Pretty much every superhero in comic books has a superpower that isn’t really mentioned. Sure, some billionaire genius could, theoretically, learn how to build powerful metal suit and fight crime similar to Iron Man. However, that person still won’t have all the superpowers of Tony Stark. You see, Tony Stark is a ridiculously attractive man. Wonder Woman, in addition to being a badass warrior that could pretty much dominate any foe, is also incredibly beautiful. Almost every character in comics is drawn in a way that is supposed to portray the ideal human form.
Characters like Tony Stark and Diana Prince are more than just good looks, however. When you read the adventures of Captain America, you don’t think about how sexy Steve Rogers is. Well, maybe you do, but that’s not all you care about. Unfortunately, for some characters, their appearance trumps most everything else about them. Let’s take a look at eight male and eight female characters in comics who are viewed as being more “hot” than “hero.”
Starfire might have become the most sexualized character in superhero comics, and that’s saying something. Debuting back in 1980, in “DC Comics Presents” #26, Starfire was always drawn scantily clad. Her orange skin and red hair were the center of attention, with just a few purple strips of fabric covering her body. It’s hard to justify her outfit and sexualization when some of her most famous scenes in comics revolve around her lack of clothing.
Sure, critics might say that her barely-there costume was a product of the time. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, comic book fans responded to female characters that were dressed in next to nothing. However, when DC began the “New 52” relaunch, they came under fire from readers with their new version of Starfire. Her already skimpy costume was reduced even more to being almost non-existent. She appeared in a bikini and nude in scenes, and it was almost as if readers were transported back to the mid-‘90s “Marvel Swimsuit Special.” It wasn’t until recently that the character has received a much more appropriate costume.
Hercules isn’t afraid of admitting he’s an attractive guy. Why else would he wear a costume that lacks a shirt and pants if he wasn’t a confident demigod? With muscles on top of muscles, a hairy chest, and most recently, a man-bun, Hercules is clearly portrayed as a sex symbol to readers. He’s basically a version of Thor with much less clothing.
In the comics, Hercules’ sex appeal has been on display numerous times. One of the most clear examples of this is in “Hercules: Fall of an Avenger” #1, when four separate female heroes all speak of their sexual conquests with Hercules. It’s even hinted that Northstar, an openly gay character, hints that he slept with Hercules. The characters even go on to talk about how he’s a sexist pig. Recently, the Internet went nuts when the recent Hercules series was announced. Not because of any particular story, but because the character looked hot with a man bun and hairy chest.
14. EMMA FROST
If you ask a comic book fan to name the first thing they would say to describe Emma Frost, odds are it’ll be a physical attribute. Emma Frost’s sexuality has been at the forefront of the character since her early appearances. Before she turned hero and became one of the central X-Men, her stint as the White Queen featured the character in very revealing white lingerie. Even when the character joined the good guys, her “assets” were still on display for all to see.
When Frank Quitely redesigned the character for “New X-Men,” her costume consisted of an impossibly constructed top that had a huge “X” cut out in the front. The exact physics of the costume were never explained, but it’s clear that the artist was trying to emphasize her sexuality. The costume has since been updated, thankfully, but her sex appeal is still front and center, even today. Just searching “Emma Frost” in Google Images shows you exactly how she’s viewed. There aren’t any panels from her appearances in years of comics. Instead, it’s all sexually suggestive pictures.
If you talk to many comic book fans that entered puberty in the ‘90s, they might list Gambit as the cause of their sexual awakening. Maybe it was the Cajun accent? Or perhaps it’s the dark, red eyes? Either way, Gambit will go down as one of the all-time sexiest characters in the Marvel Universe. The character is one of the few on this list with a costume that covers almost his entire body, down to just leaving his face and hair exposed. This modesty doesn’t stop Gambit from being a character that’s known for his sex appeal.
Let’s put the massive nature of his sex appeal in perspective. Gambit is not a great hero. In fact, he is responsible for the massacre of the Morlocks by the Marauders. He led the killers to the Morlock tunnels, and then went on to hide this from his fellow X-Men. Even with doing something so despicable, fans still pine over the Cajun hero. In fact, if you ask readers to name one defining characteristic of Gambit, they’d probably mention his love affair with fellow X-person, Rogue, and forget the horrible atrocity that he allowed to happen. There’s no denying that Gambit is much more of a sex symbol than a hero.
12. LADY DEATH
Let’s play a game. Think of one thing about Lady Death other than her looks. Do you know her real name? Do you know her backstory involving witchcraft and her evil father? Statistically, if you’re reading this, you probably just know that she has large breasts, hardly any clothes, and each cover has her posing in a suggestive way. The truth is most comic book fans have seen Lady Death, but maybe haven’t read her series. She is one of the prime examples of the excessively sexualized female characters of the ‘90s.
Created by Brian Pulido as a fantasy of Evil Ernie in “Evil Ernie” #1, Lady Death has evolved over the years into a much more nuanced character. She went on to gain popularity due to her over-the-top sexuality. Now, this isn’t to say that the character is a joke and shouldn’t be treated seriously. If she weren’t an interesting character, then she wouldn’t have survived over 25 years in comics. However, that being said, she is still known for her looks above anything else. The moral of the story is to go out and buy some Lady Death books and learn a couple facts!
Namor might go down in history as the male hero with the most revealing costume. Wearing only the tiniest green speedo, Namor is the very attractive mutant who rules the seas. He is maybe the very first comic book “bad boy” dating back to his first appearance in 1939. Now, almost 80 years later, he is still known for his sex appeal, in the real world and the fictional world alike.
The most famous storyline featuring Namor is actually an ongoing story with the Invisible Woman, Sue Richards. Dating back to some of his earliest appearances in the Silver Age, he has been the bad boy that Sue Richards has been drawn to but can never have. His good looks and anti-hero nature make him a very desirable character. Considering most people know him for his revealing costume, and his pseudo-love affair with Sue Richards, it’s easy to see how Namor lands on this list.
Vampirella is a character that is almost entirely defined by her looks. While she has been in comic book series regularly since her debut in “Vampirella” #1 in 1969, the character has largely been known for her incredibly skimpy outfit. Even in her very first comic, the cover is drawn by the legendary Frank Frazetta and shows Vampirella front and center with her legs spread and one hand placed suggestively on her hip.
Now, you can always say that vampires throughout pop culture have always been portrayed as sexual beings. Part of their appeal is that they’re dark, mysterious and sexy. However, the sex appeal dial is turned to 11 with Vampirella. Unlike others on this list that have gone through multiple costume changes and character reboots, Vampirella’s costume has consistently been the same character since her debut, in her signature impractical costume. It wasn’t until very recently that creators have decided to cover her cleavage and focus more on the action/adventure side of the character.
If you have been reading comics since the mid-‘90s, you are probably aware of the (in)famous “Marvel Swimsuit Special” issues. These issues featured the most popular male and female Marvel superheroes in their swimsuits, drawn by some of the best artists in comics. One of the most famous images is that of Colossus getting washed by a few unnamed women, his huge metallic muscles being flexed, with his shorts unzipped. It’s so over-the-top that it’s almost silly.
It’s hard to believe that a hero that’s usually shown not even have normal flesh would be known for his sex appeal, but Colossus definitely is. While he’s been a longstanding member of the X-Men, Colossus has always been known for his massive frame and surprisingly skimpy costume. Unlike other “sexy” heroes known for their bad boy qualities, people are drawn to Colossus because he’s generally really sweet and caring, not only with his affection towards Kitty Pryde but also with his sister Illyana. Even with his sweet personality, comic book fans will probably never forget his “centerfolds” from those old swimsuit issues.
Psylocke comes in as our fourth X-Men character on the list. It’s hard to pin down why the X-Men characters tend to fall into the “sexy” categories, but honestly, you could probably come up with a dozen or so to fill another similar list. More so than the other X-people on this list, Psylocke has been a character almost completely defined by her sex appeal to readers.
Unlike Emma Frost, who arguably has a story reason to dress how she does, Psylocke is scantily clad only for the reader’s enjoyment. Sure, you can say that she is supposed to resemble a ninja, but you’d be hard-pressed to find other ninjas outside of the Marvel Universe dressed this way. She’s also a character that was reimagined as a sex symbol. Before her famous outfit, Psylocke was a pretty boring looking character. It wasn’t until she lost her pants and bent over all the time that readers really started to care about the character enough for her to garner enough focus resulting in some true character development. Her costume is so iconic, it’s one of the few costumes featured in the “X-Men” films that is almost completely untouched from its comic book counterpart. Goes to show you how much the costume defines the character.
Nightwing is basically the Batman that readers are allowed to fantasize about. While Batman himself is never seen as a sex symbol due to his violent nature and parent issues, Dick Grayson is the opposite. He has a dark past, which makes him a “bad boy,” but he also is more fun and carefree than Bruce Wayne. Also, he comes from an acrobatic background, which means that many of his poses on covers feature him doing the splits and showing off his…ummm…rear region.
Let’s be frank, Nightwing has a great butt. Every person on the face of the Earth, no matter their sexual orientation, would have to agree with that point. There are blogs scattered around the Internet devoted to Nightwing’s derriere, not that we suggest doing those Google searches unless you’re in the privacy of your own home. The real world’s love affair with Dick Grayson’s buttocks has bled over into the fictional universe as well, with characters going so far as to name each of his butt cheeks. Needless to say, Nightwing is definitely deserving of a place on this list.
6. POWER GIRL
If Nightwing is known for his toned rear, then Power Girl is known for the “boob window.” While the character has a long, storied history in the DC Universe, most readers will only know her by her incredibly silly costume. While there are characters that show more skin than Power Girl, her costume still ranks as one of the most sexualized because of the big hole in the fabric in the middle of her large breasts that serves nothing reason but to show an abundance of cleavage.
Also, like Nightwing’s booty, Power Girl’s boobs have been the subject of many, many in-continuity jokes. From characters shaming her for her costume to Power Girl even acknowledging the fact that most males tend to look down at her chest instead of up at eye-level. No matter the controversy surrounding the infamous boob window, in many readers’ minds, Power Girl is defined by her chest. Hopefully, at some point in the future, she will get that chest symbol that she has been searching for.
Starfox is probably the only hero in the Marvel Universe actually defined by his sexuality, not just to outside readers, but also to the characters in the universe. Describing Starfox as an actual hero is a bit of stretch. It’s more fitting to call him a cosmic womanizer that goes around the Marvel Universe attempting to seduce female characters. He is most definitely more hot than hero.
Starfox is actually Eros of Titan, a member of the Eternals and brother to none other than Thanos. Unlike his cranky brother, Eros is much more of a free spirit. He is more concerned with the hedonistic side to life. Thus, when readers think of Starfox, pretty much all you can think about is his sexual history. In one story, in an issue of “She-Hulk,” Starfox is actually put on trial for sexual assault because it’s alleged that he used his powers of seduction to entice a happily married woman. More than any other character on this list, Starfox is rightfully, and admittedly, more of a sexual being than a hero.
Pick a random issue of “Witchblade” prior to the last year or so of its run and you’d be hard-pressed to find a cover that didn’t feature the main character sexualized. Obviously, the biggest reason for the sexual nature of the covers is the fact that the character’s costume is basically the most unrealistic armor ever seen. Basically just enough armor to cover her arm, her nipples and only the bare minimum below the belt, Sara Pezzini’s costume is pretty ridiculous. It’s no surprise when most people would define the character based on her appearance than on her actual heroics.
It has been proven in the short-lived “Witchblade” TV series and more recent comics that the character of Sara Pezzini can wield the Witchblade without losing her clothes. Unfortunately, most of the comic book version of the character has never really had this as an option. Eventually, without fail, Sara finds herself in a state of undress. When your main character is almost nude throughout the series, it’s not surprising that readers would associate her with her looks instead of her actions.
3. THOR (MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE)
Could you imagine anyone other than Chris Hemsworth playing Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Probably not. It’s not because his acting is Oscar-worthy, either. It’s because of that scene in the first “Thor” movie where he walks around without a shirt, right? Don’t say no, you know we’re right. No other hero in modern superhero movies is viewed as more eye-candy than hero than Chris Hemsworth’s Thor.
The comic book version of Thor has never really been a sex symbol. Sure, he’s incredibly good looking, as the God of Thunder probably should be, but he’s never been viewed as sexier than, say, Wolverine. However, when Thor debuted on the big screen, anyone with eyes saw that Chris Hemsworth’s Thor is most definitely a sex symbol. It’s become so much of an issue that the recent Thor shorts directed by Taika Waititi even poked fun at Thor’s big muscly physique. His looks are so vital to the character that when fans saw his new look in “Thor: Ragnarok,” they obsessed over his haircut more than anything else.
The character of Dawn, as drawn by Joseph Michael Linsner, oozes sex appeal. She’s the goddess of birth and rebirth as seen in various comics since the late ‘80s, but many comic book readers probably recognize her by her sexy clothing and red hair. Almost every cover featuring the character depicts her in assorted lingerie with an emphasis placed on her breasts. Similar to Lady Death, Dawn is probably more recognized from ads in Wizard Magazine than in her actual comic series.
Debuting in “Cry for Dawn” #1 way back in 1989, the character has only show up sporadically throughout the decades. However, when people think of the hottest female characters in comics, she’ll always rank highly. She is so defined by her looks that Dragon Con held a Dawn look-a-like contest from 1998 to 2010, even when the character wasn’t seen in any recent comic books. Now, don’t think that we are somehow saying that the character isn’t a great character because her looks are so important, but rather that the iconic design by Linsner has allowed the character to live on through the years based on looks alone.
You probably don’t remember the 1974 Sean Connery film “Zardoz.” No one can blame you because the film was a massive flop for the actor. However, the outfit worn by Connery in the film will go down as one of the most ridiculous in cinema history. Coincidentally, that same year, DC Comics decided to debut a new character named Vartox, who looked an awful lot like Sean Connery, probably thinking that sexuality would carry over to comics.
Vartox belongs on this list, not because of his sexy nature, but because of how he was created to be sexy and ultimately failed. Unfortunately, over the years, the sexy nature of his design was lost, and the ridiculous costume and silly look defined the character. His look is also lampooned a bit in his appearance in “Power Girl.” There, he tries to woo Power Girl into helping him repopulate his home world. He dons a black leather speedo and see-thru robe, trying to show how sexy he is. Unlike others on this list who are actual sex symbols, Vartox is here because he was created to be a sex symbol, but fans never really bought into it.
Any other superhotties — er, we mean superheroes — who should be on this list? Let us know who in the comments!