The world of comic books is filled with some great superheroes. With all of those great superheroes comes even better superhero names. Who are they, you ask? Good question. We’ve sifted through pages of Marvel and DC comics until we’ve compiled this list of the most iconic and legendary superhero names of all time.
10. Bruce Banner
Fun fact: Due to color limitations in printing, the Incredible Hulk initially appeared as a Grey monster. By issue two, the limitation had been addressed and he became the green monster we know and love today.
Even more fun fact: Stan Lee famously named a lot of his characters using alliteration. Peter Parker. Reed Richards. J. Jonah Jameson. Otto Octavius. He did this because he was notoriously bad at remembering names. By using the same letter in both the first and last names, he was easily able to recall what each of their names was. Of all the names that use alliteration, Bruce Banner might be the easiest to remember. It just rolls off of the tongue really nicely.
Bruce Banner is Marvel’s version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. For the most part, he’s a brilliant scientist responsible for some of the greatest discoveries in the Marvel Universe. However, when he becomes angry, he’s responsible for some of the greatest destruction the Marvel Universe has ever seen.
9. Steve Rogers
Steve Rogers is the most patriotic character in the history of comic books. He epitomizes what it means to stand for the red, white, and blue and does so very rarely questioning why he does so. Other creators have tried to copy what Joe Simon and Jack Kirby have done (Captain Canuck), but none have achieved the level of success that they have.
Steve Rogers first appeared on the cover of Captain America #1. That cover famously depicted him knocking out Adolf Hitler all the while cementing his own legacy. Since that time, Steve has been frozen in a block of ice, led the Avengers, entwined in a presidential campaign, stopped being Captain America, killed, revived, and so much more. Steve Rogers is what every superhero tries to be but can never be… without moral flaw.
8. Dick Grayson
Dick Grayson is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most popular and important sidekick of all time. When he was first introduced, he was the teenage sidekick to Batman. He became this after his parents were tragically killed and Bruce Wayne took him in as his own. Under Bruce, Dick learned to fight and use his mind in a manner that many only dreams of. As Batman’s sidekick, Dick Grayson set the standards by which all other sidekicks are measured. However, Dick Grayson isn’t one of my most iconic superhero names because he was Batman’s sidekick.
Nope. Like all good characters, he eventually grew and branched out on his own. He first did this as Robin and then as Nightwing. It was as Nightwing that he really became who he was meant to be. Above being the leader of the Teen Titans, during his time as Nightwing, he learned he had what it takes to become Batman.
7. Barry Allen
Barry Allen first debuted in Showcase #4 back in 1956. Although not the first Flash, Barry is the most well-known. Barry received his powers while working in his lab late one night. On that night, a lightning bolt struck down and hit Barry. The charge sent Barry backward into a pile of chemicals. The two (lightning and chemicals) triggered a change in Barry.
Even though the change was initially unapparent, eventually he realized that the accident had given him Super Speed. In addition, Barry was now able to visualize the world around him in slow-motion. This meant that he was able to react to things within less than a second of them happening. As a member of the Justice League, Barry has aligned himself with some of the greatest superheroes in existence. This, in combination with his incredible power set and easy-to-remember name, easily lands him on this of iconic superhero names.
6. Scott Summers
Ahhh yes. More Marvel alliteration. At first, Scott Summers might seem like an odd choice for my iconic superheroes’ names list. If he does, remember this. Not only is he the leader of the greatest mutant team ever created (X-Men), but he’s also one of the main reasons that they rose to prominence during the 1980s and 90s and stayed there during the 2000s. Scott Summers was a central figure in some of the most important X-Men stories ever written.
Scott Summers, for as hated as he is, is equally liked and admired… and here’s why. Scott stands up for what he believes and will die trying to protect it. Is he perfect? Not a chance. Is he important and a favorite amongst some readers? You bet he is.
5. Sue Storm
While many may think that Reed Richards is the most important member of the Fantastic Four, he’s not. Sue Storm is. Within the ranks of the Fantastic Four, no character has undergone as much change as Sure Storm. In fact, no character has changed for the better like Sue Storm. Sure, Reed went to school and is considered the brightest mind in Marvel. Sure, Ben Grimm is one of the strongest superheroes alive. And sure, Johnny Storm is able to fly and become a literal supernova. However, none of them have had to overcome the things that Sue has.
Sure was created in a time when not all characters were equal. Male characters were almost always given preferential treatment by the male writers who wrote the books. Superheroes like Sue were often relegated to a housewife-type role. This is part of the reason that there were more male superheroes than female superheroes in the 1960s.
Sue changed that. Throughout her history, she went from a housewife-type superhero to the strongest member of the Fantastic Four. Simply put, no member developed at the pace that she developed.
4. Barbara Gordon
Throughout her history, Barbara Gordon has done what very few characters have managed to successfully do. She has completely rewritten herself in a better and more interesting way.
The events of The Killing Joker, although not meant to be canon, left Barbara in a state of emergency. She was shot by The Joker and left paralyzed. Although she could’ve easily been written out of DC Comics, the team of Kim Yale and John Ostrander completely changed who she was. Gone was the Batgirl persona and in her place stood Oracle. As Oracle, rather than being able to fight one crime at a time, she could fight an unlimited amount of crimes.
Barbara Gordon is one of my characters with iconic superhero names because she has something that very few characters will ever have…a willingness to succeed when all seems hopeless.
3. Clark Kent
Of all the iconic superhero names that could’ve made this list, there are three that had no choice but to be on this list. The first of them is Clark Kent. Clark Kent is Superman and Superman is one of, if not the most important and recognizable superheroes ever created. He was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and made his first appearance on the pages of Action Comics #1 back in 1938. As the cornerstone of the DC Universe, Superman is credited with starting and reviving the comic books superhero movement.
Superman is an integral member of the Justice League and the one that the world looks to when doom and destruction are on the horizon. When he’s not Superman, he’s Clark Kent. Clark Kent, he’s a top reporter for the Daily Planet and the off-and-on-again-interest of Lois Lane. Comic books without Superman are like walking through a forest without a compass…lost.
2. Bruce Wayne
Another of the 3 iconic superhero names that had no choice but to make this list is none other than Bruce Wayne. Batman has arguably the greatest villain gallery that comics have ever, and will ever see. This list includes the Joker, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Bane, Scarecrow, Harley Quinn, and my two favorites, Poison Ivy and Ra’s al Ghul.
Batman is the reason that DC survived the 1980s and 2000s. Without him, the company probably would’ve folded under lost sales, the increasing popularity of their rival, and the switch to darker and more mature themes. Batman, and as a result, Bruce Wayne is a name known right across the planet. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that there isn’t a country in the world that hasn’t heard of Batman.
1. Peter Parker
The last of the iconic superhero names that has to be on this list is Peter Parker. Peter Parker is Marvel’s Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne. He’s their most recognizable character and the one on which Marvel has built their empire on. He’s everywhere. Comic books, clothing, toys, movies, magazines, newspapers, television, video games, and more.
Just like Clark Kent, Peter Parker works for a newspaper. Rather than being a reporter, he’s a photographer. And what does he photograph? Himself, of course. Or rather, himself when he’s Spider-Man. Spider-Man is everything to Marvel. As a result, for as long as his stories are being told, he will always make my list of iconic superhero names.