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Top 10 Superhero Origin Stories

VO: Dan Paradis
Script written by Craig Butler Every superhero has to start somewhere - you don't just start wearing tights and capes for no reason after all. Well, maybe YOU do. Join as we count down the Top 10 Superhero Origins. For this list, we're looking at comic book superhero origins that are especially influential, unusual or just plain cool. And no villains - that's for another list. Special thanks to our user Vannthemann for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by Craig Butler

Top 10 Superhero Origins

Every superhero has to start somewhere - you don’t just start wearing tights and capes for no reason after all. Well, maybe YOU do. Welcome to and today we're counting down the top 10 superhero origins.

For this list, we’re looking at comic book superhero origins that are especially influential, unusual or just plain cool. And no villains - that's for another list

#10: Wonder Woman

How many superheroes can claim they were created from a clay statue and given life by Greek gods? Growing up an amazon, Princess Diana enjoyed the benefits of living a secluded life among immortal women. But when an American pilot crash-landed on their island, a whole new world opened up to her. After she won the right to return the stranger to the outside world, she chose to start a new life there. Man’s world needed the message of peace and justice that she brought with her in her new guise as Wonder Woman.

#9: The Punisher

Frank Castle was a United States Marine with an affinity for getting the job done – and the weapons to do it properly. While on leave in New York, he took his wife and children to Central Park – but they… did not have a good time. The Castles unfortunately found themselves witnesses to a mob hit – and the gangsters didn’t want anyone who saw it to talk. Frank survived, but his family didn’t. Wrong move bad guys. Naturally, he wanted justice, but the police were in the Mafia’s pocket – so Castle put on a costume, grabbed some weapons and brought vigilante justice to a whole new level.

#8: Captain America

In the days leading up to America’s involvement in World War II, a plan was needed to battle the Nazi spies on the home front. 98-pound weakling Steve Rogers was chosen to be the subject of a super-secret Super Soldier project. Injected with an experimental serum, Rodgers became a muscled and agile fighting machine. Unfortunately, a spy not only killed the creator of the serum but also destroyed all traces of the serum itself. The only beneficiary of the serum, Steve became Captain America, a symbol of the ideals America would soon be fighting for.

#7: Wolverine

While most of the X-Men have interesting origins related to the discovery of their mutant powers, Wolverine’s story is definitely the most fleshed out. When his adoptive father was killed by his birth father, John Howlett’s anger brought forth his mutant abilities consisting of bone claws and the ability to heal from almost any injury. The healing power kept Howlett young throughout the decades, and helped him pull through some seriously messy fights. He eventually became part of a secret government program, which used a painful procedure to fuse his bones with adamantium, making his bones and claws almost indestructible. Wolverine eventually joined up with the X-Men – and sales figures speak for themselves.

#6: Daredevil
One of the few Marvel heroes with a secret identity, Matt Murdoch is a lawyer from Hell’s Kitchen. Matt’s father, a boxer whose seen better days, wanted Matt to get an education and make something of himself. An accident with some chemicals rendered Matt blind – but they also heightened all his other senses, more than compensating for his loss of eyesight. After his father was killed by the mob for refusing to throw a fight, Matt decided to fight crime and clean up Hell’s Kitchen. By day, he was blind lawyer Matt Murdoch; by night he was Daredevil, the Man Without Fear.

#5: The Fantastic Four

Scientist Reed Richards, admittedly lofty dream was to explore space. With buddy Ben Grimm, fiance Sue Storm and Sue’s brother, Johnny, Reed piloted an experimental manned rocket into space. After being bombarded by cosmic rays, the four found they had developed unusual abilities. Reed could stretch his body like a rubber band while his wife Sue could turn invisible and project force fields while Johnny could burst into flame and fly. Ben got the short end of the stick and his body was permanently transformed into stone. The quartet banded together as the Fantastic Four – and overnight reversed the financial fortunes of an ailing Marvel Comics.

#4: Iron Man

Tony Stark had it all: women, money and genius. But his charmed life took a nasty turn while demonstrating his new micro-transistor technology in Vietnam, which was later retconed into present day Middle East. Stark was injured in an explosion and ended up with a piece of shrapnel dangerously close to his heart. Taken prisoner by rebels, Stark is help hostage and told to engineer weapons for them to be used against the United States. Stark pretended to work for his captors but instead, he created a suit of armor that protected his heart from the shrapnel and gave him great power. Using the suit to escape, Stark started a new life as a superhero, eventually going on to form the Avengers.

#3: Superman

Who doesn’t know this story? With his home planet Krypton facing destruction, baby Kal-El was placed in a rocket and sent to Earth. A kindly elderly couple, the Kents, raised him as their son, Clark. The yellow sun of the earth gave the boy powers beyond imagination, and made it clear to the Kents that their son was indeed someone truly special. Clark took on the guise as a mild-mannered reporter for the Daily Planet, but he sheds this disguise to fight crime and save the Earth as the one and only Superman. Oh, and he also gave birth to the entire superhero genre along the way.

#2: Spider-man

Teenage drama is well expressed in the story of Peter Parker, a nerdy student who was the butt of derision by the cool kids. Bitten by a radioactive spider, Parker found himself gifted with enhanced strength, an ability to climb walls and a handy-dandy “spider sense” that let him know danger was near. Parker’s initial reaction to his new powers was to earn money by fighting in a wrestling tournament. When a thief ran by him, Peter didn’t bother to get involved – and regretted it when the thief killed his beloved Uncle Ben. From that moment on, Spider-Man vowed to use his awesome powers for good.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The Flash
Doctor Strange


#1: Batman

Billionaire playboys who become heroes, like Green Arrow, got their influence from the Dark Knight. As a young boy, Bruce Wayne saw his parents brutally gunned down in front of him. He spent years training to achieve peak physical and mental condition, in order to fight criminals like those that killed his parents. One night, while pondering how he could use criminals’ natural cowardice against them, a bat flew in Bruce’s window. He took that as a sign and became the dreaded Batman, the scourge of evildoers everywhere. It’s been told many times, but it still packs a considerable punch.

Agree with our choices? What other superhero start-up stories should we have dug up? For more enthralling top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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