Who is The Most Popular Marvel character? Marvel is the number one comic publisher when it comes to sales, creating best-selling comics month in and month out. Thanks to the MCU, the publisher has also become the biggest name in pop culture, adding even more to the brand’s popularity.
Marvel characters have long been household names, and the MCU has launched even more of them into stardom. Marvel’s most popular heroes and villains are the biggest characters in pop culture. For some, it’s been that way for decades. For others, it’s a more recent thing. Regardless, their popularity is astounding.
Updated on May 17th, 2023 by David Harth: Marvel’s most popular characters aren’t just the most popular in one company. Thanks to the MCU, they’re the most popular in the world. Marvel has long had a knack for creating amazing heroes and villains, and Marvel characters have long been the gold standard in comics and beyond. There are always more Marvel characters ready to take their place at the fore of the entertainment world.
Who is The Most Popular Marvel character?
Being the other half of the “big two” comic book publishers, Marvel Comics has its respective catalog of beloved and iconic superheroes. Disney and Marvel Studios’ sweeping MCU propelled these characters to gargantuan new heights and helped the superhero genre’s popularity in movies with it.
The voting community at Ranker has compiled a top 10 list of the publisher’s best heroes. Over the decades, these characters have either seen their legacies endure like Spider-Man and Wolverine, to others seeing strong surges in terms of mainstream appeal like Deadpool and Black Panther.
The Most Popular Marvel character: Black Panther
The Black Panther is a different brand of superhero than most because he not only wears a heroic mantle, but also a crown; a crown that carries with it the weight of an entire nation. And, we’re not being colorblind here – he’s not white like most comic book heroes then (and now).
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in what later Marvel staffers said was an effort to feature Black superheroes in an era in which that was rare, the Black Panther was also an outsider to the Fantastic Four (and even the Avengers) and carried a dignified exoticism and connections to a near-mythical country that was refined and more technologically advanced than modern humanity at the time.
But through works like recent stories by writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and John Ridley with artists including Brian Stelfreeze, the Black Panther has grown into a complex, multi-faceted hero who struggles to be a better version of himself – and it’s T’Challa’s willingness to embrace and learn from his failures that sets him apart from many other ultra-competent heroes with all the resources in the world.
The Black Panther sits in a unique place at Marvel – as the king of a nation who has recently realized that his own monarchy is at odds with democracy and the equal rights of his subjects, but who is still trying to find better ways to contribute to his home nation and Marvel’s world at large.
The Most Popular Marvel character: Wolverine
Wolverine is the ultimate brooding loner. Combine that with a gritty tenacity and knives on (and in!) his hands, and you have a unique superhero cut from a very different cloth than those who came before him – who has carved himself a niche that countless characters have since tried to occupy.
Wolverine entered the Marvel Universe like a classic Clint Eastwood western character – as a mysterious stranger who rides into town; short on words, long on violence. That profile has propagated an intense mystery about his past that continues to deepen even as creators try to fill in the blank pages of his history.
And again, he’s got knives on his hands – and it’s actually cool, despite how silly the idea sounds on its face.
Wolverine’s catchphrase is ‘The best there is at what he does.’ And that’s proven to be true, over and over again as imitators, variants, and clones (sometimes metaphorically, sometimes literally) come and go.
The Most Popular Marvel character: She-Hulk
She-Hulk began comic book life as a way for Marvel to protect its turf. Originally a female knockoff of her famous cousin Bruce Banner AKA the Hulk, Jennifer Walters was created by Marvel to establish ownership of a female Hulk before CBS could create their own version as part of its then-contemporary Incredible Hulk TV show.
But she quickly became more than a way to establish ownership of the concept in-house, eventually surpassing many of the most intrinsic qualities that make the original Hulk a great character himself – the juxtaposition of strength, anger, and the duality between the human being and rampaging monster.
She-Hulk was also Deadpool before there was a Deadpool – a hyper-aware, sometimes metatextual, fourth-wall-breaking character who can fit in alongside other mainstream heroes without skipping a beat.
From the novel idea of a lawyer specializing in superhero law to a successful businesswoman dealing with the realities (and fiction) of controlling (or not controlling) her anger issues, She-Hulk isn’t a cliché or an archetype, which makes her one of the top (eighth-best, actually) characters in the Marvel U.
The Most Popular Marvel character: Captain America
Captain America is a quintessential part of the Marvel Universe, but it took decades for him to reach that potential.
One of the dozens of flag-waving patriotic superheroes created in the early 40s during the Second World War, it wasn’t until the early 60s when he was thawed from an icy tomb in a story by Stan Lee and his co-creator Jack Kirby in an Avengers story that he started on the path to become who he is today.
In that era he became an anachronistic version of Americana, battling the dark turns America can take. He wasn’t the first US patriotic hero that carried a shield, but it’s those more modern stories that made everyone forget who the other guy was (Archie Comics’ The Shield, by the way, was created months before Captain America).
Although not a founding member of the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, he quickly became the face of the team which for many readers added to his profile as the classical heroic ideal for Marvel’s brand of superheroes.
Chris Evans’ portrayal of Cap in MCU films over 60 years after the character’s creation only raised his stature further. While comic book Captain America is still as young and vital as always, Evan’s live-action Cap will cast a shadow over the MCU for years to come, as evidenced by 2021’s The Falcon & Winter Soldier Disney Plus streaming series and lingering rumors of Evan’s return in some form or another.
Captain America is not just a flagbearer for the United States, but for Marvel Comics as well – and that’s something even fans that aren’t from the US can (and do) appreciate.
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