The history of superheroes goes way back to the early comic books, where authors wrote about different characters with superhuman abilities who went out to save their people from various threats. Since then, the superhero concept has evolved significantly and in this article, we are bringing you a list of the 25 best cartoon superheroes – that have appeared in various animated works.
The list is going to include anime characters, as well as characters who have appeared in classical Western animation. The characters are going to be ranked not based on their powers, but rather on their cultural significance as animated superheroes.
Also, we have decided to include only those characters that can be classified as superheroes (so no Naruto, no Goku, no Ichigo, no Luffy, and the likes).
25. The Powerpuff Girls
Franchise: The Powerpuff Girls
Appeared In: The Powerpuff Girls
According to the opening sequence of each episode, Professor Utonium obtained the Powerpuff Girls—Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup—in his attempt to conceive the “perfect girl” with a mix of “sugar, spice, and everything nice.” Still, the accidental addition of the mysterious “Chemical X” resulted in these three little girls possessing a diverse set of superpowers, such as super-strength, laser-firing eyes, microscopic vision, and the ability to fly at extreme speeds. They differ from each other as follows:
- Blossom is the self-proclaimed leader of the team, an admirer of female roles in society. Her signature color is pink and the predominant ingredient in her personality is “everything good”, according to the combination of these elements in the opening sequence. She sports long red hair that visually acts as a cape and a large red bow representative of a crown, she is the most methodical and sensible member of the trio, although sometimes her character is too commanding or arrogant. Her special superpower is “ice breath”.
- Bubbles, the blonde with pigtails, is the “softest and sweetest” of the three, by virtue of her good humor and affinity with nature. She is characterized by the color blue and the ingredient that defines her personality is sugar. She is often regarded as the most childish and vulnerable, although beneath this facade she is actually “forceful and determined to get things right”. She is fluent in Spanish, can communicate with animals, and her unique superpower is emitting supersonic waves.
- Buttercup is the toughest of the trio and the one who makes spontaneous decisions. Her almost always furrowed brow and reluctance to show her sensitive side create a contrast to her sisters’ cheerful demeanor. Spices define her personality, green represents her, and her black bob-style hair is undone. She has a strong temper, so her manner of proceeding is usually the most impulsive or frantic, and she sometimes manifests a rambunctious attitude. She is the only Powerpuff Girl who does not have a unique ability.
24. Ben Tennyson
Franchise: Ben 10
Appeared In: Ben 10
Benjamin “Ben” Kirby Tennyson, aka Ben 10 is the hero of the Ben 10 cartoon series as well as the sequels Ben 10: Alien Force, Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Ben 10: Omniverse, and the 2016 reboot. His family name is a pun with the English word “Ten”. This boy, aged ten in the first series and fifteen in the second, wears a watch-shaped device, the Omnitrix, attached to his wrist, which gives him the ability to transform into different extraterrestrials, each with different powers. individuals.
In the beginning, he has ten forms available, and develops more and more thereafter. He uses his powers for good, battling various criminals and aliens like a superhero. He is mainly helped by his cousin Gwen and his Grandfather Max, and, later, by his old enemy Kévin Levin. Ben 10’s name is rarely if ever, mentioned in the first series, with other characters usually calling him by his real name.
23. Hal Jordan / Green Lantern
Franchise: DC Comics
Appeared In: Green Lantern: The Animated Series
Harold “Hal” Jordan, also known as the Green Lantern, is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created in 1959 by writer John Broome and artist Gil Kane, and first appeared in Showcase #22 (October 1959). Hal Jordan is a reimagining of the previous Green Lantern, who appeared in the 1940s comics.
Hal Jordan is a fighter pilot, member, and occasional leader of an intergalactic police force called the Green Lantern Corps, as well as a founding member of the Justice League, DC’s flagship superhero team, along with well-known heroes such as Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. He fights evil throughout the universe with a ring that grants him a variety of superpowers, but he is usually depicted as one of the protectors of Sector 2814, which is the sector where Earth resides.
His powers are derived from his power ring and his battery, which in the hands of someone capable of overcoming great fear allows the user to channel his willpower to create all sorts of fantastical constructs. Jordan uses this power to fly, even through the void of space; to create shields, swords, and lasers; and to build his Green Lantern suit, which protects his secret identity in his civilian life on Earth.
Jordan and all the other Green Lanterns are monitored and enabled by the mysterious Guardians of the Universe, who evolved from ideas that Julius Schwartz and Broome had originally conceived of years earlier in a story with Captain Comet in Strange Adventures #22. (July 1952) entitled “Guardians of the Mechanical Universe”.
Appeared In: Big Hero 6
Baymax is a fictional superhero character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Rouleau, Baymax first appeared in Sunfire & Big Hero 6 #1 (September 1998). Baymax begins his existence as Hiro Takachiho’s Science Project. Originally designed to be a hydroelectric robotic synth programmed to serve as Hiro’s personal bodyguard, butler, and chauffeur, Baymax becomes Hiro’s best friend.
When the Giri recruits Hiro to be part of the rookie Big Hero 6, Baymax also joins the team, where his phenomenal strength, incredible vigilance, and data analysis abilities prove useful. Baymax is a helper robot, providing assistance to the host or guest in his presence. It is an inflatable white robot with its metal parts built from the inside.
Baymax is an artificial synth capable of synthesizing his body into various forms: a large humanoid male, “Battle-Dragon”, and “Action-Mecha”. The former serves as her default form, designed to be less conspicuous in public while tending to Hiro’s daily needs. His other forms, significantly more powerful and imposing, are mainly used during covert missions and other hostile operations.
In all of its forms, Baymax has internal scanners and sensors capable of detecting and assessing threats posed by nearby life forms. It is also programmed with fighting techniques from combat forms, such as karate, taekwondo, western boxing, and Wing Chun.
21. Virgil Hawkins / Static
Franchise: DC Comics
Appeared In: Static Shock
Static is a fictional superhero who appears in American comics published by DC Comics. The character, the brainchild of Milestone Comics founders Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis and Derek Dingle, was initially written by McDuffie and Robert L. Washington III and illustrated by John Paul Leon. Static’s first appearance was in Static #1 (June 1993) in the modern era of comics.
Born Virgil Ovid Hawkins, he is a member of a fictional subspecies of humans with superhuman abilities known as Metahumans. Born with his powers, Hawkins’ abilities develop after an incident that exposes him to an experimental radioactive chemical. This event makes him capable of electromagnetic generation and control.
The character was heavily inspired by and was actually designed to represent a modern-day Spider-Man archetype. After the closure of Milestone Comics, Static joined the DC Universe and became a member of the Teen Titans team.
A common misconception is that Hawkins is the son of fellow DC Comics superhero Black Lightning, who debuted much earlier and possesses similar abilities. Black Lightning addresses the coincidence once in a Justice League conversation.
20. Stanley Ipkiss / The Mask
Franchise: The Mask
Appeared In: The Mask
Stanley Ipkiss was a modest office worker from Edge City, a man with no history or problems, living alone with his dog Milo and a fan of Tex Avery cartoons. Despite her quiet life, he was bored, finding her uninteresting, and was constantly snubbed and blamed by his office colleagues. One day, while trying to rescue a drowning man, who turned out to be in fact a collection of waste taking the form of a body, he found a strange old mask made of wood.
Intrigued, he took the mask home unaware that it was an ancient Norse artifact containing the powers of Loki, the ancient Viking god of deception. Stanley quickly realized that this object was endowed with supernatural properties allowing its wearer to overcome his social inhibitions and that he only had to put it on to become “The Mask”, a burlesque character, crazy, sure of himself, and full of resources, capable of anything to achieve his ends, in the image of what Stanley was and wanted to be at the bottom of himself.
Quickly, the bank employee got into the habit of frequently using the mask, first to solve his problems, then by extension to face various enemies seeking to seize the object. This led to him becoming something of a superhero, defending Edge City and its people.
19. Mark Grayson / Invincible
Appeared In: Invincible
Markus Sebastian Grayson is the son of Deborah Grayson and novelist Nolan Grayson, who is also the superhero Omni-Man. When Mark is seven, Nolan reveals that he is a member of a race of peaceful aliens called Feltrumites who have come to Earth to help humanity and that Mark will one day develop super powers of him.
Mark’s powers manifest at the age of 17 as he works in his part-time job. His powers, which increase in power with use, are: super strength, speed, flight, some invulnerability, and quick healing. Mark meets a young group of superheroes, the Teen Team (Robot, Dupli-Kate, Rex Splode, and Atom Eve), and realizes that he is going to school with Eve.
The two discover that one of their teachers turned the students into bombs and turned into a bomb himself. Mark takes it to Antarctica before it explodes. Nolan asks Mark to fight a super-powered alien who periodically visits Earth, but Mark decides to talk to him instead. The alien, named Allen, explains that his job is to assess the strength of the planet’s protectors.
Mark explains to Allen that he has been coming to Earth by mistake for decades. While Mark and his friend William visit the university they intend to attend, it is attacked by a cyborg, which leads William to discover Mark’s powers. Shortly thereafter, the Guardians of the Globe are attacked and killed by Omni-Man as part of the Viltrumita plan to take over Earth.
18. Captain Underpants
Franchise: Captain Underpants
Appeared In: Captain Underpants
Captain Underpants is a superhero created by George Beard and Harold Hutchins, twochildren from Piqua, Ohio. It is basically a parody of superheroes in costume, who, in addition to a traditional red cloak, wears only underwear, from which he pulls out the odd gadgets he needs to fight (eg the “Toilet Bill of Rights”), and struggles with the “pant powers”.
George and Harold make him the protagonist of their funny comic series, in which they also make fun of the teachers and elementary school students they attend, Stanlio and Ollio. These comics are scattered throughout the books in the series. In addition to this, the two friends make all kinds of trouble, attracting the ire of Benjamin “Benny” Krupp in the original, the director of the school.
In the first episode of the series, therefore, George and Harold hypnotize Krupp with a 3D ring and make him believe that he is Captain Underpants himself. The game soon gets out of hand and, after several misadventures, the two boys free him from the state of trance by pouring cold water on his head.
However, they had not read the warnings contained in the instructions on the 3D ring, so from now on Krupp will return to the state of trance (“transforming himself” into Captain Underpants) every time he hears a snap of his fingers. George and Harold will be forced to keep an eye on him and follow him, hoping to avert more disasters.
17. John Constantine
Franchise: DC Comics
Appeared In: Constantine: City of Demons
John Constantine is an occult detective. He first appeared in Swamp Thing #37 (February 1985). Constantine is the main protagonist in the Hellblazer comic book series. John Constantine first played the role of the protagonist’s “supernatural advisor” in Swamp Thing. In these early appearances, Constantine was portrayed as a sorcerer with questionable morals.
The musician Sting was taken as the basis for the appearance of the hero, or rather his appearance in the films “Brimstone and Oil” and “Quadrofenia”. Alan Moore created his character following artists Stephen R. Bissett and John Totleban, who, as fans of The Police, wanted to draw a character that looked like Sting.
They had already drawn at least one character with Sting’s appearance, a fleeting supporting figure in a black and red striped tank top, in issue 25 of Swamp Thing (1984). In his early appearances in Swamp Thing, the character bears a strong resemblance to Sting, and in issue #51, Constantine appeared on a boat with the name The Honorable Gordon Sumner on the bow.
16. Miles Morales / Spider-Man
Franchise: Marvel Comics
Appeared In: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Miles Morales is a fictional character appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics, as one of the characters known as Spider-Man. It was created by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli, but Ultimate Marvel editors and editor-in-chief Axel Alonso were also inspired by a number of ideas, such as the election of US President Barack Obama and the appearance of African-American actor Donald Glover dressed in a Spider-Man suit, as well as the premiere of a new series called Community.
Miles Morales first appeared in the fourth issue of Ultimate Fallout, in August 2011, in the wake of Peter Parker’s death. A teenager with an African-American father and a Puerto Rican mother, he became the second Spider-Man in Ultimate Marvel.
15. Barry Allen / Flash
Franchise: DC Comics
Appeared In: Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
The Flash (Bartholomew Henry Allen) is a fictional superhero appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in Showcase #4 (October 1956), created by writer Robert Kanigher and artist Carmine Infantino. Barry Allen is a reimagining of an earlier character named Flash, who appeared in earlier comics and was named Jay Garrick.
His power mainly consists of super speed. Various other effects are also attributed to his ability to control the speed of molecular vibrations, including his ability to vibrate at the speed to pass through objects and travel through time.
The Flash wears a distinctive red and gold suit treated to resist friction and wind resistance, traditionally storing the suit compressed inside a ring in the third and second seasons it is a classic red suit with gold lines in the shape of lightning bolt, and the first season one is red with gold lines.
Franchise: Looney Tunes
Appeared In: Super-Rabbit
We discover Bugs as a superhero. He’s super-fast, super-powerful, and jumps super-high. The narrator tells us how Bugs became Super-Rabbit: a scientist in his laboratory had created super carrots giving super powers and decided to test them on Bugs. The latter, looking at an article about a Texan who hates rabbits (Smith the Terror), wanted to give him a correction.
After passing him off as a horse, Bugs demonstrates his invincibility to Smith, by playing basketball with a cannonball, and his cunning, by passing Smith and his horse off as his supporters. After defeating Smith once more, Bugs loses his carrots to the two antagonists but he manages to escape by disguising himself as a Marine.
13. Professor X
Franchise: Marvel Comics
Appeared In: X-Men: The Animated Series
Professor Charles Xavier, aka Professor Xavier or Professor X, is a superhero evolving in the Marvel universe. Created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, the fictional character first appeared in the comic book Uncanny X-Men #1 in September 1963. Founder of the Xavier Institute, a school for young mutants, Xavier is also a mutant, i.e., a being endowed with mutant genes which allow him to have superhuman power.
In the case of Professor Xavier, his main power is telepathy: he is indeed one of the most powerful telepaths in this fictional universe, which makes him an extremely powerful character although, physically, he is paralyzed in both legs.
12. Buzz Lightyear
Appeared In: Toy Story
Buzz Lightyear is a main character in the Toy Story franchise. He is a toy superhero and action figure in the franchise. Along with his friend, Sheriff Woody, he is one of the two main characters in all four Toy Story movies. He is voiced by Tim Allen in the Toy Story movies and some video games.
In Toy Story, Buzz is given to a 7-year-old boy named Andy Davis as a birthday present. When Buzz comes to life, he firmly believes that he is a space soldier, rather than a toy. It doesn’t take long for him to become Andy’s favorite toy, making Andy’s original favorite toy, a cowboy doll named Woody, jealous.
Woody’s jealousy sparks a fight with Buzz in which they eventually end up being captured by Sid Phillips, the 11-year-old toy torturer and Andy’s neighbor. While imprisoned in Sid’s house, Buzz Lightyear sees his own television commercial for him and realizes that he is a toy, and not a space explorer.
Franchise: DC Comics
Appeared In: Superman: The Animated Series
Superman is a fictional superhero who first appeared in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian artist Joe Shuster in 1933 when they were both living in Cleveland, Ohio. Superman was born on the planet Krypton and given the name Kal-El at birth.
When he was a baby, his parents, the scientist Jor-El, and his wife Lara Lor-Van, sent him to Earth in a small spaceship moments before Krypton was destroyed in a natural cataclysm. His ship landed in the American countryside, near the fictional town of Smallville. He was found and adopted by farmers Jonathan and Martha Kent, who named him Clark Kent.
Clark developed various superhuman abilities, such as incredible strength and waterproof skin. His adoptive parents advised him to use his abilities for the benefit of humanity and he decided to fight crime as a vigilante.
10. Astro Boy
Franchise: Astro Boy
Appeared In: Astro Boy
Astro (aka Tetsuwan Atomu, aka Astro Boy) is a super-robot that was built in the likeness of Tobie, the deceased son of Doctor Tenma. Rejected by the latter, he was sold to a circus and found by Professor Ochanomizu, who took him under his wing and trained him as a superhero defender of the Earth, humanity and harmony between men and robots.
Astro is able to fly thanks to reactors in his legs, has colossal strength from a 100,000 horsepower engine (upgraded to 1,000,000 horsepower later) and is armed with a machine gun. He can fire a destructive laser beam from his finger, turn his arm into an even more destructive laser cannon, and can shoot beams of blinding light through his eyes.
Franchise: DC Comics
Appeared In: Teen Titans
Raven is a fictional superheroine appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in a special insert in DC Comics Presents #26 (Oct. 1980), and was created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez.
The daughter of a demon father (Trigon) and a human mother (Arella), Raven is an empath who can teleport and control her “soul”, who can physically fight, as well as act as Raven’s eyes and ears away from Raven’s physical body. She is a prominent member of the Teen Titans superhero team. The character also goes by the alias Rachel Roth as an assumed civilian name.
8. Terry McGinnis / Batman
Franchise: DC Comics
Appeared In: Batman Beyond
Terry was born in Neo-Gotham City on Earth-12, an alternate universe, on August 18, 2023, the son of Warren and Mary McGinnis, a scientist who worked for Wayne-Powers and an astronomer at Astro-Tech respectively. By his own admission, he used to be a “problem kid”.
Being part of a gang led by his former best friend Charlie “Great” Bigelow, Terry had quite a few run-ins with the Gotham City police at age fourteen, while his parents were filing for divorce, to the point of spending three months in the hospital. reform school (being a minor, he was spared the three years in prison Charlie was given).
Years after Batman has disappeared from Gotham, Terry has a run-in with the Jokerz, a group of gangsters who dress as clowns as a tribute to the late legendary criminal, the Joker. Terry flees until he reaches the grounds of Wayne Manor, where an elderly Bruce Wayne comes to his defense and demands that the Jokerz leave his property. Because of the brief fight and forcing the Jokerz to leave, Bruce suffers a heart attack, so Terry helps Bruce back to the mansion to give him his medicine.
Before leaving, as Bruce falls asleep, Terry notices a bat trapped in the living room clock. While trying to free him, he discovers the entrance to the Batcave and realizes that the old man is actually the Gotham Knight.
Franchise: Marvel Comics
Appeared In: X-Men: The Animated Series
Logan, alias Wolverine is a superhero from the Marvel Comics publishing house. Created by Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Roy Thomas, writer Len Wein and artist John Romita, Sr, the fictional character first appears in the comic book Incredible Hulk (vol. 1) #180 in October 1974. His real name is James Howlett but, having forgotten his past after various traumas, he calls himself Logan.
Appearing on the last page of Incredible Hulk #180, where his arrival for the following issue is announced, he is then integrated into the X-Men series, of which he becomes one of the protagonists and where he gains increasing importance. He is later a member of the X-Men and the New Avengers.
Franchise: One-Punch Man
Appeared In: One-Punch Man
Saitama is a character from the manga and anime series One-Punch Man, created by One. Regarded as the strongest character in anime, Saitama is a young adult who faces an existential crisis due to his incredible strength due to not feeling emotions. during their battles.
After being a hero for fun, he signs up for the Hero Association to become a professional hero after realizing that no one recognizes him as such. Due to his unimpressive appearance, his enemies often underestimate him to the point of not taking him seriously.
5. The Incredibles
Appeared In: The Incredibles
The Incredibles are a family of superheroes; they’re actually the civilian Parr family, but operate as:
- Mr. Incredible, alias Robert “Bob” Parr, who possesses superhuman strength. He can probably lift a mountain with his bare hands. He lives very badly his relegation to a job as a modest insurance employee and cannot refrain from giving advice to his clients to be better reimbursed, which provokes the anger of his boss.
- Elastigirl, alias Helen Parr, is Mr. Incredible’s wife. She can stretch (and compress) her body up to tens of meters, like Red Richards in the Fantastic Four series, and can thus transform into a dinghy, parachute, etc.
- Dash Parr, aka Dashiel Robert “Dash” Parr, the son of Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl. He can run as fast as the superhero Flash but is still just a kid who only thinks of using his powers to play pranks (like dropping a thumbtack on his teacher’s seat without being noticed).
- Violet Parr, the daughter of Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl. She has the power, like Jane Storm, to turn herself invisible and project a powerful force field. She is in the middle of a teenage crisis, and has not yet solved all her shyness problems.
- Jack-Jack Parr is a baby that is not able to walk or speak. At the end of the film, we discover that he can change the density and composition of his body and thus transform himself into a human fireball, a metal statue (from what we can see, he becomes even heavy to carry) or as a red gremlin which increases its strength (we also see that it becomes more aggressive and violent).
4. Izuku Midoriya
Franchise: My Hero Academia
Appeared In: My Hero Academia
Izuku Midoriya is a fictional character from the My Hero Academia manga, created by Kōhei Horikoshi. Izuku also appears in the anime adaptation of the manga and in the films My Hero Academia: Two Heroes (2018), My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising (2019), and My Hero Academia: World Heroes Mission (2021). Izuku is a very shy, helpful, and polite boy who often overreacts in certain situations.
Having been bullied since childhood for being born without a gift, he is initially portrayed as insecure, being more reserved, especially in front of Bakugo, who has constantly teased him for his aspirations to be a hero. It is worth mentioning that Bakugo’s physical and psychological abuse towards Izuku, whom he refers to with the nickname Deku (a derogatory way of calling a useless person in Japanese) was so extreme that he even incited him to commit suicide.
3. Peter Parker / Spider-Man
Franchise: Marvel Comics
Appeared In: Spider-Man
Spider-Man, sometimes translated as Spider-Man, is a character created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and introduced in Amazing Fantasy #15, published by Marvel Comics in August 1962. a superhero who employs his superhuman abilities, reminiscent of a spider, to combat other supervillains who pursue sinister ends.
Although he has multiple alternate versions that have led to the development of a multiverse, Spider-Man’s origins and main traits have remained largely unchanged over time. His secret identity is usually Peter Parker, a young New York orphan who acquires superpowers after being bitten by a radioactive spider, and whose ideology as a hero is primarily reflected in the expression “with great power comes great responsibility.”
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Franchise: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Appeared In: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The group consists of:
- Leonardo, the blue masked turtle with two katanas. He is the leader of the group and the closest to Splinter.
- Donatello, the purple masked turtle with a bō. He is the scientist of the group and constantly perfects his inventions.
- Raphael, the turtle with the red mask, carries two sai with him. He is the most serious and independent of the group and often makes sarcastic and witty comments.
- Michelangelo, the turtle with the orange mask, uses the nunchakus and later a hook. He is the youngest and most immature member of the team, especially known for being a glutton and the source of several memorable catchphrases in the series such as “Cowabunga!”.
Franchise: DC Comics
Appeared In: Batman: The Animated Series
At the age of eight, Bruce Wayne, the son of billionaire philanthropists, witnessed the murder of his parents, Thomas and Martha, during a street robbery. The event left him traumatized and mentally scarred for the rest of his life. This left Bruce in charge of his family’s butler, Alfred Pennyworth.
Over the years, Bruce slowly turned the pain and trauma he suffered into burning fuel for a lifelong obsession, while undergoing rigorous training in mental and physical conditioning, martial arts, criminology, science, manhunting, medicine. forensics, detective work, interrogation methods. and bullying, for the next few years of his life.
After observing the rampant crime and corruption in Gotham City, he chose to deal with the crime wave in Gotham in his own way, using his years of training and taking an oath to dedicate his life to fighting crime, in an attempt to avenge the crime. murdering his parents and using their pain and suffering to drive him to do good, while adhering to his enforced moral code to never kill and refrain from the use of firearms.
Inspired by the presence of bats, the fear of his childhood, which used to show up in his house, Bruce chose to assume the alias of The Batman, a feared, almost mythical, masked vigilante.