If you go by power level, Green Lantern
If you go by mainstream recognition, The Flash
If you go by “cool factor” for the few people who ever notice him, Martian Manhunter
If you go by Hughesian Debating Skills, I’m totally won over on Aquaman 🙂
Personally, I use the “Dan Brereton Coolest Art/Pose” factor, which again I would argue gives a pretty solid win to Aquaman:
(Also, look at the panels – clearly Aquaman is standing/floating IN FRONT OF the other three “JLA Core Members”, more prominently so in the bottom panels)
This answer originally appeared on Quora: If you agree that Superman, Batman & Wonder Woman are the DC big 3, who’s #4?
Showing us how someone got super powers? Boring.
Showing us what they do with those powers, and showing (not telling) us why? THE HOTNESS.
In short, all Superhero movies need to do to dramatically improve in quality and performance is pretty simple: stop treating the superpower as the main character.
They don’t need to explode bigger stuff. They don’t even need to win. Just present us with a damn good explanation for why Sue Storm isn’t the world’s richest paparazzi(*), and we’ll be happy.
M. Night Shyamalan gets a bad rap, because, er, most of his movies are terrible. But, he actually made a really great superhero epic no one really thinks about anymore, Unbreakable. All he did was make a superhero movie about real people, where the powers were very much secondary to the story. We need more movies like that.
Superhero movies are still movies. Powers are props and plot points, you still need an actual story, and identifiable characters. Even in cases where the overall story is very well known (Superman), there’s a ton of room for insights that delight and surprise twists that keep us wondering…
(* Despite the extensive grassroots petitioning, however, we really don’t need an explanation why her boyfriend doesn’t work in porn.)
This answer originally appeared on Quora: Why aren’t more superhero movies better?
This is a bit tough… Given the particular wording of your question, I’d go with Superman. He’s the first archetypical “superhero” who appeared in comic book form, at least in the US…
(This is actually just Christopher Reeve chasing me after I keyed his car…)
According to Wikipedia[*], the French once again beat us to the punch with a fella called the “Nyctalope”:
(My doctor says I have to stop eating Nyctalope for breakfast when I hit 40…)
As far as other possible “first placers”, you have all manner of costumed superhumans or “ultimate” humans –
- The Phantom,
- The Shadow,
- The Spider,
- Doc Savage,
- The Green Hornet,
– all of whom, if they magically dropped out of subspace in the Marvel or DC Universes, would be instantly recognized as “Superheroes”, or possibly “Super villains” in some cases.
Nevertheless, just about all of the other candidates appeared first in print books and magazines, comic strips, and radio dramas, and most did not take a strong stand in the comic book format until well after Superman had led the way as a groundbreaking title in the genre/medium in 1938 in Action Comics #1.
[* It’s actually a great Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sup…]
This answer originally appeared on Quora: What was the first comic book superhero?