Super Father’s Day: Top 5 Hero Makers

By June 17, 2012
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Which superheroes have or had the best fathers?

Based on what we know about them directly from their depictions in the comic book stories, which fictional fathers did the best job of raising their children and instilling the kind of character and integrity necessary to become a superhero?

  • @SpringaldJack: There aren’t a lot of good dads in comics that I can think of.
  • @TheCharlieBoyd: for better or for worse, a sad/dramatic childhood makes for better storytelling according to many writers
  • @EvanJGregory: There’s a lot of surrogate fathers (Uncle Ben, etc.) I can tell you which franchise has the worst fathers: X-Men.
  • @CapelessCrusade: Great super-parents: Obsidian & Jade had Alan, Franklin Richards had Reed & Sue, Wonder Woman had Hypollita #comicparents
  • @ComicBookRehab: Batman, Batgirl, Spider-Man, Superman. 2nd ques:Alfred Pennyworth, Jim Gordon and Ben Parker.
  • @DaQuantumFro: Most grateful Reed Richards… Peter Parker and Clark Kent
  • @Kooliebear: Father figures of Bruce&Clark fit with them. Pa Kent was admirable, calm, forgiving. Alfred tough, quiet, poignant,reliable
  • @Unchainedfoodie: Best superhero “fathers” Jonathan Kent, Alfred Pennyworth, Ben Parker, Barry Allen (Wally). None biological!

The top 3 are obvious. Only their order relative to one another would cause much debate. Who else belongs in the top 5? People suggested a wide variety of superheroes with fathers worth recognizing after the big 3. Most of the people quoted herein answered the question, “Which superheroes had the best fathers?” Others named the fathers or father figures instead of the heroes who owe the most on Father’s Day.

  • @brainwise: Reed Richards comes to mind, not because he had a great father but because of his own fatherhood experiences.
  • @Comicspedia: Invincible – for overcoming some soul-shattering hardships and continuing to instill solid family values in his son
  • @DonBuley: Johnny Blaze?
  • @EvanJGregory: Aquaman’s dad was a pretty nice guy wasn’t he? Almost all the other superheros I can think of are orphans.
  • @GoGetTony: Zatanna? Metal Men?
  • @GoldenHalo7: Iron Man should be thankful for his good ole pops. Passed on his intelligence AND his billion dollar empire to his son.
  • @Horace_Austin: The Vision.
  • @Horace_Austin: “Dad. He was the greatest.” – Matt Murdock on Jack Murdock.
  • @LBoxGraveyard: Batwoman’s old man is pretty groovy. Son of Satan has interesting holiday dinners. But I think Thor trumps them all.
  • @onlymaggiej: tangent: is it fair to portray superman as absent dad (last movie)? He didnt know! #unfair I don’t think heroes are good dads
  • @RealThndrMonkey: Most grateful: Reed Richards. Best surrogate fathers: Alfred and Hollis Mason (original Nite Owl).
  • @revsully: I keep coming back to last month’s New 52 EARTH-2 #1 and will say Helena Wayne, the Huntress. #BatmanLovesYou
  • @revsully: Jae & Iris West had a really good dad! OMG…sorry that doesn’t “count” anymore. 😉 #WhereIsWallyWest?
  • @revsully: Hit Girl in Miller/Romita Jrs KICK-ASS
  • @ryukochan: Irmageddon’s hubby, Ron, from Top 10, is one of my comic book dads, even though he’s a bit player.
  • @SpringaldJack: has there ever BESM anything about Capt America’s father?
  • @TrjnRabbit: the kids from The Incredibles.

#5 CABLE

X-Men team leader Scott Summers, a.k.a. Cyclops, lost his infant son in a time travel incident. The son later returned fully grown, calling himself Cable. (You might be surprised to learn how often that kind of thing happens to superheroes, as well as Xena and a certain vampire with a soul, so writers can skip the offspring from infancy to adulthood.) However, later stories that, through a different bit of time travel trickery, Scott visited the future and helped raise the boy who could become Cable.

#4 THOR

  • @cspiroe: I’d go with Thor and Odin
  • @GibboAndy: I’d say Thor but then I’ve read American Gods and Odin is not always a likeable man…
  • @GInvestor888: Thor?
  • @GInvestor888: @LBoxGraveyard Doggone it. U beat me to Thor.
  • @TheCharlieBoyd: Odin is the only father figure that comes to mind and that depends on the writer

Personally I think this is a weird choice for people to name. While we don’t doubt Odin’s love for his family, he raised a spoiled man-child and then imposed an extreme punishment to try to make up for his own centuries of inadequate parenting by casting Thor away, banishing him to Earth without powers even though doing so endangered Thor and all of Asgard. Odin certainly didn’t manage to impart proper values to his adoptive son, Loki.

#3 SPIDER-MAN

  • @borednerdy: Uncle Ben was like a father to me! ^^ -Spidey
  • @cclewia: “with great power comes great responsibility” is there any better “fatherly” advice out there?
  • @EisMC2quared: Amazing Spider-Man
  • @GoldenHalo7: Spiderman for Uncle Ben.
  • @MouthDork: Uncle Ben without a doubt. Although he had to die before his idea of “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” took hold.
  • @revsully: I also see Uncle Ben as almost the same archetype only it’s Urban versus Rural/Farm Upbringing. Perpetuating wisdom, values
  • @turbuLENTZ: Peter Parker/ Uncle Ben

Yes, Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben only ranks third. Ben gave boundless love, patience, and wisdom to the nephew he wound up raising and he taught Peter a powerful lesson, but he’s still be alive if he’d gotten that lesson through to Pete sooner.

#2 BATMAN

Batman receives endless support and wisdom from his butler and surrogate father, Alfred Pennyworth, but doesn’t it kind of seem like Bruce Wayne raised himself? Bruce made his plans and Alfred went along for the ride. People who consider Batman mentally unhealthy might consider Alfred to be the ultimate enabler.

#1 SUPERMAN

  • @Channel23hahaha: I’d go with Superman, but its a tough call.
  • @GeneralJehy: Kent
  • @GoGetTony: Jonathan Kent – whilst Alfred had a fatherly influence, JK taught the Worlds Greatest Hero humility, amongst other things!
  • @GoGetTony: Superman undoubtedly had one of the best (surrogate) fathers.
  • @MayhemComics: agree, Pa Kent
  • @MythicMage: I’m with Pa Kent. #Clark/Superman never forgot what it meant to be human, thanks to dad.
  • @onlymaggiej: kent.He helped w/issues being super created.Uncle ben died too early;alfred is an employee,but both are important for devlp
  • @PacingPete: this is very tough, but I’ll go Pa Kent. He taught Clark so much that made him who he is
  • @revsully: Jon Kent: Instilled Farm Values/Work Ethic. I’d actually like to see more of that out coming Out of #Superman.
  • @SpringaldJack: well if we judge by the well-adjustedness of children they raised, Jon Kent looks like a head and shoulders winner.
  • @willisbrian: #1 is Superman because of Pa Kent
  • @willisbrian: Pa Kent

When comic book writer Len Wein joined Dr. Andrea Letamendi, Dr. Robin Rosenberg, and myself for a San Diego Comic-Con panel last summer, Len said Superman turned out so well because he happened to be raised “by the best parents in the world.”

While we must recognize that, unlike Alfred Pennyworth, Jonathan Kent raised his future son together with mother Martha, Jon still ranks #1 for a huge reason: Either parent had the power to screw Clark up, to cause catastrophe through a single misstep. Raising someone whose single tantrum could level a city, they somehow kept their adoptive son from purposely, accidentally, or incidentally killing a single human being. Without ever uttering the phrase, “With great power comes great responsibility,” Pa Kent successfully taught his son that principle nonetheless.

For Superman and Batman both, remember they also had pretty decent birth fathers as well. Thomas Wayne taught Bruce values and self-control before Alfred came along, and Jor-El sacrificed himself to give his infant son Kal-El the best odds of successfully rocketing away while Krypton blew up.

How do you feel about this list, both in terms of how these fathers and father figures ranked and who else might have gotten left out? Which superheroes would you say owe their dads the most?

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Superherologist

GeekNation friend Travis Langley is the author of the best-selling book Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight.