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Top 25 UK-Born Super-Heroes that Originated in British Comic Books

I'm using a fairly loose, but common definition of "Superhero" here. Basically heroic characters who either have powers, or use an elaborate set of gadgets and have superhero-style code-names.

Generally if you were to ask someone in Britain about our comics you would probably have them talk about a plethora of humourous naughty children, WW2 soldiering, or perhaps 2000AD. However in the 60s UK costumed adventurers were quite commonplace and were shifting huge numbers, with comics starring characters such as The Steel Claw, and Robot Archie selling in the hundreds of thousands.

The list was more difficult to make than I thought it would be. Its one thing to find Super-Heroes in UK comics, but quite another to find notable British superheroes, as many of our more famous characters are either set in other countries (Judge Dredd, Tank Girl) or are aliens (Nemesis the Warlock, Death's Head).

I honestly could've gone all the way up to 50, but most of the characters would've been short-lived, unremarkable knock-offs of famous characters, I'm happier with these 20 that I think are interesting.

EDIT: This is an older version of the list, to see the up to date version go here -

List items

  • John "Judge Dredd" Wagner's other long-lived character. Johnny Kreelman was the mutant son of a mutant-hating politician dedicated to wiping out their race, as such Johnny was treated as a burden and embarrassment by his father, and his mutant nature was hidden from himself as well as the general public. Eventually he changed his name to "Alpha" and left to become one of the leaders of the mutant resistance.

    The character's mutation allows him to see through objects and read minds, he also has a lot of gadgets. I put him above more famous characters mainly because he has had a much larger body of consistently good material over the years.

    Managed to Place at 27th in Empire's "Top 50 Greatest Comic Characters" list.

  • The character of V originally appeared in the UK comic Warrior as a creator owned project (along with Alan Moore's Marvelman). When Warrior was cancelled V for Vendetta was colourised and reprinted in the United States by Vertigo.

    V is an anarchist working to bring down a totalitarian government in Britain, the lone survivor of a sequence of cruel experiments.

    The only character here who has his own movie (so far?).

  • Marvelman/Miracleman was originally a long-lived and popular British copy of Captain Marvel. Alan Moore rebooted and re-imagined the character during the 80s with a deconstructionist take on the character with "man as god" themes.

    Marvelman was an experiment by the British government to merge alien and human DNA in an effort to create something they could use as a military weapon.

  • Captain Britain is the newest addition to the list. I actually didn't realise when I first created this list that his first appearance was in a comic book published by Marvel UK and released only in Britain. Heck Chris Claremont was born in England to boot!

    Captain Britain is a mystical superhero, Marvel's version of Merlyn the magician bestowed upon him the powers and status of Champion of Britain after he had been gravely injured.

    The character had a dodgy start and went through a lot of revisions over the years, but when Alan Moore and Alan Davis got their hands on him he really started to take shape as a fully formed concept and much more interesting character.

    The "Crooked World" story arc written by Alan Moore definitely has to be one of the best and most underrated superhero stories of the era.

  • Popular Celtic warrior-king from historic Northern Ireland.

    Slaine is an experienced axe-wielding fighter who can go through a transformation known as a "warp-spasm" which turns him into a huge, monstrous figure of unbridled violence.

    The story is like a subversive mixture of Conan and H.P. Lovecraft

  • Like Captain Britain, Psylocke made her debut in 1976 in a publication from the London-based Imprint "Marvel UK", and was not actually seen in American comics until 1986 when she debuted there in a New Mutants Annual. The character was also created by England-born Chris Claremont.

    Psylocke started out as a supporting character in Captain Britain (she's his Blonde twin sister). Alan Moore later fleshed her out and introduced the now iconic Purple hair, she then had a brief stint as Captain Britain herself before being brought over to X-Men by Claremont in the 80s.

  • Bananaman is a humourous super-hero pastiche who managed to gain a lot of popularity in the 1980s after starring in his own cartoon show.

    The character gains a range of abilities, such as super speed, super strength, and flight whenever he eats a Banana, but his glaring incompetence usually causes him to foul everything up until some good fortune saves him at the last moment.

    Apparently he has an upcoming movie planned in 2015, oddly enough.

  • A secret agent with a prosthetic steel claw that makes him invisible and can fire out electrical blasts (using it this way runs the power down faster though).

    The Steel Claw dealt with a lot of evil scientists, spies, and super-villains over the years and was even made into a costume-wearing superhero for a short time before being brought back in the early 70s closer to his original concept.

    Long after his initial run The Steel Claw has had cameos in Grant Morrison's Zenith, and 2005's Albion miniseries. Analogues of him have appeared in Captain Britain stories by Alan Moore, and more recently in Jack Staff comics now published by Image.

  • Brash and arrogant British robot who was a mainstay of Fleetway comics for 20 years. He traveled the world (and sometimes even time) with two useless companions that he would regularly have to bail out of trouble who would incessantly argue like an old couple.

    He's a likeable old character, has some super-strength, durability etc. Like The Steel Claw, every now and then Archie still manages to make the odd appearance.

  • Square-jawed 1960s hero who discovered a magic gem in an ancient temple that makes him invulnerable to harm whilst also increasing his strength and speed.

    You'd think with invulnerability as a power he'd be invincible, well... unfortunately he's a bit naive and butter-fingered so he tends to lose his magic gem quite regularly!

  • Luther is a member of a group of people that are dedicated to protecting the multiverse from attack and destruction. He has the rare ability to shift to different dimensions through force of will, and also has a variety of other powerful psychic abilities.

    The character originally appeared in a number of different small press comics including "Near Myths" a kind of forerunner to the 80s comic book Warrior. The series had publication problems for many years but was eventually picked up by Dark Horse comics.

    Highly influential on Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, CoIE etc etc.

  • Grant Morrison's character, Zenith, was his first foray into the super-hero genre, and has gained a lot of praise over the years for being a bit left-field.

    The character is a mean-spirited young-adult with superman-esque abilities who is only really interested in having fun and enjoying himself (though it must be said that on occasion he has been talked into risking his life and rising to the challenge).

    Zenith's third story arc was Grant Morrison's attempt at doing a Crisis on Infinite Earth's story, and featured many of Britain's old superheroes from the 50s and 60s.

  • Off-shoot character from Strontium Dog (Johnny Alpha's comic)

    Durham Red is a mutant who's mutation is similar to Vampirism, she uses her job as a bounty hunter to legally track down deserving victims for food.

    Durham is a bit of a loner, as other Mutants, as well as humans generally distrust and fear her. She grew up on the streets after she accidentally killed both of her parents as a child.

    Most of Durham Red's off-shoot stories were written by Dan Abnett, who later gained some popularity for his Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova runs for Marvel.

  • Peter St John is an aging Superhero from the Zenith series who went from being the archetypal 60s hippie in his youth to an uptight Conservative politician working under Maggie Thatcher in the 80s!

    The character is the no-nonsense backbone of the comic, always begrudgingly stepping up to the challenge when the chips are down.

    His true motives are shrouded in mystery and are probably a bit shady.

  • British character steeped in old UK comics lore that was originally self-published by the writer but was later picked up by Image Comics for subsequent volumes.

    The character uses a staff and has some level of energy manipulation, he also doesn't seem to age, reportedly being over a hundred years old.

    Has apparently had cameo's in Savage Dragon and Invincible.

  • Another Vampire, this time an off-shoot from Judge Dredd comics.

    Devlin Waugh was a gay, supernatural investigator for the Vatican who was infected by a group of ravenous vampires whilst trying to protect a bunch of civilians.

    Luckily Devlin's "good breeding" cultured nature, and stiff upper lip allowed him to retain all of his senses after turning, and fight off his vampiric bloodlust, retaining his humanity.

  • Likeable Super-heroine from girls comics "Sally" and "Tammy". Cat Girl was the daughter of a private detective who found a mystic Cat suit which enhanced her agility and speed.

    She's not much of a fighter (I've seen her get KO'd by a fat guy wielding a shoe before, lol) but she is definitely not lacking in smarts or stealth ability, both of which she regularly uses to solve crimes and aid her father from behind the scenes.

  • Popular and long-lived teenage superhero who appeared in the comic "Buster" before it became a humour-only comic book.

    The Leopard loses points because the whole plot outline is lifted wholesale from Spider-Man! The Leopard gained his powers by being scratched by a radioactive Leopard! he has to take photograph's of himself for a local newspaper to help out his sick aunt, and the owner of the newspaper even hates the Leopard too!

    Outside of the main plot outline though its very different, it feels a bit like the TV show "Grange Hill" at times, and the plots tend to be a lot more down to Earth.

  • Like Billy the Cat, General Jumbo is another vintage Superhero from the Beano that is most likely aimed at younger children.

    He has an army of remote controlled toy soldiers and vehicles that obey his every command, they were given to him by a local scientist.

  • Another Cat-themed character, this seems to have been a popular super-hero theme in the UK (there's also The Cat from "Catch the Cat" but that one is set in France).

    Billy is a hero from the Beano who trained to be a vigilante after his parents (who were both police officers) died during a high speed chase. He has peak human attributes and is able to easily throw grown adults through the air and jump to a roof from the ground.

    He's kind of like a posh English-kid version Batman I guess, lol.

  • Immortal man who was cursed to live forever. He travels time and space righting wrongs and fighting injustice in an effort to gain penance.

    Adam Eterno has some slight super-strength and is invulnerable to everything but Gold. Unfortunately in Adam's world Gold weapons seem to be incredibly common and you can't go for more than a couple of hours before someone with a sword made out of Gold, Gold bullets, or a pet monster made out of gold turns up and tries to kill you.

    To be honest I think his premise makes him sound better than he actually is, his stories tend to get a bit samey after a while, he does have some enduring popularity though.

  • Another British take on the Captain Marvel character, this time from the company Amalgamated Press (this was Fleetway's name before they were bought up).

    Thunderbolt Jaxon was a young English orphan who stumbled across the belt of the thunder god Thor. Whenever he buckled the belt in the service of good he was turned into a herculean adult with super-strength who could fly.

    The character was popular in the 1950s and ended up being reprinted by Fleetway over the years in both "Comet" and "Buster" comics (sometimes under different names). Later He had a small cameo in Grant Morrison's Zenith, and there was an unsuccessful attempt at a revival in 2006 from Wildstorm Comics.

  • Carrier of the G+ Virus, a terminal sexually-transmitted disease that causes people to gain superpowers for a short period of time before their bodies are completely burnt out after a few months.

    Verity decided to use her remaining days on Earth to fight against other carriers of the virus who had gone on rampages.

  • Over-the-top hero created by Mark Millar.

    The character is a no-nonsense, gun-toting priest who lives in a world where death is no longer permanent (so.... kind of like the world's in all super-hero comics then lol).

    Essentially in his world Judgement Day has come and failed which has resulted in the dead kind of perpetually "re-birthing" because their souls have nowhere to go any more. As such everyone who ever lived is now walking the Earth and interacting with each other.

    The series had a great premise, but unfortunately never really reached its full potential.