88 Marvel Characters To Guide You Through The Marvel Universe
Even if you are not a comic book fan, since Marvel put its characters on the big screen, getting to know them has become so much easier.
The very first Marvel character was the Human Torch (not to be confused with Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four). In daily life, this superhero went under the name of Jim Hammond. Together with two other superheroes, he was introduced in 1939 in the first edition of Marvel comics, which back then was still called Timely Comics. Since the Human Torch opened the edition, he is commonly considered to be the first.
Having changed its name to the one we all know, Marvel rose to fame during what is considered to be the Golden Age of comic books (from 1938 through the mid-1950s). However, a lot of their best-known characters were created later, in the 1960s. Curiously, after almost half a century, when Iron Man opened the Marvel cinematic universe, they were still as attractive and interesting for the modern audience as they were back in the middle of the 20th century.
Even if they claim otherwise, every Marvel fan has one character they like the best, be it for their superpower, character traits, or an interesting arc. Below we have compiled a list of all significant Marvel characters, heroes and villains alike. Let us know which one you like the most and which one should get a standalone movie next.
Ah, the man who was with Marvel way before anyone thought of putting them on the big screen. Some think that it was Lee who created the Marvel comics, and they’re not entirely wrong. While the publishing house that would later transform into Marvel was founded by Martin Goodman, Lee, who worked there as a member of the editorial staff, became the creative leader and co-creator of many characters. After his demise at the age of 95, it is difficult to imagine new Marvel movies without his almost obligatory cameos.
The man who started by building a suit in a cave and went out snapping fingers at the greatest bully the Earth was facing. What makes him stand out among other Marvel characters is that Iron Man’s superpower comes neither from an alien artifact nor tampering with his body, and not even from his money, but from the knowledge and talent of Tony Stark, the scientist. Some people consider him a little too arrogant, but at the end of the day, his charm and sarcastic sense of humor outweigh it.
Marvel didn’t confine itself to using only their original characters but also borrowed from other places. In Thor’s case, from Norse mythology. Because why waste a perfectly good god with a cool weapon, when you can jazz him up a little bit and turn into a superhero. Armed with his legendary Mjolnir, ever since then, Thor has been guarding the nine realms, Earth included. While many believe that the legendary hammer is the source of Thor’s power, it in fact only directs it and helps him control the weather. After all, they don’t call Thor the god of thunder for nothing.
He might be your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get a free pass from him if you break the law or plan to do something that will hurt others. Whether in his quirky high school stage or slightly older college student days, Peter found a way to put his newly acquired agility, strength, and ability to shoot webs to good service. He may not have asked for his superpowers, but he made sure they didn't go wasted. Because we all know what comes with great power.
How does one even begin to describe a shapeshifter? The best word to characterize Loki is “mischief,” even if sometimes (okay, often) it goes beyond harmless pranks. Loki can also be a parenting textbook example of how treating your children differently can influence their life path. Unlike the majority of Marvel villains, Loki got an entire arc, transferring from a villain to the good guys’ team. Of course, he never fully abandoned his mischievous ways (because where is the fun in that), but he became more willing to cooperate with the others to protect the Earth from all sorts of threats.
If “patriotism” needed an illustration in the encyclopedia, a photo of Steve Rogers would be a perfect match – with cross references to “righteousness” and “duty.” After thawing, he may have been a bit of a goody-two-shoes, but we could probably assign that to being frozen for seventy years. In the modern era, Captain America definitely proved to be a quick learner, adapting not only to the current culture but also to his team members’ sarcastic sense of humor and breaking the rules here and there to make sure justice is served. One thing Steve Rogers should definitely be applauded for is his bravery – imagine taking an experimental serum in the 40s, when even approved treatment could be pretty dodgy at times.
Yes, he is an actual magician. Not just any kind of magician, but Sorcerer Supreme. Why would a team of superheroes fighting evil powers need a magician in their midst? Because obviously, not every villain is human or even alien – some have supernatural abilities. And don’t let the artifacts that surround him deceive you. Stephen Strange actually had to study the ancient mystic arts. He is also proficient in martial arts and prior to an accident was a very successful, albeit very arrogant, neurosurgeon. The accident that took away his ability to perform surgery was also the first step on his path of redemption.
Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff)
Make all the fun you want about Natasha cocking a Glock when fighting alongside actual superheroes with superpowers, but in some situations, a good punch in the face works so much more efficiently. Besides being a trained combat warrior, Natasha Romanoff is also a spy, which means stealth and inconspicuousness are her forte. As a Russian spy, Natasha underwent some serious brainwashing and for a long time believed herself to be a former ballerina. Which, given the amount of strain actual ballerinas go through, is a pretty weird memory to plant into your trainee. It’s no wonder that after conducting several missions in the US, Black Widow decided to switch sides and joined the Avengers.
Which Marvel character is directly linked to The Beatles and wears a natural mask? That’s our own expert marksman, weapon specialist and master tactician, Rocket Racoon. He owes his name and some character traits to the 1968 song by The Fab Four, “Rocky Racoon.” Coming from the planet Halfworld, Rocket knows himself to be the chief ranger in charge of its protection. He later learns that he and other anthropomorphic animals were created to guard the inmates of the Asylum for the Criminally Insane. After his first joint mission with Star-Lord, Rocket joins the Guardians of the Galaxy, roaming space and fighting evil.
Much like her superpowers, Wanda’s backstory is pretty complicated. She even believed herself to be a mutant at some point. However, it was later discovered that she was born a normal child, and her powers come from genetic experiments. She starts out as an antagonist but figures out her priorities and directs her extraordinary abilities to fight evil. With all her family members disappearing from her life in one way or another, Scarlet Witch has to deal with lots of grief. Sometimes it means trapping people in a bunch of vintage TV shows, but eventually, she comes around.