Men and even the Illuminati. All in all, this might be the best “unknown” superhero on this list, who really, if you’re a Marvel fan, you must know this guy.
Being a schoolboy is a pretty tough life; you’ve got lessons to go to and a bunch of hormones getting in your way. Fortunately, when you have enough potassium, specifically by eating a banana, you can transform into Bananaman! Wait, are you telling me that’s not what every schoolboy in the world wanted to be? No? Could you be telling me that this was some form of parody superhero?
Bananaman is a British-based parody superhero series, which was featured in both a comic and TV series. In its comic form, Bananaman was part of Nutty, which was the precursor to British comic giant, The Dandy – and it was by far one of the most popular comic strips they had. Meanwhile the Bananaman cartoon series was relatively well received, but nowhere near as popular as its comic counterpart. This could have been due to the short time of each episode, which could be as short as 5 minutes.
5) Booster Gold
I have personally mocked Booster Gold, and frankly so have the Justice League, but let’s give the poor guy just a little slack for a moment. As a superhero he has everything he could possibly need, hyper-advanced technology and a desire to help, even if it was mostly because he’d like to be famous, he’s suffered under the weight of his own ego and now acts as a hero in earnest.
A former janitor in 25th century Metropolis, Booster returns to the past where the might Justice League once dominated in an effort to join them, taking with him whatever he can grab and a highly intelligent security drone in order to fashion a superhero kit. While he starts out being all about the fame and the glory, he comes good eventually, and now works for the genuine benefit of all.
4) Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law
Many people will only really know of Harvey Birdman as a lawyer, but he himself is an ex-superhero. Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law was a parody show which honestly was hilarious. Many of us here in the UK would only have been made aware of the skits featuring the flying litigator, thanks to the brilliance of Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, which was in the 90’s and early 00’s, both funny and a great way for us to see interviews with big or up-and-coming musicians.
Harvey Birdman was great in his own skits; he would often have to question rather questionable heroes and villains. What’s great, also following the similarities to Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, is that it’s an adult series that learned how to adapt with the time. Incredibly, the last episode of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, was this year (2018 for those of you in the future) – There was a special, so go look it up and see if you can understand why we believe this is one of the best superheroes who just deserves so much more.
It’s perhaps unfair to say that Witchblade is the hero, when Witchblade is actually the sentient gauntlet that takes a human host (usually female) to enact its will, an entity born of two other major Top Cow legends, the Darkness, and its antithesis the Angelus, two other artifacts (of sorts) that take hosts to wage the war between darkness and light in the world.
The gauntlet has the power to form weapons, armour, and usually whatever else it might need to combat the supernatural threats set against it. It mostly fights to protect itself and its host, but has the power to aid its hosts to further their own best interests. It has learned much over centuries of hosts, developed skills and stockpiled knowledge so that each host taps into greater and greater powers as it passes along.
In that time it has gathered some pretty impressive names to its history, including Cleopatra, Marie Curie, and Lara Croft – yes, that Lara Croft, Top Cow love their crossovers – and may yet see another attempt at a television series in the near future. Honestly, I never heard of the two seasons it got in 2001.
2) Martian Manhunter
The DC Universe is full of characters who deserve to at least be mentioned, but often, for one reason or another, get completely left out. True, Martian Manhunter is referenced and indeed a part of the popular series, Supergirl – But until then, we didn’t really have much for this Martian. It’s fair to say that even though he’s one of DC Universes most powerful characters, his inclusion within the main stories on film and TV have been somewhat lackluster to say the least.
One of the original members of the Justice League, it’s hard to believe that Martian Manhunter could be so rarely implemented on the big screen. It’s also strange, considering the character has been around for a very long time – 1955 was the year of his first comic strip. Now, since we’re heading into bigger cinematic universes for DC, perhaps this Martian from Mars can finally get his time on the big screen.
1) Moon Knight
Oh how we hope Netflix stay on the Marvel train long enough for this one! Ok, so many people might label him as Batman in an Assassin’s Creed cosplay (me, I did) but he’s got his own unique twists and a better taste for sarcasm. Marc Spector earned powers from the moon god Konshu, and has (or had) powers that wax and wane with the cycles of the moon, most notably superior strength and agility, but also some cool artifacts from an ancient cult of Konshu.
Most of those are now gone sadly, the relics replaced by custom tech, his strength and agility now pretty solidly the same week-in-week-out, but that’s still pretty impressive, and along with his solid detective skills he’s still an intimidating hero, just like Batm- no, no, we’ve done that one.
Besides, Batman likes to hide in the shadows. Moon Knight likes his enemies to see him coming. You have to respect that attitude.
These superheroes are not that super to begin with; some start from completely different sources. Some superheroes are born out of others, whilst other superheroes are born from different entertainment mediums all together. All we know is that these next two entries needed some form of attention, even though you may often forget them as comics.
Freakazoid vs Madman
Let’s start with an easy one, Freakazoid! The zany, wacky, cartoon character who was sucked into the internet and spat out as a pop-culture spouting mishapen oddball with no social graces but a whole lot of confidence. This was back in 1995, who knew how right they were going to be? Freakazoid possesses some incredible superpowers, most potent being his ability to defy logic! Not flight though, mostly he just runs around and goes “wooosh”…
Now Madman is a name that may crop up if you dig even a little deeper into Freakazoid, because the two characters shared some notable similarities in personality. Madman once beat Mr. Mxyzptlk in a game of Twister to save Superman, had enemies like the Puke, and Mattress, he also had an exclamation mark emblazoned across his outfit. Indeed, Madman was openly referenced in Freakazoid writing sessions, and the similarities nearly lead to a lawsuit!
But if we did that every time an idea got a little too close to the source of inspiration, we’d get nowhere and Marvel and DC would be practically unknown. No vote for this one, we simply won’t promote that level of creative hostility… this time.
Earthworm Jim is an amazing video game, which spawned an awesome cartoon and would you believe – It also spawned a fun little comic series. Earthworm Jim jumps into his suit, drops fridges, launches cows, kills crows and rabid dogs – And then some! Our titular character was, in comics and in video games, one of the best of the best. To make it better, it was Marvel that published this series.
The comics were only a three-parter and they were really good! They elaborated on some of the main antagonists of the game, including Professor Monkey-for-a-Head and Evil the Cat. As well as this, it features the Lawyers/Bankers of Heck; all of these characters are well known to Earthworm Jim fans, however with only three comics, it’s fair to say this was an underappreciated gem.
Whilst we’re still so fresh on the passing of Stan Lee, I thought I’d take a moment to just say a massive thanks to him and to Marvel for all of their amazing contributions to comics over the years. Indeed, thanks to DC for being such a good competitor as well. I’m looking forward to the future, which Stan Lee helped to shape – and I hope all of you are too. Next week, we’re moving into December, so help us choose a fittingly geeky winter-y Top 10.
Hopefully you enjoyed our picks for the most underappreciated superheroes of all, but naturally, there’ll be some on this list you’ll likely disagree with. If that’s the case, why not share your thoughts and opinions below, or over on Facebook and Twitter? Did we pick the right characters, or did we happen to overlook your pick? Do you like or ordering, or did we mess it up? It’s over to you – Excelsior!