Comic book creators have thought of numerous ingenious ways to write superheroes over the years. Billionaires with lots of money to spend on expensive weaponry, scientists that have conducted failed experiments, or people who were just born with inherent abilities have all been great ideas for characters. One highly common theme is for superheroes to have animalistic traits. This is either because an animal has caused them to gain the powers, or their powers are reminiscent of an animal’s. Deciding who the best animal-like superhero turns out to be quite a tough choice.
Animalistic Traits Are Popular in All Forms of Entertainment
Before diving into this discussion, it is interesting to think why humans with animal-like traits have been so common in mainstream entertainment over the years. Looking back through books, films, comics, and games, there have been countless occasions where characters have taken on the appearance or abilities of an animal.
There are plenty of games that allow players to take control of people with animalistic traits. Offerings like Black Widow, one of the free slots at VegasSlotsOnline, feature a leading character with the characteristics of an animal. In this title from IGT, the Black Widow is a female who is dangerous and deadly, just like the spider. There aren’t actually any arachnids featured in the game but there are cobweb symbols on the reels. These represent how the character can trap her enemies. Another example is in The Witcher series, where the main character, Geralt of Rivia, has traits of a wolf. This is because he is from the School of the Wolf, and he can use his powers to follow his enemies’ tracks easily.
There are some other famous instances of people taking on the traits of animals outside of the comic book world. For instance, one of the best known examples is The Fly, a short story from George Langelaan that was made into films in 1958 and 1986. More recently, in the Harry Potter series, some characters were Animagi, which meant they could transform into animals.
These animal themes date all the way back to Ancient Greek mythology and have continued ever since then. In many of the great stories from that time, there were animal/human hybrids, and Zeus himself transformed into various different animals.
Spider-Man is probably the best-known superhero with animalistic traits because he has appeared in so many comics and films over the years. The character was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and made his first appearance in Amazing Fantasy in 1962. Spider-Man got his powers when Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider. This gave him a lot of the abilities associated with arachnids.
Spider-Man’s skills fit perfectly with what spiders are capable of, and this almost governs what writers can do with the superhero. Some of the amazing powers include being able to cling to walls and, in some adaptations, shoot webs from his wrists. The fact that there are limitations to his powers make Spider-Man an interesting character, and can lead to him getting into some hairy situations. For instance, he has sometimes been known to run out of web.
It is interesting to note that a lot of Spider-Man’s enemies have animalistic traits as well. For instance, Doctor Octopus has numerous mechanical legs, and the Lizard is a scientist that has transformed into a massive reptile.
As the name suggests, the comic book character Wolverine shares a lot of similarities with the animal upon which he is based. These include heightened senses and extendable claws. The original concept for the fierce hero was that he was a mutated wolverine cub that had evolved into humanoid form. In the end, creators Len Wein, Roy Thomas, and John Romita Sr. decided that he would be a mutant, just like the other X-Men.
The legendary character first appeared in 1974 in The Incredible Hulk. He became more of a regular in Marvel comics throughout the 1980s, and quickly became a fan favourite. Although he isn’t always written as a member of the X-Men, he has appeared in most adaptations of the comic on television and in film. Most recently, he was portrayed by Hugh Jackman in the various X-Men films released by 20th Century Fox. The Australian actor was born for the role, and helped to boost Wolverine’s popularity massively.
Vixen is a relatively lesser-known character outside of comic book circles, but this could be about to change now that she has her own series in the Arrowverse. She was first written in Action Comics in 1981, and takes the idea of having animalistic traits to another level. While Spider-Man and Wolverine are restricted to having pretty much the same abilities as the animals upon which they are based, Vixen is able to harness the powers of any animal that has ever existed.
In order to muster the spirit and energy of any animal she wishes, Vixen uses the Tantu Totem. She hasn’t spent much time as a lone crime fighter and has usually worked alongside other superheroes. Indeed, she has spent time fighting with the Justice League of America and the Suicide Squad on separate occasions.
Animal-like qualities make for excellent superhero skills. Not only are these characters incredibly popular, but they are also limited by what the animals upon which they are based can do. This makes for exciting storylines, in which the writers have to be extra creative. As for which one is the best of them all, though, it’s just too hard to choose a winner.