Who knew picking favorite superheroes could be so complicated?
You may recall that USDish recently released the results of a national study showing the favorite comic book hero in every state; Captain America, the star-spangled superstar famously portrayed by Sudbury native Chris Evans, was tops here in Massachusetts, and Deadpool was the winner nationally, taking 13 states.
But Boston.com readers immediately questioned the veracity of the study, noting that the map from USDish showing the winning heroes mixed up New Hampshire and Vermont (something real-life Green Mountain State hero Bernie Sanders would no doubt forcefully decry); also, Montana was on there twice. (Sorry, North Dakota, no superheroes for you.)
Also, as we pointed out, Spider-Man, objectively the best superhero, didn’t take a single state, rendering the whole enterprise moot in our opinion.
Well, it turns out that Boston.com readers had their own ideas. Among the more than 100 readers who responded, Captain America took a distant fourth, with your friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man eking out third place, just behind Black Panther. As for the top spot, it was a runaway win for another skyscraper-scaling do-gooder, the Batman. (Thanks to local favorite Ben Affleck, perhaps?)
“Batman is my favorite because he wasn’t born with a super power. His super power is hard work and 100% commitment to what he believes in,” said Apock of Central Mass. “Also, very personally, Batman often feels isolated and alone, which can be very relatable sometimes.”
Chris S. of Worcester, meanwhile, was more succinct in his explanation about choosing the Caped Crusader: “Batman. Because he’s Batman!”
As for least favorite hero, the Man of Steel himself topped that list, with readers finding Superman just a little too perfect. Plus, “he strung Lois Lane along,” according to CB of Haworth, N.J.
Supes was followed on the least-fave list by Batman (not everybody loves him, apparently — “he’s a big kid with toys,” scoffed one Boston.com reader), and that perennial punching bag Aquaman, Jason Mamoa’s popular portrayal aside.
See below for Boston.com readers’ reasoning behind their choices for favorite and least favorite heroes.
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Favorite superhero — Pow!
“Batman, a powerless but powerful anti-hero who uses his personal pain and loss to do the right thing. Close second is Captain America who does the right thing all the time.” — Chris
“Batman. Because he is amazing.” — Brent L., Wenham
“Batman has a tortured soul, yet he has found the way to grieve through fighting against the very elements which took his parents and peace of mind.” — Dennis, Easthampton
“Captain America. I feel bad for him, he’s the man out of time, and he always tries to do the right thing.” — N., Boston
“Deadpool. He’s real with you and funny.” — Anonymous, Worcester
“Iron Man! He is smart, rich, handsome, heroic and still has a tender side.” — Tracy L., Westford
“Punisher. Because he’s a merciless a**-kicker.” — Bill, Brighton
“Silver Surfer. He flies through space on a surfboard! How can you top that!” — Daniel P., Boxford
“Spider-Man. Easy to relate to his everyday issues with work and relationships. Always down on his luck, even though he always does the right thing which I think is something many people can relate to.” — Anonymous
“Spider-Man is a regular, goofy, awkward high schooler who has as many problems in his personal life as he solves in his superhero life.” — Kevin, Foxboro
“Storm [from X-Men]. She is powerful and compassionate, and a longtime member of a team of heroes who represent society’s underdogs and marginalized members, fighting both for a better world and for equity and social justice. She doesn’t work for the government or corporate interests. Sometimes, in the history of her team, the X-Men, she’s an outlaw — but not an edgy antihero who kills people casually or is too cool for school; rather because governments and institutions are prejudiced and corrupt. She’s a genuinely good role model and a character with decades of excellent storytelling and characterization under her belt — including relatable personal and moral struggles, and strong relationships with her teammates.” — AJ, Brighton
“Superman. He was my first superhero — and he can fly.” — Coach, Natick
“Superman. The first … and the best origin … the best villains … the best powers. Still ‘faster than a speeding bullet…’” — Anonymous
“Wolverine. He has great backstories. And he’s vicious to bad guys.” — RL, Falmouth
Least favorite superhero — Bam!
“Anyone magical. Once a problem can be solved with magic, comic book writers can get lazy with their stories and solve the problem or conquer the villain with a little bit of magic at the end of the story.” — Apock, Central Mass.
“Aquaman … Something’s fishy about him.” — Brent L., Wenham
“Batman, so sick of his emo attitude and he’s really rich; he has no super powers except for his brooding. He’s a big kid with toys.” — Anonymous, Boston
“Green Arrow/Hawkeye — archery is fun but not a superpower.” — Daniel P., Boxford
“Harley Quinn — convicted psycho and killer. How is that a hero?” — Bobster, Lunenburg
“Hulk — too many changes and colors over the years.” — Dick D., Norwood
“Magneto. He’s an old, rich, powerful man with absolutely no morals and will stop at nothing to get his way, even destroying America.” — Neil, Boston
“Robin, Batman’s sidekick. He’s lame, lol.” — Bill, Brighton
“Squirrel Girl. I don’t like squirrels, they’re like tree rats.” — Anonymous, Shirley
“Superman. He is unrealistic. The ‘ideal’ American, but indestructible. Unrelatable.” — Anonymous, Worcester
“The Punisher. The ultimate maverick antihero, a white man who sets himself up as judge, jury and executioner. Gritty, edgy, and a popular symbol for people with violent power fantasies. Gross.” — AJ, Brighton
Boston.com occasionally interacts with readers by conducting informal polls and surveys. These results should be read as an unscientific gauge of readers’ opinion.