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Updated by Amit Amola on Jul 18, 2014
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Top 12 DC comics characters

If you don't know them then you must be kidding me. Superman, Batman or Wonderwoman...these are some names with which everyone is familiar...
Here's the list of 12 best known characters of DC comics.

1

Superman

Superman

Superman is a fictional superhero who originated in comic books published by DC Comics, and is considered an American cultural icon. The Superman character was created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, high school students living in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1933; the character was sold to Detective Comics, Inc. (later DC Comics) in 1938. Superman first appeared in Action Comics #1 (June 1938) and subsequently appeared in various radio serials, television programs, films, newspaper strips, and video games. With the success of his adventures, Superman helped to create the superhero genre and establish its primacy within the American comic book.

Superman's appearance is distinctive and iconic. He usually wears a blue costume, red cape, and stylized red-and-yellow "S" shield on his chest. This shield is used in a myriad of media to symbolize the character.

The origin story of Superman relates that he was born Kal-El on the planet Krypton, before being rocketed to Earth as an infant by his scientist father Jor-El, moments before Krypton's destruction. Discovered and adopted by a Kansas farmer and his wife, the child is raised as Clark Kent and imbued with a strong moral compass. Very early on he started to display superhuman abilities, which, upon reaching maturity, he resolved to use for the benefit of humanity. Superman resides and operates in the fictional American city of Metropolis. As Clark Kent, he is a journalist for the Daily Planet, a Metropolis newspaper. Superman's primary love interest is Lois Lane and his archenemy is supervillain Lex Luthor.

Superman has fascinated scholars, with cultural theorists, commentators, and critics alike exploring the character's impact and role in the United States and worldwide. The character's ownership has often been the subject of dispute, with Siegel and Shuster twice suing for the return of legal ownership. Superman has been labeled as the greatest comic book hero of all time by IGN, as the editors pointed out that Superman was the blueprint for superheroes as we know them today.

Wikipedia

2

Batman

Batman

Batman is a fictional character, a comic book superhero appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Batman was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, and first appeared in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939). Originally referred to as "the Bat-Man" and still referred to at times as "the Batman", the character is additionally known as "the Caped Crusader", "the Dark Knight", and "the World's Greatest Detective", among other titles.

Batman is the secret identity of Bruce Wayne, an American billionaire, industrialist, and philanthropist. Having witnessed the murder of his parents as a child, he swore revenge on criminals, an oath tempered with the greater ideal of justice. Wayne trains himself both physically and intellectually and dons a bat-themed costume in order to fight crime. Batman operates in the fictional Gotham City, assisted by various supporting characters including his crime-fighting partner, Robin, his butler Alfred Pennyworth, the police commissioner Jim Gordon, and occasionally the heroine Batgirl. He fights an assortment of villains, often referred to as the "rogues gallery", which includes the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, Two-Face, Ra's al Ghul, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman, among many others. Unlike most superheroes, he does not possess any superpowers; he makes use of intellect, detective skills, science and technology, wealth, physical prowess, martial arts skills, an indomitable will, fear, and intimidation in his continuous war on crime.

Batman became a very popular character soon after his introduction and gained his own comic book title, Batman, in 1940. As the decades wore on, differing interpretations of the character emerged. The late 1960s Batman television series used a camp aesthetic which continued to be associated with the character for years after the show ended. Various creators worked to return the character to his dark roots, with varying results. The comic books of this dark stage culminated in the acclaimed 1986 miniseries The Dark Knight Returns, by Frank Miller, as well as Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth by Grant Morrison, among others. The overall success of Warner Bros.' live-action Batman feature films have also helped maintain public interest in the character.

An American cultural icon, Batman has been licensed and adapted into a variety of media, from radio to television and film, and appears on a variety of merchandise sold all over the world such as toys and video games. The character has also intrigued psychiatrists with many trying to understand the character's psyche and his true ego in society. In May 2011, Batman placed second on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time, after Superman. Empire magazine also listed him second in their 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters of All Time. The character has been portrayed in films by Lewis Wilson, Robert Lowery, Adam West, Michael Keaton, Kevin Conroy, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, and soon by Ben Affleck.

Wikipedia

3

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman is a superheroine created by American psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston and published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in All Star Comics #8 in December 1941 and first cover-dated on Sensation Comics #1, January 1942. The Wonder Woman title has been published by DC Comics almost continuously except for a brief hiatus in 1986. Her depiction as a heroine fighting for justice, love, peace, and sexual equality has led to Wonder Woman being widely considered a feminist icon. Wonder Woman is a warrior princess of the Amazons (based on the Amazons of Greek mythology) and is known in her homeland as Princess Diana of Themyscira. When outside her homeland incognito, she is sometimes known by the secret identity Diana Prince. She is gifted with a wide range of superhuman powers and superior combat and battle skills. She possesses an arsenal of weapons, including the Lasso of Truth, a pair of indestructible bracelets, a tiara which serves as a projectile, and, in some stories, an invisible airplane.

Created during World War II, the character was initially depicted fighting the Axis military forces, as well as an assortment of supervillains. Wonder Woman gained a formidable cast of enemies bent on eliminating the Amazon, including classic villains such as Cheetah, Ares and Circe, and newer ones like Genocide and The Circle, as well as many gods and monsters from Greek mythology. Wonder Woman has also regularly appeared in comic books featuring the superhero teams Justice Society (from 1941) and Justice League (from 1960).

In addition to the comics, the character has appeared in other media; most notably, the 1975–1979 Wonder Woman TV series starring Lynda Carter, as well as animated series such as the Super Friends and Justice League. Since Carter's television series, studios struggled to introduce a new live-action Wonder Woman to audiences, although the character continued to feature in a variety of toys and merchandise, as well as animated adaptations of DC properties, including a direct-to-DVD animated feature. Attempts to return Wonder Woman to television have included a pilot for NBC in 2011, closely followed by another stalled production for The CW. In 2013 it was announced that Israeli actress Gal Gadot would portray Wonder Woman in the 2016 film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Wikipedia

4

The Flash

The Flash

The Flash is a name of a fictional comic book superhero from the DC Comics universe. Created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Harry Lampert, the original Flash first appeared in Flash Comics #1 (January 1940).

Nicknamed the Scarlet Speedster and the "Crimson Comet" all incarnations of the Flash possess "super speed", which includes the ability to run and move extremely fast, use superhuman reflexes and seemingly violate certain laws of physics. Thus far, four different characters—each of whom somehow gained the power of "super-speed"—have assumed the identity of the Flash: Jay Garrick (1940–present), Barry Allen (1956–1985, 2008–present), Wally West (1986–2006, 2007–2012), and Bart Allen (2006–2007). Before Wally and Bart's ascension to the mantle of the Flash, they were both Flash protégés under the same name Kid Flash (Bart was also known as Impulse).

The second incarnation of the Flash, Barry Allen, is generally considered the first hero of the Silver Age of comic books. On May 6, 2011, IGN ranked the third flash, Wally West, #8 on their list of the "Top 100 Super Heroes of All Time", stating that "Wally West is one of the DCU’s greatest heroes, even if he doesn’t rank as the original "Scarlet Speedster"

Wikipedia

8

Green Arrow

Green Arrow

Green Arrow is a fictional superhero who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Morton Weisinger and designed by George Papp, he first appeared in More Fun Comics #73 in November 1941. His real name is Oliver Queen, a billionaire businessman and owner of Queen Industries, as well as a well-known celebrity in his locale of Star City. Sometimes shown dressed like Robin Hood, Green Arrow is an archer who invents trick arrows with various special functions, such as glue arrows, diversions (smoke), net, explosive, time bomb, grappling, fire extinguishing, flash, boomerang, tear gas arrows, cryonic arrows and even a kryptonite arrow. At the time of his debut, Green Arrow functioned in many ways as an archery-themed analogue of the very popular Batman character, but writers at DC subsequently developed him into a voice of progressivism very much distinct in character from Batman, with his own supporting cast.

Green Arrow enjoyed moderate success in his early years, becoming the cover feature of More Fun, as well as having occasional appearances in other comics. Throughout his first twenty-five years, however, the character never enjoyed greater popularity. In the late 1960s, writer Denny O'Neil, inspired by the character's dramatic visual redesign by Neal Adams, chose to have him lose his fortune, giving him the then-unique role of a streetwise crusader for the working class and the disadvantaged. In 1970, he was paired with a more law and order-oriented hero, Green Lantern, in a ground-breaking, socially conscious comic book series. Since then, he has been popular among comic book fans and most writers have taken an urban, gritty approach to the character. The character was killed off in the 1990s and replaced by a new character, Oliver's son Connor Hawke. Connor Hawke, however, proved a less popular character, and the original Oliver Queen character was resurrected in the 2001 "Quiver" storyline, by writer Kevin Smith. In the 2000s, the character has been featured in bigger storylines focusing on Green Arrow and Black Canary, such as the DC event The Green Arrow/Black Canary Wedding and the high-profile Justice League: Cry for Justice storyline, prior to the character's relaunch alongside most of DC's properties in 2011.

Green Arrow was not initially a well-known character outside of comic book fandom: he had appeared in a single episode of the animated series Super Friends in 1973. In the 2000s, the character featured in a number of DC television properties, including the animated series Justice League Unlimited, Young Justice, The Batman and Batman: The Brave and the Bold, several DC Universe Animated Original Movies and the live action series Smallville, played by actor Justin Hartley, who became a core cast member. In 2012, the live action series Arrow debuted on The CW, in which the title character is portrayed by Stephen Amell. In 2011, IGN rated Green Arrow the 30th Greatest Superhero of All Time.

Wikipedia

9

Joker

Joker

The Joker is a fictional character, a comic book supervillain appearing in DC Comics publications. The character was created by Jerry Robinson, Bill Finger and Bob Kane, and first appeared in Batman #1 (Spring 1940). Credit for the character's creation is disputed; Kane and Robinson claimed responsibility for the Joker's design, but acknowledged Finger's writing contribution. Although the Joker was planned to be killed off during his initial appearance, he was spared by editorial intervention, allowing the character to endure as the archenemy of the superhero Batman.

In his comic book appearances, the Joker is portrayed as a criminal mastermind. Introduced as a psychopath with a warped, sadistic sense of humor, the character became a goofy prankster in the late 1950s in response to regulation by the Comics Code Authority, before returning to his darker roots during the early 1970s. As Batman's nemesis, the Joker has been part of many of the superhero's defining stories (including the paralysis of Batman's ally, Barbara Gordon, and the murder of Jason Todd, Batman's ward and the second Robin). The Joker has had a number of origin stories during his seven decades in publication. The most common has him falling into a tank of chemical waste which bleaches his skin white, turns his hair green and his lips bright red; the resulting disfigurement drives him insane. The antithesis of Batman in personality and appearance, the Joker is considered by critics to be his perfect adversary.

One of the most iconic characters in popular culture, the Joker has been cited as one of the greatest comic book villains and fictional characters ever created. He appears in a variety of merchandise, such as clothing and collectable items, real-world structures (such as theme park attractions) and references in a number of media. The Joker has been Batman's adversary in live-action and animated incarnations, including the 1960s Batman television series (played by Cesar Romero) and in film by Jack Nicholson in 1989's Batman and Heath Ledger in 2008's The Dark Knight (earning Ledger a posthumous Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor). Mark Hamill, Brent Spiner, Michael Emerson, Richard Epcar and others have voiced the animated character.

Wikipedia

11

Catwoman

Catwoman

Catwoman is a fictional character associated with DC Comics' Batman franchise. Historically a supervillainess, the character was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, partially inspired by Kane's cousin, Ruth Steel, as well as actress Jean Harlow. The original and most widely known Catwoman, Selina Kyle, first appears in Batman #1 (Spring 1940) in which she is known as The Cat. She is usually depicted as an adversary of Batman, known for having a complex love-hate relationship with him. In her first appearance, she was a whip-carrying burglar with a taste for high-stake thefts. For many years Catwoman thrived, but from September 1954 to November 1966 she took an extended hiatus due to the newly developing Comics Code Authority in 1954. These issues involved the rules regarding the development and portrayal of female characters that were in violation of the Comics Code. Since the 1990s, Catwoman has been featured in an eponymous series that cast her as an antiheroine classy cat burglar rather than a traditional villain. The character has been one of Batman's most enduring love interests.

A popular figure, Catwoman has been featured in most media adaptations related to Batman. Actresses Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether and Eartha Kitt introduced her to a large audience on the 1960s Batman television series and the 1966 Batman motion picture. Michelle Pfeiffer portrayed the character in 1992's Batman Returns. Halle Berry starred in a stand-alone Catwoman film, 2004's Catwoman, which was a box-office flop, and bears little to no resemblance to the Batman character. Anne Hathaway portrayed Selina Kyle in the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises.

Catwoman was ranked 11th on IGN's "Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time" list, and 51st on Wizard magazine's "100 Greatest Villains of All Time" list. Conversely, she was ranked 20th on IGN's "Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time" list, as well as 23rd in Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.

Wikipedia

5

Green Lantern

Green Lantern

"Green Lantern" is the codename of a number of fictional superheroes who appear in comic books published by DC Comics. They fight evil with the aid of rings which grant them a variety of extraordinary powers.

The first Green Lantern was created in 1940 during the first superhero craze that began with Superman. His name was Alan Scott, and mostly fought common criminals in New York with the aid of his magic ring. His series was cancelled in 1949 during a general decline in the popularity of superhero comics.

In 1959, to capitalize on the booming popularity of science fiction, the Green Lantern character was reinvented as a man named Hal Jordan who works for an interstellar law enforcement agency known as the Green Lantern Corps. Over the years, DC Comics introduced a number of additional Green Lanterns who serve as Hal's comrades-in-arms. The most prominent of these are Guy Gardner, John Stewart, and Kyle Rayner.

The Green Lanterns are among DC Comics' more successful properties. They have been adapted into TV shows, video games and one motion picture.

Wikipedia

6

Robin

Robin

Robin is the name of several fictional characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, originally created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson, as a junior counterpart to DC Comics superhero Batman. The team of Batman and Robin is commonly referred to as the Dynamic Duo or the Caped Crusaders. The character's first incarnation Dick Grayson debuted in Detective Comics #38 (April 1940). Conceived as a vehicle to attract young readership, Robin garnered overwhelmingly positive critical reception, doubling the sales of the Batman related comic books. The early adventures of Robin included Star Spangled Comics #65–130 (1947–1952), which was the character's first solo feature. Robin made regular appearances in Batman related comic books and other DC Comics publications from 1940 through the early 1980s until the character set aside the Robin identity and became the independent superhero Nightwing.

The character's second incarnation Jason Todd debuted in Batman #357 (1983). This Robin made regular appearances in Batman related comic books until 1988, when the character was murdered by the Joker in the storyline "A Death in the Family" (1989). Jason would later find himself alive after a reality changing incident, eventually becoming the Red Hood. The premiere Robin limited series was published in 1991 which featured the character's third incarnation Tim Drake training to earn the role of Batman's junior partner. Following two successful sequels, the monthly Robin ongoing series began in 1993 and ended in early 2009, which also helped his transition from sidekick to a superhero in his own right. The fourth Robin incarnation was established DC Comics character Stephanie Brown and thus the first in-continuity female version of the character. But shortly after her acquisition of the Robin mantle, she was stripped of the identity by Batman and was apparently killed by the supervillain Black Mask in the crossover Batman: War Games (2004). It has since been revealed that her death was a ruse and she eventually returned to resume her previous identity before becoming the sixth Batgirl. She was later retconned out of existence as part of the The New 52 and is currently discounted as both Robin and Batgirl. In the final issue of "Battle for the Cowl", Damian Wayne (Bruce Wayne's son) becomes the new Robin. In the wake of The New 52, Tim Drake later takes on the identity of Red Robin, Jason Todd still operates as the Red Hood, Dick Grayson reclaims his role as Nightwing and the status of Stephanie Brown is unknown. After Damian is killed in a 2013 story, the position of Robin becomes vacant.

In The New 52's Earth 2 alternate universe continuity of Worlds Finest, Batman and Catwoman married, and their daughter Helena Wayne was that universe's Robin, until her father died at the hands of an invasion force from Apokolips-2, along with that universe's Superman and Wonder Woman. Helena is currently exiled on Earth 0, along with Power Girl, and has adopted a new persona as Huntress.

Wikipedia

7

Aquaman

Aquaman

Aquaman is a fictional character, a superhero appearing in comic book titles by DC Comics. Created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger, the character debuted in More Fun Comics #73 (November 1941). Initially a backup feature in DC's anthology titles, Aquaman later starred in several volumes of a solo title. During the late 1950s and 1960s superhero-revival period known as the Silver Age, he was a founding member of the Justice League of America. In the 1990s Modern Age, Aquaman's character became more serious than in most previous interpretations, with storylines depicting the weight of his role as king of Atlantis. Later accounts reconciled both facets of the character, casting Aquaman as serious and brooding, saddled with an ill reputation, and struggling to find a true role and purpose beyond his public side as a deposed king and a fallen hero. The character will be portrayed by actor Jason Momoa in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Wikipedia

10

Lex Luthor

Lex Luthor

Alexander Joseph "Lex" Luthor is a fictional character, a supervillain appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Luthor is the archenemy of Superman, though given his high status as a supervillain, he has also come into conflict with Batman and other superheroes in the DC Universe. Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the character first appeared in Action Comics #23 (April 1940). Luthor is a wealthy, power-mad business magnate of high intelligence and incredible technological prowess. Luthor's goals typically center on killing Superman, the foremost obstacle to achieving the villain's megalomaniacal goals. Despite periodically wearing a powered exoskeleton, Luthor has traditionally lacked superpowers or a dual identity. Lex Luthor has carefully crafted his public persona however, in order to avoid arrest. He is well known for his philanthropy; donating millions of dollars to Metropolis over the years, funding parks, foundations and medical charities.

Lex Luthor typically appears in comic books and other media as a bald business magnate with immense wealth, corporate power, and genius-level intellect. However, Luthor was originally depicted as a recluse who, in the vein of pulp novels, wreaks havoc on the world with his futuristic weaponry. The character was later remodeled as a well-known business magnate who is financially involved in various institutions within Metropolis. In his earliest appearances, Luthor is shown with a full head of red hair. Despite this, the character later became hairless as the result of an artist's mistake. A 1960 story by Jerry Siegel expanded upon Luthor's origin and motivations, revealing him to be a childhood friend of Superman's who lost his hair when a fire destroyed his laboratory, a fire which Luthor blamed on Superboy, who was attempting to save Luthor from a lifeform Luthor had created in vitro that was threatening to kill Luthor.

The character was ranked 4th on IGN's list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time and as the 8th Greatest Villain by Wizard on its 100 Greatest Villains of All Time list. Luthor is also described as a "megavillain" by comic book critic Peter Sanderson, one of a few genre-crossing villains whose adventures take place "in a world in which the ordinary laws of nature are slightly suspended".

Wikipedia

12

Hawkman

Hawkman

Hawkman is a fictional character, a superhero who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Dennis Neville, the original Hawkman first appeared in Flash Comics #1, published by All-American Publications in 1940.

Several incarnations of Hawkman have appeared in DC Comics, all of them characterized by the use of archaic weaponry and by large, artificial wings, attached to a harness made from the special Nth metal that allows flight. Most incarnations of Hawkman work closely with a partner/romantic interest named Hawkgirl or Hawkwoman.

Since DC’s continuity was rewritten in the 1985 series Crisis on Infinite Earths, Hawkman’s history has become muddled with several new versions of the character appearing throughout the years, some associated with ancient Egypt and some with the fictional planet Thanagar. These versions of the character have starred in several series of various durations.

Wikipedia