The superhero genre has spent decades trying to get itself taken seriously and move past the camp of the '50s and '60s, with many series in recent years employing layers of grittiness and edge. Despite this, superhero comics are still an inherently fun departure from many other forms of entertainment that are often self-aware and able to make fun of the absurdity of many of its own storylines. While the results of such comedically driven superhero comics vary, they wouldn't be as effective if we didn't have effective comic relief superheroes.
Capable of lightening the mood in the most serious of comics, comic relief heroes have served numerous roles throughout the history of comics. So without further delay, we're going to look back on the top 10 superheroes who provide some comedy relief in comics.
10 The Inferior Five
Many of the best and most memorable comic relief characters in superhero comics are often spins and caricatures of commonly occurring trends in the genre. A parody of superhero teams like the Justice League, the Inferior Five is a team comprised of incompetent heroes with strictly worse variations of common superpowers.
The team's lineup includes such standouts as the team's leader, Merryman, a an individual with high intelligence but extremely weak physical strength, Dumb Bunny, a hero with super-strength but notably low intelligence, and the Blimp, a hero with the ability of flight, but is hindered by hilariously lack of speed.
9 Captain Carrot
DC's everpresent multiverse has allowed for the creation of various humorous creations, but DC's crown jewel of comic relief characters from alternate realities is easily Captain Carrot. An anthropomorphic rabbit with superpowers, Captain Carrot is effectively a hybrid of Superman and Bugs Bunny.
What really brings this character above and beyond is his inclusion in Grant Morrison's The Multiversity, in which we are able to see how the character functions outside his own reality- cartoon physics included.
8 Squirrel Girl
Wielding all the powers of squirrel and all the powers of girl, few heroes can match the combination of hilarity and depth brought to the table by Doreen Green. A hero who prefers to solve problems without fighting, Squirrel Girl has bested many of Marvel's most powerful villains just by talking to them.
One of the most memorable and hilarious examples of Squirrel Girl's approach in super-heroism can be seen in her confrontation with Galactus.
7 Booster Gold
While in recent years Booster Gold has been implemented in comics in a more serious role as he was in Heroes in Crisis, Booster Gold is an inherently hilarious character.
A time traveler who'd initially planned to make a name for himself by performing heroic deeds before those who'd originally performed them, Booster Gold made an impact on many readers through his bombastic personality and his memorable antics alongside Ted Kord.
6 The Great Lakes Avengers
Similar to DC's Inferior Five, the Great Lakes Avengers are a group of seemingly lackluster heroes who are relegated to the Great Lakes Region of the United States.
A more subtle and less heavy-handed approach to an underpowered hero team than the Inferior Five, the Great Lakes Avengers members have included the likes of Flatman, a discount Mister Fantastic who is capable of becoming- well, flat, and Doorman, a hero whose body functions as a portal, allowing him to serve as a human door.
5 Plastic Man
Few characters are able to epitomize the concept of slapstick comedy as well as Plastic Man. Possessing an anatomy with properties equivalent to rubber, Plastic Man is capable of altering his appearance and form to nearly anything he can imagine. He's capable of turning into things as simple as basic shapes, along with things that are as detailed and subtle as a functioning machine or a piece of clothing.
Due to the nature of his powers, Plastic Man has gifted us with more hilarious facial expressions than any other character in the superhero genre.
There is very little about the "Merc with a mouth" that hasn't already been said. The crude, fourth wall breaker has had many memorable stints in comics, whether it be in his escapades with Cable or in his own solo adventures. While characters like Spider-Man will often quip and mock their adversaries, their wisecracks don't even come close to those of Wade Wilson.
Exuding the excessive nature of the '90s via both his use of weaponry and his dialogue, it would be hard to imagine the comedic landscape of comics without Deadpool.
3 Howard The Duck
As one would expect, two traits that are commonly possessed by the vast majority of superheroes are being super and being a hero. Often lacking both of these traits to varying degrees, Howard the Duck is one of the most memorable comic relief characters in all of comics.
Hailing from the dimension of "Duckworld," Howard is effectively an anthropomorphic duck-detective with no real powers. Despite this, he still often manages to get himself involved in all manner of kerfuffles in the Marvel universe, working to solve mysteries both super and mundane alike.
2 Batman (1966)
While Batman himself is often portrayed as a serious creature of the night, Adam West's 1966 version of Bruce Wayne is a completely different story. A memorable take on the character unlike any other, the 1966 version of Batman has recently experienced its own renaissance, inspiring a comic series entirely based off of the over the top camp of Adam West's portrayal of Batman.
Well-intentioned and good-heartedly working within the confines of the law, the 1966 Batman serves as not just a parody of Batman, but of superheroes in general, harkening back to yesteryear's breed of hero.
1 Ambush Bug
While characters like Deadpool may break the fourth wall, no other hero in comics is as much of a self-aware parody as Ambush Bug. With a mash-up styled backstory consisting of elements of various iconic hero origins, Ambush Bug is completely conscious of his status as a fictional comic book character.
The character's strongest showings include the finale of Batman: The Brave and The Bold, and 1992's Ambush Bug Nothing Special in which the character finds himself out of work, directly interacting with the likes of Julius Schwartz.