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19 British Superheroes Who Are Innately Better Than Their American Counterparts

Superheroes are an American thing, right? Wrong.

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The isles of Albion have been producing heroes with magic weapons and superpowers for centuries.

But who are the greatest British superheroes of them all?

19. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Alan Moore / Kev O'Neill / Via

From Lemuel Gulliver and Fanny Hill to Wilhelmina Murray and Allan Quatermain, a brace of English literature's most famous characters were brought together in Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Their powers may have been less flashy than Superman's, but their adventures predate those of the Justice League of America by decades.

18. Tank Girl

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Long before Kick-Ass had even been imagined, Tank Girl was blazing a liberated trail of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll for the grunge generation, and all in the hyper-kinetic cartoon style of Jamie Hewlett. Far less prim and proper than Buffy Summers, Tank Girl would choose a bazooka over a wooden stake every time.

17. Robin Hood

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Taking from the rich and giving to the poor is standard heroic practice today, but in the feudal society of medieval Britain it was a radical idea. No one is certain if Robin Hood was a historical figure, but his expertise with bow and arrow has inspired such modern heroes as Green Arrow and Hawkeye.


16. Sláine

Pat Mills / Simon Bisley / Via

Created by legendary 2000 AD founder Pat Mills, Sláine reached his high point with the over-the-top style of artist Simon Bisley. Inspired by Celtic myth, Sláine had a mystic quality that set him apart from the more famous Conan.

15. Marvelman

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Have you ever wondered what a real-life Superman would actually do with his powers? In his dark reinvention of '50s UK comic-book superhero Marvelman, Alan Moore depicts a character with godlike superpowers who uses his gifts to enslave humankind under totalitarian control.

14. Bananaman

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Whenever he eats a banana, schoolboy Eric transforms into Bananaman, a muscular but not-so-smart hero who patrols suburban England on the lookout for crime. Originally published in the pages of kids' comic Nutty, he later appeared in The Dandy, The Beano, and a long-running animated TV series. Eric's amazing double life is much like Peter Parker's, but much, much sillier.

13. Dragon's Claws

Simon Furman / Geoff Senior / Via

In the late 1980s Marvel UK launched a short-lived line of American format comics in the UK, the best of which was Simon Furman's Dragon's Claws. Inspired in part by the teams in dystopian sci-fi movie Rollerball and the gangs of Walter Hill's The Warriors, the Claws were part combat sports stars, part superhero team.


12. The Invisibles

Grant Morrison / Brian Bolland / Via

Grant Morrison claims to have written The Invisibles, which launched him to international fame as a comics creator, as a magick "hypersigil" aimed at transforming Western culture. In contrast to The Avengers, who fight for the state, The Invisibles are a revolutionary outfit determined to overthrow the establishment with their powers of kaos magick.

11. Emma Peel

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Emma Peel, played by Diana Rigg, defined the female superspy in the cult '60s Brit TV show The Avengers. Maybe ScarJo found some inspiration there for the role of Natalia Romanova in Marvel's own, completely different The Avengers? You think? Just possibly?

10. John Constantine

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Dirty macintosh, stinking cigarette, filthy mouth. It can only be John Constantine, the Hellblazer himself. Magic-using heroes usually tend towards the flamboyant, as with Stephen Strange. John Constantine can't even spell falmboy...fumbotant...fumbul... Oh, bugger it.

9. V

Warner Bros /

V, created by Alan Moore in his dystopian series V for Vendetta, became one of the most recognisable superheroes ever when political protesters adopted his Guy Fawkes mask to stay anonymous. The masked anarchist, a mash-up of 1980s British politics and folklore, has become as iconic as Captain America, but for very different reasons.


8. James Bond

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Much imitated but never defeated, Ian Fleming's James Bond is by far the greatest superspy of all time. Daniel Craig in Casino Royale took the character in a less suave, more muscular direction inspired by the Jason Bourne franchise, but kept Bond's signature humour.

7. Danger Mouse

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He's the strongest, the quickest, and the best, and is always to be found wherever danger is – he is Danger Mouse. Originally voiced by David Jason of Only Fools and Horses fame, the character is set to get a CBBC reboot in 2015 with a whole new cast.

6. Lara Croft

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Lara Croft is officially the Most Successful Human Virtual Game Heroine ever, according to Guinness World Records. The Indiana Jones influence on Tomb Raider, the first game she appeared in, is clear, but over time Croft has become a more three-dimensional character through film adaptions and later games.

5. Judge Dredd

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He may have been cloned in the post-apocalyptic US megalopolis Mega-City One, but Judge "I Am the Law" Dredd is as British as they come. Created for 2000 AD as a satire of brutal policing, today his adventures seem more like a fly-on-the-wall documentary. In contrast to Marvel's the Punisher, who is a vigilante, Dredd has the full weight of the law behind his role as judge, jury, and executioner.


4. Sherlock Holmes

BBC / Via

Sherlock Holmes was created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but many Americans believe he was a real historical figure. Like Batman, he has a hat with silly ears, he uses ingenuity to beat villains, and he's handy in a fight, but Holmes outdoes the caped crusader for sheer intelligence.

3. King Arthur

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The original orphan boy with a divine destiny and magical sword, King Arthur is one of the famous heroes of all time. A recent series by the BBC, a '00s Jerry Bruckheimer movie, John Boorman's epic Excalibur, and Disney's The Sword in the Stone have all helped keep the Arthurian archetype in the limelight.

2. Hermione Granger

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No list of British superheroes would be complete without the world's most powerful young wizard...Hermione Granger. For reasons known only to herself, her creator, JK Rowling, chose to tell Hermione's story from the perspective of the Potter boy, who spends seven books moping while Hermione does all the hard work.

1. The Doctor

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The Doctor, a Time Lord who zips around spacetime with his friends, guarding the galaxy, is the star of Britain's most popular sci-fi television show, Doctor Who. Created in 1963, it was relaunched in 2005 and became bigger than ever. The revamped version has just entered its eighth season, with Peter Capaldi taking over the lead role.