Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by Crazedwraith » 2019-01-09 12:56pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2019-01-08 10:47am
I like Ant Man and Spider Man but as far as famous heroes go, that is not a lot. Unknown names are existing, but not as a large-scale cultural phenomenon, surely you can see.

Who are these „middle of the road“ guys and girls? Surely you did not miss the „no special heritage“ bit?
Basically every MCU Avenger bar Tony Stark and Thor. Every MCU hero bar those two, Black Panther and maybe the first Ant-Man.

For the original 6 avengers thats 2/3rd with no riches or heritage.
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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-01-09 02:34pm

Crazedwraith wrote:
2019-01-09 12:56pm
K. A. Pital wrote:
2019-01-08 10:47am
I like Ant Man and Spider Man but as far as famous heroes go, that is not a lot. Unknown names are existing, but not as a large-scale cultural phenomenon, surely you can see.

Who are these „middle of the road“ guys and girls? Surely you did not miss the „no special heritage“ bit?
Basically every MCU Avenger bar Tony Stark and Thor. Every MCU hero bar those two, Black Panther and maybe the first Ant-Man.

For the original 6 avengers thats 2/3rd with no riches or heritage.
I wonder if this is more a DC/Marvel split. Because when you look at the really big names in Superheroes, a lot of them are wealthy and/or nobility- Superman comes from the Kryptonian upper class even if he identifies more with his human upbringing, Batman is Batman, and Wonder Woman is a princess. But these are all DC heroes. While the only really big name Marvel hero who's part of the upper crust of society, from what I can tell, is Iron Man.

Edit: Okay, Strange has got to have a lot of money, as well.
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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by Crazedwraith » 2019-01-09 02:45pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-01-09 02:34pm
Crazedwraith wrote:
2019-01-09 12:56pm
K. A. Pital wrote:
2019-01-08 10:47am
I like Ant Man and Spider Man but as far as famous heroes go, that is not a lot. Unknown names are existing, but not as a large-scale cultural phenomenon, surely you can see.

Who are these „middle of the road“ guys and girls? Surely you did not miss the „no special heritage“ bit?
Basically every MCU Avenger bar Tony Stark and Thor. Every MCU hero bar those two, Black Panther and maybe the first Ant-Man.

For the original 6 avengers thats 2/3rd with no riches or heritage.
I wonder if this is more a DC/Marvel split. Because when you look at the really big names in Superheroes, a lot of them are wealthy and/or nobility- Superman comes from the Kryptonian upper class even if he identifies more with his human upbringing, Batman is Batman, and Wonder Woman is a princess. But these are all DC heroes. While the only really big name Marvel hero who's part of the upper crust of society, from what I can tell, is Iron Man.

Edit: Okay, Strange has got to have a lot of money, as well.
Ah. Because of the heritage thing, I was thinking of inherited wealth like Bruce or Tony's not wealth like Strange that he gained legitimately through medical skill. Plus I have no idea how rich Strange is after becoming Sorceror Supreme, the movie version had explicitly burned through all his wealth.

I mean it could be the look up to/relate to thing again for Marvel Vs DC. But even DC has street level and non-rich characters. Not as many but the Flashes and GLs are reasonably prominent.

It feels like a cheat to draw assumptions from this question when you're including both rich and 'special heritage' and then saying they have to fit some level notability as well and can then conceivably stack the deck about what is considered 'notable'.

And in the case of Superman his morality and heroism is derived not from the fact he has a special heritage but from his humble origins; raised on a farm by kind well meaning parents.

To borrow a concept from the spider-verse movie Spoiler
Mary Jane says that peter always claimed that Anyone could have been Spider-Man, it just happened to be Peter that got bit. And from Batman Begins; it's not the powers or training, at the base of it all is the simple will to act.
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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-01-09 02:49pm

Evidently I was too vague in my OP. Apologies.

But I do perceive a bit of a divide between Marvel and DC here in terms of what kinds of origins/backgrounds they tend to emphasize in their heroes.
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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by Crazedwraith » 2019-01-09 02:51pm

There's the old fandom saw that DC characters are icons to look up while Marvel have characters like you can related to. How fair they are as generalisations is another matter.
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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by Lord Revan » 2019-01-09 05:15pm

I wonder how much that image comes from Iconic DC heroes either being older, IIRC Batman and Superman are from the 1930s or 1940s, while most Marvel heroes are from the 1960s or later so it's a case of values of the time they were created being different, rather then any intentional effort to make them different.
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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by Batman » 2019-01-09 05:48pm

1938 and 1939 for Clark/me, but Cap goes back to 1941 and Namor isn't far behind so it's not like Marvel doesn't have characters that old, just that the big name ones are indeed from a later era (the Avengers didn't happen until 1963)
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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by Formless » 2019-01-09 06:11pm

Saitama.

You guys always seem to forget that the Superhero genre isn't just an American phenomenon. I mean, I guess Europe never figured out the formula, but the Japanese have.

Saitama is not only the most normal seeming person in the world, that's kinda the point of the show. He starts his journey unemployed, he has no alien blood or other reasoning behind his superpowers, and yet his fists can shatter asteroids. Literally. And because of his seeming normalcy, even after he formally becomes a registered superhero his power and accomplishments remain unrecognized by the organization, the establishment, and the public. He is a nobody. The strongest nobody in the world.

I think you can also include quite a few Power Rangers/Super Sentai characters as well. Most of the time they are just some ordinary teens gifted extraordinary powers and charged with protecting the world all because they studied Karate. I would be more specific, but there have been so many Power Rangers/Super Sentai teams over the years that its more the concept than any individual that is remembered fondly by the public.

Keeping to Japan, the Magical Girl subgenre seems dominated by middle class characters with or without extraordinary heritages. Sailor Moon has an extraordinary heritage, but on the other hand there are characters like Nanoha, who is basically a mage born from muggle parents, whose father used to work as a bodyguard until he almost died protecting a client, and who is thoroughly middle to working class as a result. (its hard to say whether the Takimachi's are middle class or working class because they own their own bakery, but they don't seem to have employees, at least not in the TV continuity) Plus there is the deuteragonist, Fate Testerosa, whose mother is an outright criminal. Or Madoka from PMMM, who seems to be upper middle class herself, and whose show makes a point that any girl could be a hero in her world (albeit for a price). Consequently, one of the protagonists in that show literally lives on the street (I won't spoil who it is, people who have watched know who I'm talking about).

If you allow characters from the Shonen Fighting genre, I think the majority are from more 'ordinary' backgrounds. I mean, maybe not Dragonball because Goku is a friggen Superman homage (being an alien and all), but certainly someone like Joseph Joestar and his family would count. Or Naruto.
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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by TheFeniX » 2019-01-10 01:02am

Vendetta wrote:
2019-01-09 06:25am
Have they made Corsair an actual alien then?
I can't even remember it's been so long.
Formless wrote:
2019-01-09 06:11pm
Saitama.

You guys always seem to forget that the Superhero genre isn't just an American phenomenon. I mean, I guess Europe never figured out the formula, but the Japanese have.
OPM kind of shits on the formula since it's a deconstruction of multiple super hero themes. This is like saying Galaxy Quest figured out the Sci-Fi (Star Trek) formula by lampooning the shit out of it. No, it's great because it lampoons it's source material very well.

My Hero Academia has more than a few here as well. Even MHA's Superman (All Might) is/was a nobody before his power, same with Deku. Tiger(Yes) and Bunny(No). In fact, a common theme in Super Hero anime is about the celebrity of Super Heroes and their dealing with fame and fortune, but many were nobodies before their powers lead to them punching bad guys. Also of note: how to "deal" with Super Heroes is nearly never an issue in them, Supers are registered and regulated like one would weapons.

In fact, if an anime superhero comes from money or has a special heritage, it's pretty much going to be a central source of (most likely) conflict for the character.
If you allow characters from the Shonen Fighting genre, I think the majority are from more 'ordinary' backgrounds. I mean, maybe not Dragonball because Goku is a friggen Superman homage (being an alien and all), but certainly someone like Joseph Joestar and his family would count. Or Naruto.
I think the feats in DBZ are outlandish enough to be considered in the super hero genre. On that note, pretty much everyone in the human cast qualifies. While Goku is the star and Krillan is kind of the butt-monkey there to get his ass kicked (even more so than Yamcha), Krillan is also pretty much the most powerful human alive.

I would also say that if Constantine and Dr. Strange are Super Heroes, even something like Bleach would qualify.

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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by Q99 » 2019-01-10 01:48am

Aside from Saitama and Deku, Bakugou and Ochaco of My Hero Academia as well, and some of the other OPM heroes like the former Blizzard group guy in B-rank and Licensess Rider.

Iida and Momo are from a hero family and a rich family, but they're the only ones in the whole class.

From Tiger & Bunny, Kotetsu/Tiger. I think the only rich ones are Bunny and Blue Rose.


Back to the US, Blue Beetle, especially Jaime Reyes. Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel. Carol Danvers Captain Marvel. Most spiders including Miles Morales, Spider-Gwen, also Venom. Ghost Riders are all pretty normal, being stuff like stunt riders.

Some indie ones, Witchblade, Spawn (I'm going all 90s!). Plenty of golden age heroes have no origin too.

Corsair is still just a human.
Formless wrote:
2019-01-09 06:11pm
If you allow characters from the Shonen Fighting genre, I think the majority are from more 'ordinary' backgrounds. I mean, maybe not Dragonball because Goku is a friggen Superman homage (being an alien and all), but certainly someone like Joseph Joestar and his family would count. Or Naruto.
Jonathan's family was rich, and all later ones were, well, Joestars, which comes with hereditary power.

Though to go Dragonball, Krillin and Yamcha definitely count. Yu Yu Hakusho, Kuwabara has nothing of note. Bleach, Chad and Orihime. Basically most of the side characters!

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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by mr friendly guy » 2019-01-10 10:34am

Cloak and Dagger, from Marvel comics.

Homeless people given superpowers by illicit drugs. :D Apparently they are making a television series about them.
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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by Lord Revan » 2019-01-10 10:47am

mr friendly guy wrote:
2019-01-10 10:34am
Cloak and Dagger, from Marvel comics.

Homeless people given superpowers by illicit drugs. :D Apparently they are making a television series about them.
Yeah there's at least 1 season of it avaible.
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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by K. A. Pital » 2019-01-10 01:27pm

TheFeniX wrote:
2019-01-10 01:02am
My Hero Academia has more than a few here as well. Even MHA's Superman (All Might) is/was a nobody before his power, same with Deku. Tiger(Yes) and Bunny(No). In fact, a common theme in Super Hero anime is about the celebrity of Super Heroes and their dealing with fame and fortune, but many were nobodies before their powers lead to them punching bad guys. Also of note: how to "deal" with Super Heroes is nearly never an issue in them, Supers are registered and regulated like one would weapons.
All Might is much more like a Green Lantern type of hero, he is not Superman. :P But it is a story which is more modern and aims for genre deconstruction in some of its episodes. There are many great takes on what ordinary people with powers could be like, eg Misfits, it is that they are not all that mainstream or popular.
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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by TheFeniX » 2019-01-10 04:38pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2019-01-10 01:27pm
All Might is much more like a Green Lantern type of hero, he is not Superman. :P But it is a story which is more modern and aims for genre deconstruction in some of its episodes. There are many great takes on what ordinary people with powers could be like, eg Misfits, it is that they are not all that mainstream or popular.
Green Lantern isn't much of a fit either power-wise or thematically. The only thing they have in common is the ability to transfer powers, but they operate much differently aside from that (for just one example): One For All can be transferred by a person and if it isn't, the power is gone if the wielder dies. But the reason why he's like Superman power-wise is because he was so far and above the #2 guy, the show even points it out numerous times. Superman essentially is this, outside poor writing.

It's been noted a few times that if Superman went rogue, the entire Justice League would struggle to deal with him. Tatsumaki (OPM) has this same issue and it's compounded by her inherent instability and ruthless streak. If she went rogue, the Hero Association has stated they have no answer for her.

But my point, which I should have stated, was that: thematically All-Might is Superman (but obviously unique enough to be a great stand-alone character) in that he inspires confidence in the public and fear to criminals. He's their #1 hero: in multiple ways. A rock. All-Might's "death" had about the same impact as the death of Superman.

No other Justice League character comes close to that.

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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by Elheru Aran » 2019-01-10 06:03pm

One comic worth mentioning I suppose, 'The Boys' by Warren Ellis. Bunch of dudes in there that definitely don't have money, most all the protagonists actually. The antagonists are heroes in some sort of government supported version of the Justice League, but there's no real discussion of their origins other than vague allusions to government experiments during WWII that culminated in some sort of magic injection that activates powers in a person. So in this universe, pretty much anybody can become a superhero if their genetics are compatible, IIRC; it's been a long while since I read the comics.

'Hitman' by Ellis would also fit; the titular character is certainly something of an antihero, but he only gets his powers through bad luck and aliens. Otherwise, he's basically just a poor joe trying to get by, as are most of his accomplices.

Ellis really likes his antiheroes... at least it's not Crossed. No superheroes there! I was vaguely thinking about Transmetropolitan, but Spider Jerusalem isn't really a superhero. He's just a journalist.

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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by Vendetta » 2019-01-11 07:45am

K. A. Pital wrote:
2019-01-10 01:27pm
All Might is much more like a Green Lantern type of hero, he is not Superman. :P
He is.

He's golden age Action Comics Superman, faster than a speeding bullet, leaps tall buildings in a single bound, etc. Before his powers went nonlinear. With a bit of Captain America in that he was chosen to have the power because of his inherent goodness over pre-existing capability (and, frankly, his costume).
Elheru Ahan wrote:One comic worth mentioning I suppose, 'The Boys' by Warren Ellis. Bunch of dudes in there that definitely don't have money, most all the protagonists actually. The antagonists are heroes in some sort of government supported version of the Justice League, but there's no real discussion of their origins other than vague allusions to government experiments during WWII that culminated in some sort of magic injection that activates powers in a person. So in this universe, pretty much anybody can become a superhero if their genetics are compatible, IIRC; it's been a long while since I read the comics.
Originally nazi, then corporate experiments.

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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by Bedlam » 2019-01-11 01:51pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2019-01-10 06:03pm
One comic worth mentioning I suppose, 'The Boys' by Warren Ellis. Bunch of dudes in there that definitely don't have money, most all the protagonists actually. The antagonists are heroes in some sort of government supported version of the Justice League, but there's no real discussion of their origins other than vague allusions to government experiments during WWII that culminated in some sort of magic injection that activates powers in a person. So in this universe, pretty much anybody can become a superhero if their genetics are compatible, IIRC; it's been a long while since I read the comics.
If I remember correctly the drug comes with a fairly high price tag, something like $10 or 100 Million per dose. Although most of those who take it don't pay that themselves they generally have a sponsor with deep pockets.

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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by Lord Revan » 2019-01-11 02:04pm

An intresting though experiment would should wealth the character no longer has access to disqualify them here. I was just wondering about the Runaways, would they qualify or not, IIRC technically every single one of them comes from wealthy backrounds but don't have access to that wealth currently.
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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by Formless » 2019-01-11 03:31pm

Lord Revan wrote:
2019-01-11 02:04pm
An intresting though experiment would should wealth the character no longer has access to disqualify them here. I was just wondering about the Runaways, would they qualify or not, IIRC technically every single one of them comes from wealthy backrounds but don't have access to that wealth currently.
edit: and already I just noticed that my rephrasing of the question is wrong, because of the example you give. This is why grammar is important! Anyway, given my rereading, I would say that it goes onto the "its complicated" pile, because they neither have patrons nor money, but have money waiting for them if they manage to ge it back somehow. As it is, it sounds like they function as superheroes despite lacking wealth, and lacking wealth effects how they live outside of superheroics as well. So arguably, they qualify.

Eegads, that sentence structure! Sorry, I know English isn't your first language, but you have absolutely butchered the grammar there. I think you mean to ask "should the character be disqualified if losing access to wealth would also take away their ability to function as a superhero?" I think. And that's an interesting question, because it raises the point that some characters here are not wealthy themselves, but do have wealthy patrons who essentially employ them (albeit in secret). For instance, Nightwing and Batgirl are both middle class and work alone, but they strongly benefit from Bruce Wayne's funding. The X-Men likewise obviously have their own personal superpowers, but their jet, secret base and other equipment is all bought and paid for by Xavier, who we already established as one of the few wealthy mutants in the comic.

I would also ask whether this extends to superheroes who don't derive their power from wealth, but do have a patron with a special inheritance. For instance, the Power Rangers have Zardon, an alien from space who gave them the suits, the coins, the Zords, and etc. to fight evil, and without these things they revert to just some kids who know martial arts. Does this qualify as a loophole in the "no special heritage" qualification? Essentially, in both cases the question seems to be whether we should disqualify superheroes who are lucky. Personally, its a complicated question, as it raises questions of fairness, equality, and power dynamics. I think in the case of the Power Rangers we can probably say that they still qualify because even though they have a powerful patron, luck plays a big role in all superhero stories, and their relationship with Zardon doesn't change how they live when they aren't fighting evil. Their social and economic status is unaffected by being superheroes (at least in the original show that made its way to the States; after Zardon's death, a lot of later series had the Government step in to employ and equip them instead). Moreover, several Power Rangers episodes and later series have moments (especially near their finales) where the Big Bad figures out how to strip them of their powers, but they continue to fight anyway to demonstrate that the resolve to fight and not Power is what actually makes them heroes. In contrast, Nightwing is not only lucky, Bruce essentially lifted him up the social ladder and because he continues to fund him, he effects Dick Grayson's life outside the costume. Dick Grayson wasn't born into wealth, but he still benefits off the inheritance of Bruce Wayne. Whereas the Rangers' encounter with Zardon changed their lives by simply giving them the superpowers needed to fight evil, Dick Grayson's encounter with Bruce Wayne gave him power by lifting him up the socioeconomic ladder and fundamentally changing his life both in and out of costume. I think from these two examples we can conclude that the importance of the patron is exactly that: whether or not the everyday life of the hero is effected by the patron.

Looking at it that way, we can see that this is complicated, but applicable. Batgirl, for instance, is funded by Bruce, but all of that funding goes into her crime fighting. Outside of that, she has to live a middle class life, and her inheritance is merely that of a police commissioner (indeed, in Batman Beyond she eventually hangs up the cape and follows in her father's footsteps). So she would lose a lot if Bruce were no longer funding her... but then again, Barbra chose to become Batgirl before she met Bruce, so we know she has the resolve to fight crime even without access to vast amounts of Wayne Enterprises' secret Batman fund. So I am inclined to say she counts because unlike Dick Grayson her life outside the costume is unaffected by the money, and her resolve to fight was demonstrated before she had access to wealth. Just like the Justice League is made up of people who were willing to do the same before Batman gave them a friggen space station to use as a base of operations.

But then there is the X-Men who show how social equality complicates the issue. Like the Power Rangers, luck played a factor in them having superpowers in the first place, but those powers also place them in a stigmatized social category just like LBGTQ people. Yes, they have Xavier's money, but a lot of them have demonstrated that they would continue fighting for (social) justice even without it. Like Wolverine, who has also served as an Avenger in the comics. Again, I think they qualify, but its complicated because what would definitely be effected by losing access to Xavier's bank account is their effectiveness as a group. He doesn't just give them a base of operations, we saw in the first movie that he gives them access to Washington to lobby for their rights and to educate the public. In contrast, the Brotherhood doesn't have money, and that means they lack a lot of the political and social power that the X-Men have. Would they still have a "fuck the normies" attitude if they had the opportunities Xavier provides to the select few mutants who have joined his academy? Its hard to say. And that complicates the issue of placing the X-Men given the power dynamics of their world. Its much easier to just say "most of them are middle or working class" and leave it at that. But perhaps that is oversimplifying things.

I don't know enough about Runaways to comment, but given that IIRC the comic has a lot of similarities to X-Men, I think this should give a starting point for analysis.
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FaxModem1
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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-01-11 05:38pm

So what does that mean for my Billy Batson example? Without the wizard SHAZAM coming into his life, he's just a homeless street orphan who is occasionally living in foster home. Even with that, he is still a homeless street orphan who is occasionally living in a foster home. He was just chosen by a wizard to have all these great powers. Is that a special heritage, or isn't it?
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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by Elheru Aran » 2019-01-11 05:45pm

FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-01-11 05:38pm
So what does that mean for my Billy Batson example? Without the wizard SHAZAM coming into his life, he's just a homeless street orphan who is occasionally living in foster home. Even with that, he is still a homeless street orphan who is occasionally living in a foster home. He was just chosen by a wizard to have all these great powers. Is that a special heritage, or isn't it?
I think that for Batson personally, it isn't. For the Captain Marvel/Shazam character, kind of. Batson and other heroes of similar dual-personality types like Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle II have that kind of weirdness going on where they have two backgrounds, their own personal heritage and that of the character they... assume? come into? inherit? whatever. But overall since their personality tends to stay the same between the two characters (the mundane and the superhero), I'd say that for the most part it should fit the OP, as while it may be a 'special' heritage it's not something they've grown up with and they have to learn how to use their powers, all that. Batman on the other hand grew up being wealthy, with all the advantages and perks that gave him.
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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by Lord Revan » 2019-01-12 03:17am

Formless wrote:
2019-01-11 03:31pm
*snip*
What was thinking of were characters who lost their wealth before they started their superhero careers, hence the example of the Runaways whose source of wealth is also their primary enemies thus unavaible to them. They also started their career more or less the same time as they lost their wealth being more or less typical upperclass teenagers before that.

Essentially my question is "Would being born rich taint the heroes forever even if their current funds are what ever cash they happen to have on them at this point, or does only wealth they currently have access to count?"
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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by K. A. Pital » 2019-01-14 10:28am

Being born rich defines the psychological profile of the heroes. Rich kids usually are spoilt, unable to accept own failure and severely lacking in empathy. Poor beginnings for a hero.

Unless of a Batman type (punch people in the face at night). :P
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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by Lonestar » 2019-01-15 06:28pm

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Re: Notable superheros who are not wealthy and have no special heritage?

Post by NeoGoomba » 2019-01-16 07:46am

Lonestar wrote:
2019-01-15 06:28pm
Jesse Custer
If we are adding Custer to this list, I'm throwing Spider Jerusalem on it as well haha
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