Superheroes battle for a lot of things – to protect the world, and civilians, from evil forces and cosmic creatures who want to destroy everything. Sometimes superheroes need to sacrifice their all to protect everyone, and sometimes they need to fight for their own lives and the enemies inside them. Sickness is one of the biggest enemies of any being, especially cancer. This notorious disease affects superheroes as well, and it reminds us that they are mortal as well. In this article, we will list 10 mighty superheroes that battled cancer from both Marvel and DC.
1. Foggy Nelson
Foggy Nelson is the best friend of Matt Murdock, also known as Daredevil. He has been Murdock’s friend since college and went through all ups and downs together. After founding their law firm together, which helps the people in need and prosecutes criminals, Foggy at one point got diagnosed with so-called Ewing’s sarcoma, cancer that has formed on his hip. After multiple treatments by Hank Pym, and faking his death, Foggy has beaten cancer and rebuilt his life once again. Foggy Nelson is not a typical superhero that we usually cover here but his dedication to helping people and unceasing support of his best friend and superhero Daredevil make him suitable for this list
All-Star Superman, is one of the most critically acclaimed comic book issues in the last two decades. An emotional story of Superman who is dying of cancer after overexposure to the sun. After that, he decides to help people by accomplishing heroic feats and aiding the world before he dies. This story was not a continuation of a story nor anything, it was an independent piece.
There are 12 issues of the comic book which represent The Twelve Labors of Superman that he completes before he dies. A really emotional story that plays with the heartstrings of many readers and shows us how one alien became human and won over all humankind.
Angelica Jones aka Firestar has been part of the Marvel Comics since the 1980s and since then has been a consistent part of the storylines and arcs of the comics. Her story is really interesting since her illness is connected to her powers – she generates microwave radiation and can manipulate it. However, in comparison to others with similar powers, her immunity to microwave radiation was not complete. Even with the effort of Hank Pym, who made her a suit that will “kickstart” the immunity to her own powers, Firestar was diagnosed with breast cancer. She fought against it and after the latest scans, it was discovered that her cancer is in remission. At the moment of publishing this article, Angelica Jones’s cancer is still in remission.
4. Dennis Sykes (Flux)
This arc is probably one of the most emotional comic volumes in recent Marvel comic years. Dennis Sykes was an ordinary man, who took in a recently-orphaned niece and took care of his wife always wanting to help his community. Seeing the robbery occurring near the hospital, he decided to act, however, when trying to stop it, the robbers took him and poured chemical waste into his mouth. Sykes was left in front of the Baxter Building where the Fantastic Four found him and took care of him. After examination and scans, Mr. Fantastic told Dennis that he has multiple tumors in him and that he will live for only a month.
Accepting his fate and deciding to stay with his family until his death, he realized that with cancer he gained powers as well – he now can manipulate all forms of matter, repairing broken objects, melting walls, creating sculptures, and more. He used his powers for good helping Fantastic Four and the Avengers, and even helping the local children’s hospital. Even with cancer, he tried his all, and after helping the superheroes, he even got invited to the Avengers which he gladly accepted. However, when Sykes came home, he collapsed after exhausting his ill body and died with his wife by his side. The children’s hospital where he helped and volunteered erected a statue in his honor. This comic volume is a must-read.
Wong was also one of the superheroes getting cancer, more specifically, during the New Avengers arc, where Doctor Strange lost his powers and fought with his bare hands. We as the readers learn there that Strange respects his friend and in his words, master Wong. For some, Wong may not be a typical superhero, but we got to say, he truly is.
Wade Wilson never had a clear-cut backstory, but his cancer is really well known in the comics. His healing factor actually came from him seeking a cure and ultimately becoming Deadpool. His breaking fourth wall shenanigans, humor, craziness, and just pure disaster, make Deadpool one of the fan favorites.
Eddie Brock aka Venom is one of the three main arch-enemies of Spider-Man, and one of the characters who from supervillain slowly evolved into an antihero, who wants to do good. Sentient alien symbiote needs a host for surviving, one of them is Eddie Brock, who is also a survivor of cancer. Eddie Brocks connecting with Venom saved his life and initially cured him of this notorious disease. There is a version of Venom in another universe, where the symbiote does not want to bond with him, which leads to Brocks’s inevitable death.
8. Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell)
This is not Carol Danvers that we know today, this is the original Captain Mar-Vell, also known as Walter Lawson, whose character is one of the rare ones whose death was permanent and put aside for decades. In comparison to Carol, he was actually of Kree decent and became Captain Mar-Vell and affiliated with Fantastic Four and others after going to Earth. His story was really emotional. After fighting his nemesis Nitro, during which he breathed in toxic nerve gas, he developed lung cancer which slowly killed him but his Nega-Bands kept him alive. He accepted his death and died surrounded by his fellow superheroes. One of the more compelling stories describes grief, acceptance, and most importantly the love of the close ones. Truly a thrilling story that you should definitely check out.
9. John Constatine
John Constantine, besides being a master in dark magic and sorcery, is also a master in thievery and escape artist. During one run of his runs in the comics, Constantine finds out that he has lung cancer which is terminal. To save his life, he sells the soul to two out of three Lords of Hell. Constantine actually dies of cancer and the Lords of Hell come to pick up his soul. After realizing that Constantine sold his soul to multiple Lords, they gave up and just healed him instead. A true master Constatine is and the Lords played themselves.
10. Thor (Jane Foster)
Last but not least, it is Jane Foster. A talented and brilliant scientist who got romantically involved with Thor in the comics and MCU, after the tragic death of her ex-husband and her son in an accident, got diagnosed with breast cancer. In the Original Sin storyline from the comics, Jane gets a hold of Mjolnir and gains the powers of Thor. This is all happening during Thor’s identity and confidence crisis. After every transformation into Thor, Jane’s chemotherapy treatment becomes useless and her cancer gets more aggressive. She uses Mjolnir to defeat her enemies, destroys the Mjolnir, dies, and gets resurrected by Odin and the God of Tempest. Truly a remarkable story that we will probably see in the new Thor movie.