Comic books are probably the most versatile and ever-changing pieces of media on the planet. Especially mainstream comics like Marvel and DC. Constant lore changes, new universes, retconned continuity, and many more. The age of comic book superheroes is also constantly changing, so we decided to create our own list of the 15 oldest superheroes and rank them from the “least old” to the oldest.
We analyzed each superhero’s lore and age and will try to incorporate the most notable ones. Before we start, if we missed one superhero, please bear with us since thousands of superheroes are out there. If you are interested in this list, stay with us until the end.
15. Zealot (DC) – 3000 years old
Zealot, also known as Lady Zannah, first appeared in Wildstorm Production and DC Comics in 1992. Her background is really interesting – she is an alien and Coda Warrior, which makes her over 3000 years old. Despite being an alien, Zealot has been on Earth most of her life and led a secret war against the Daemonites. She is really powerful – an excellent marksman, adept at hand-to-hand combat, has enhanced strength, and most importantly, she is very cool.
14. Thor (Marvel) – 4000 years old
Thor Odinson is one of the most notable Marvel characters to date. He is a character based on the Norse mythological god of the same name and is an Asgardian God of Thunder. He is the son of the former king of Asgard and the god Odin, and, interestingly enough, he is one of the oldest superheroes in the Marvel Universe. Despite MCU stating differently, Thor is around 4000 years old, according to the 2008 Marvel comic book called The Truth of History. Comics books can always change the canon, but we settled on this number since it makes sense with Asgardian lore.
13. Parliament Of Trees (DC) – ancient elemental being
On this site, we love and respect superheroes based on natural elements and protecting the greenery of the planet Earth. DC introduced us to The Swamp Thing in 1971, and it was revealed that our favorite swamp monster is part of the ancient organization called the Parliament of Trees. The group is essentially a council of former Plant Elementals that help Swamp Thing protect the nature of planet Earth. Since they are creatures and nature elementals, the Parliament of Trees predates the dinosaurs on Earth, which makes them millions of years old.
12. The Eternals (Marvel) – five million years
Last year, we saw The Eternals movie in MCU, and it opened many doors and possibilities for bigger and more epic stories in future Marvel projects. Essentially, the Eternals are known as Homo immortalis, which alien Celestials created to defend the planet Earth. Of course, as powerful beings, the Eternals separated themselves from their inferior cousins’ humans and used their god-like powers to create mythical beings and stories on Earth. With that said, Eternals are quite old, and according to their bio (comics), they are around five million years old. Despite being really old, the Eternals look quite young if we are to believe the MCU movie.
11. Superman Prime (DC) – millions of years
One of the more notable comic book runs in the last twenty-five years is DC One Million. It follows the Possible Future one million issues in the future, where heroes and villains still exist. Specifically, in the 835th Century, Superman is still alive but has spent over 15,000 years in the Fortress of Solitude, where he spent absorbing the Yellow Sun.
The whole storyline stems from the fact that future heroes must cooperate with the 21st-century Justice League to save the universe. Superman becomes Superman Prime after he absorbs the energy of the Yellow Sun and becomes its extension. Because of the energy, Superman Prime lived for millions of years and traveled to heaven and hell. A very cool story and perspective about a superhero that is Superman Prime.
10. Odin (Marvel) – millions of years
We already mentioned Thor on this list, which is quite old, but his father Odin is speculated to have over millions of years. Marvel Comics changed Odin’s age a few times for the sake of stories, but we can assume that Odin is quite old, far more than million years from what Thor mentions in Thor: Love and Thunder movie. Specifically, Odin was part of Avengers of 1,000,000 BC, where Comic also confirmed that the god of thunder was in a relationship with Phoenix Force, which is quite interesting. All in all, Odin is a really old god, which isn’t that surprising.
9. Martian Manhunter (DC) – around 220 million years
Martian Manhunter is one of the coolest DC characters. DC fans also know him as J’onn J’onzz; interestingly enough, he is the last of his species and one of the oldest DC characters. His story is really tragic, with his people getting decimated, including his wife and daughter, and almost going absolutely mental. Martian Manhunter came to Earth by accident, conducted by Saul Erdel, and since then, J’onn J’onnz has been part of planet Earth. Of course, being a Martian, J’onn is really old, and by the DC comics, it’s estimated that our Martian is over 220 million years old. Great character with great history.
8. Monitor (DC) – billions of years
One of the more interesting characters on this list is the powerful being, Monitor. It exists to observe and record the positive matter in Multiverse. Monitor’s greatest enemy is his evil counterpart, Anti-Monitor, and two of them are one of the oldest beings in the DC universe. It’s estimated that since Monitor is technically observing Multiverse, and is essentially created by Hand Perpetua, the Creator of the Multiverse, it is around billions of years old.
7. The Watchers (Marvel) – beginning of the time
If we are to believe the lore of Marvel comics, The Watchers are technically the oldest species in the universe. They are similar to Monitorsin observing the Multiverse, but the Watchers are using that power to compile the knowledge of all aspects of the universe without any problems or interference. The Watcher Uatu has been helping superheroes of the Earth on many occasions, particularly The Fantastic Four, and helped them save the universe. There isn’t certain information on how old the Watchers are, but we can assume that if they are considered the oldest species in the Marvel comics, they’ll probably be old as the time.
6. The Celestials (Marvel) – beginning of the time
The Celestials are another Marvel species that are considered “quite” old. They are powerful cosmic beings created by the First Firmament, or the embodiment of the very first universe to ever exist. Of course, as it always is with very powerful entities, Celestials had an enemy in Aspirants, entities created simultaneously.
The animosity between two cosmic beings prompted a Celestial War that kickstarted the birth of the Multiverse and almost destroyed their creator, the First Firmament. If that isn’t an indicator of how old these cosmic beings are, I don’t know what is. Celestials are essentially old as the Time.
5. Living Tribunal (Marvel) – beginning of the time
If Daredevil and She-Hulk were amazing lawyers, you should check out the Living Tribunal, a personification of multiversal law. Imagine having to “police” the whole Multiverse, but Living Tribunal did quite well. The Tribunal is a representative of the One Above All and has the highest authority in the Multiverse.
Unfortunately, the Living Tribunal was slain by the Beyonders (beings from outside the Multiverse) and got replaced by Adam Warlock from Earth-19141. Quite an interesting story behind this superhero, so it’s not odd that Living Tribunal is old as time – someone needed to take care of the Universe in the name of One Above All.
4. The Presence (DC) – outside of the time
The Presence is one of the most mysterious characters in the DC universe. It is the ultimate creator, the Source of all things, and is characterized as the God – at least in Abrahamic religions. The Presence has been in the DC comics since their beginnings, and it is probably the strongest character in the Universe.
Now, The Presence is interesting since it has numerous forms throughout the comics, like The Source, The Hand, and The Voice. Of course, that means that The Presence is old as, well, outside of the time. The Presence is an equivalent of real-life gods, who usually don’t have designated ages, so the DC’s most powerful entity should definitely be close to the top of the list.
3. New Gods (DC) – outside of the time
If The Presence is outside of the time, then DC’s New Gods are as well. The beings of New Genesis and Apokalips are literally their own world, predating “our” universe for millions of years if we believe DC comics. Specifically, Fourth World is a realm where these powerful beings live, and it is so close to the Source (limitless cosmic energy) that these New Gods are immortal.
So, if they are immortal, how old are they? Well, we cannot determine that since they do not live inside our concept of time. New Gods lived much before the DC’s Universe, so it’s safe to say they are at least billions of years old. Seems much? For DC Universe, absolutely not.
2. The One Above All (Marvel) – before time
We already met The Presence in DC Universe, and of course, Marvel has their own “ancient god and creator of the universe.” The One Above All is a true god of the Marvel Universe/Omniverse and a master of already mentioned the Living Tribunal. It is the supreme creator of everything that we know of the Marvel Universe, which makes it the most powerful and the oldest. The “before time” stamp next to The One Above All is suitable and definitely deserves to be on top of this list. However, one more character/superhero or group of heroes is even older than Marvel’s supreme god and creator.
1. The Endless (DC) – infinite
Endless is a group of seven siblings that make a really dysfunctional family. Each represents an aspect of life: Dream, Death, Destiny, Despair, Desire, Delirium, and Destruction. One of the best works from DC comics of all time brought us The Sandman comics books, adapted to the popular Netflix show of the same name.
Moreover, they are distinct from the DC universe’s usual gods, making them a unique group of superheroes. Because they are aspects and powerful forces of the DC universe, The Endless are simply immortal, and they existed forever, or whatever that means, and deserve the first place on this list.