First appearance: Watchmen #1, 1986
Created by: Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons
The Travis Bickle of masked vigilantes, Rorschach thought of his ink-splot patterned cowl as his real face and his real face as his mask. He was the Watchman who refused to give up his secret identity during the government clamp down on "masks". And he probably didn't shower much.
First appearance: Giant-Size X-Men #1, 1975
Created by: Len Wein, Dave Cockrum
The demonic-looking Teutonic teleporter with the prehensile tail has been a mainstay of The X-Men since Xavier assembled his second team of misfit superheroes. Sees himself as a bit of a swashbuckler… at least, he does when he's not being a catholic priest.
First appearance: X-Men #1, 1963
Created by: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
Two blue-skinned X-Men in a row, blimey! But the loquacious Hank McCoy has always been a furry fella. When he first joined the X-Men he was pretty normal looking, except for his hobbit-like feet. But a couple of mutations later and these days he's looking more like the male lead in Jean Cocteau’s La Belle Et La Bete. But he can still turn a simple yes into a multi-syallabled affirmation of the positive inclination and refer to himself by use of the perpendicular pronoun.
First appearance: Uncanny X-Men Annual #14, 1990
Created by: Chris Claremont, Jim Lee
Former thief Gambit is a bit of a ladies’ man, so presumably he’s not just overcompensating with big staff he likes clouting villains with. A strongly-accented Cajun, he has the ability to imbue objects with explosive kinetic energy, his objects of choice being playing cards.
16 Green Arrow
First appearance: More Fun Comics #73, 1941
Created by: Mort Weisinger, George Papp
Starting life in comics’ Golden Age as a kind of jolly crime-fighting techno-Robin Hood with customised arrows, The Green Arrow had a complete makeover in the ’60s, growing a goatee and discovering a social conscience and political motivation. He was at the forefront of a more adult approach to superheroes with stories dealing with drugs, social injustice and suchlike. In the ’80s he finally gained his own title, which helped launch DC’s adult range (which would evolve into Vertigo).
15 The Flash
First appearance: Flash Comics #1, 1940
Created by: Gardner Fox, Harry Lampert
The Scarlet Speedster is the fastest man in the world, which isn't the greatest way to impress the girls. But he can run so quickly he can cause hurricanes, which is cool. There have actually been quite a few Flashes over the years, but the most enduring and most popular was Barry Allen (1956-85). Although he sacrificed himself, nobody ever stays dead in comics, and he's currently on the comeback trail.
14 Wonder Woman
First appearance: All Star Comics #8, 1941
Created by: William Moulton Martson
Often cited as a feminist icon (though you can’t help wondering if going around in boob-thrusting bodice and hot pants is truly feminist) Wonder Woman left her Amazon tribe to fight evil in a world torn apart by the hatred of men. She certainly not lacking in the powers department – she can fly, she has super strength, stamina and reflexes, she can communicate with animals, speak any language she has a lasso that forces people to tell the truth and she has indestructible bracelets. But can she parallel park or explain the off-side rule?
Publisher: Dark Horse
First appearance: Buffy The Vampire Slayer, 1992
Created by: Joss Whedon
The only character in this list not to have originated in a comic, Buffy nevertheless was clearly considered a superhero by enough voters to propel her into the upper reaches of this list. Okay, she does have superpowers, and now stars in her own comic title, but what about the secret identity? But yeah, she does kick ass, so we'll let you off…
First appearance: Journey Into Mystery #83
Created by: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (and a bunch of pissed Viking, probably)
The Norse God Of Thunder might seem an unlikely member for the Avengers, but inbetween battling the hordes of Loki in Asgard Thor found time to fight alongside Captain America, Iron Man and co against more Earthbound supervillains. It’s always handy to have someone with a mystic hammer on your side even if most of your juvenile audience isn't quite sure how to pronounce it – Mjolnir.
Publisher: Dark Horse
First appearance: Hellboy – Seed Of Destruction, 1994
Created by: Mike Mignola
It's hard not to love Hellboy. He may have red skin, a tail, horns and an abnormally large red hand made of stone (what was he up to during puberty?) but the cigar-chompin’, wisecracking paranormal investigator is full of endearing little neuroses and character tics. Deep down you just know all is want is to be normal – that's why he files off his horns.
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