Super Success Stories: Who are the most successful superheroes of all time?

Article by : SlotsUp Team Nov 4, 2021

In the 21st century, superheroes rule popular culture. Every year, with the release of a new movie or TV show, the popularity of superheroes around the world continues to rise.

With great power, comes even greater responsibility. As the popularity of superheroes has grown over the years, so has audience expectations. How the super’s stories are told and how they connect to present day issues and sensibilities are becoming increasingly important to a superhero’s success.

But which caped crusader has been the most successful?

Our researchers here at SlotsUp have crunched the numbers to find out. Looking into a variety of factors including number of solo films, average IMDb rating, Google search volume, number of comic books, Amazon toy searches and profits at the box office, to give each and every masked vigilante a score out of 100.

We’ve revealed the top ten most successful superheroes, and we haven’t stopped there. We’ve also looked at the top ten male and female superheroes, top ten super-villains and even clashed comic book heavyweights, Marvel and DC, against each other to find out who comes out on top.

Top Ten Most Successful Superheroes

TOP 10 MOST SUCCESSFUL SUPERHEROESWith a remarkable overall score of 67.6 out of 100, Batman is officially the most successful superhero. The Dark Knight received full marks in four out of ten categories, including solo films, comic books and Reddit fans.

He was closely followed by his DC Comics counterpart, Superman in third scoring 39.4, and Marvel’s Spider-Man who swung in at second with a score of 59.7.

The highest flying female superhero is DC’s Wonder Woman who ranks at fourth place with a score of 38.1, although she is closely followed by Marvel’s Black Widow in seventh scoring 30.9.

Despite DC Comics’ Batman sitting comfortably in top spot, the majority of the list is made up with Marvel heroes, with Stan Lee’s caped creations taking up 60% of the top ten spots.

Super-Men: The Most Successful Male Superheroes

MOST SUCCESSFUL MALE SUPERHEROESUnsurprisingly, the top three male superheroes remain the same with Batman, Spider-Man and Superman notching up the top spots.

They are closely followed by the leading duo in the modern Avengers saga; Captain America and Iron Man. Captain America’s overall score of 36.8 just about keeps him ahead of Iron Man who scored 36.5, helped along by Captain America outdoing Iron Man in the positive sentiment category (scoring 3.9 over 1.5) and cosplay category (scoring 1.9 over 1.3).

As proof that superheroes do not have to be aimed at kids to be successful – potty-mouthed, rogue hero Deadpool climbs up to sixth place in this men’s only list with an overall score of 30.9, despite blanking the kid friendliness category.

With the absence of any female superheroes, the Hulk and Wolverine managed to fight their way into the top ten. Wolverine scored handsomely in the IMDb ratings, with an impressive score of 9.1 out of 10, outdoing the score of the most successful male superhero, Batman, in the same category.

Girl Power: The Most Successful Female SuperheroesMOST SUCCESSFUL FEMALE SUPERHEROES

With an overall score of 38.1, Wonder Woman is officially the most successful female superhero, outdoing her counterparts in 6 out of 10 categories, including screen time, number of Reddit fans and most cosplayed hero.

The Avengers duo of Black Widow and Captain Marvel are not far behind, with scores of 30.9 and 18.4. Respectively, two heroes whose popularity have soared off the back of their recent blockbuster solo films – reflected in their high IMDb ratings of 8.7 each, which contrasts with their low comic book scores of 0.7 each. 

Interestingly, Captain Marvel was originally a male superhero up until 1982, when the established hero also known as Mar-Vell was replaced by Monica Rambeau, which introduced the concept of there being several Captain Marvel superheroes. 

The general low scoring received by many of the female superheroes is a telling sign of the level of current representation in the superhero genre and the work that probably needs to be done by the industry to increase their general popularity.

Jean Grey, who places seventh on the female’s list, scores a meagre 3.3 out of 100. Being the seventh most successful female superhero seems like a commendable title, however a score of 30.7 is needed to reach seventh place on the men’s list. In fact, Jean Grey would come in at a disappointing 30th place in a list that combines both genders.

Perfect Crimes: The Most Successful Villains
THE MOST SUCCESSFUL VILLAINS

The Joker is officially the most successful super-villain. Our data reveals that Batman’s arch-nemesis is the baddest of the bad, with full marks scored in a whopping seven out of ten categories, including success in both the comic books and at the box office.

The Joker is followed closely by Harley Quinn in second place and Spider-Man’s foe Venom, who ranks third with an overall score of 46.6. Each of the top three super-villains rank the highest in the solo films, IMDb rating and box office categories, which is unsurprising considering these three villains have all had their own huge solo movies receive commercial and critical success within the last two years.

Harley Quinn is not the only femme fatale of Gotham City to score highly, as Catwoman creeps in at fourth place with an overall score of 34.6. The only female superhero to score higher than this is Wonder Woman, who scored 38.1, suggesting that for women in the comic book world, crime really does pay.

Whereas Marvel’s superheroes generally outscored their DC rivals. Our data shows that DC’s villains are by far the most successful, with a whopping 80% of the top ten villains hailing from DC’s comic universe. Even more surprisingly, half of the top ten list are made up of Batman villains, showing that villains have a lot to gain from fighting against our most successful superhero.

High-flying Heroes: Who Saves The Day?

HIGH FLYING SUPERHEROES RANKED

Taking a closer look at the top two most successful superheroes with the Avengers’ very own web-slinging hero Spider-Man facing off against the Justice League’s Batman. 

Spider-Man falls short of Batman by a whole 7.9 points. A big factor in Batman’s success is his perfect ten out of ten scoring in four different categories, whereas Spider-Man only managed a perfect ten in one category – Cosplay.

Spider-Man was super successful in the cosplay department, with over 500,000 cosplayers using the hashtag “#spidermancosplay” on Instagram. Spidey’s cosplay score of ten actually doubles Batman’s cosplay score of five. But, Batman brought it home in the screen time, solo films, comic books and Reddit fans categories, with his scores in these rounds adding up to nearly a third of his overall score.

The two superheroes fought the closest battles in the IMDb rating and box office categories. Although both heroes scored highly, Spider-Man pulled off a shock victory with scores of 9.2 to Batman’s 8.8 in the IMDb ratings and 9.3 to 8.8 at the box office.

The search volume category was also closest contested. Despite finishing above Spider-Man overall, Batman fell to another surprising defeat in this category by only scoring 4.5 out of 10, compared to Spidey’s 5.8. Spider-Man’s name received 3,480,000 searches on Google, while Batman only received 2,730,000.

Victorious Villains: Who Comes Out On Top?

VICTORIOUS VILLAINS RANKED

The Joker and Venom are two of the most notorious villains in their respective comic book universes. These two terrifying villains just happen to be the arch nemeses of the two most successful superheroes, with the Joker causing mayhem for Batman in Gotham City, while Venom wreaks havoc in Spider-Man’s New York.

Our data shows that, just like in the superheroes face-off, it is the DC villain, the Joker who comes out on top as the most successful villain. In fact, the Joker even manages to obliterate his arch rival Batman’s overall score of 67.6, with a jaw-dropping score of 74.6 out of 100.

Unbelievably, the Joker pulls seven perfect ten scores out of the hat. The crazed clown could not be faulted in any of the screen time, solo films, IMDb rating, search volume, comic books, Reddit fans or box office categories.

Naturally, Venom struggles to compete, even though his overall score of 46.6 is impressive enough to make him the third most successful super-villain – and would actually rank him at third place in the superhero list too. 

It’s not all doom and gloom for Venom, who is capable of outdoing the Joker in some categories, including in the sentiment scores, where Venom scored 2.3 compared to the Joker’s disappointing zero out of ten.

Head-to-head Heroes: Avengers vs. Justice League

MOST SUCCESSFUL AVENGER SUPERHEROES

The Avengers famously fought against each other on the big screen in the 2016 movie, Captain America: Civil War, but which member of the Marvel gang is officially the most successful Avenger?

Despite being one of the youngest members of the Avengers team, our data shows that it is Spider-Man who is the most successful. Unsurprisingly, his overall score of 59.7 obliterates Captain America’s score of 36.8, shooting Spidey into first place.

Spider-Man even manages to outrank his mentor Iron Man, who places third with an overall score of 36.5, although Iron Man does still outscore Spider-Man in several categories including positive sentiment score and IMDb rating.

The absence of non-Avengers in this list sees superheroes Doctor Strange, Ant-Man and the Hulk burst into the top ten. The Hulk has the joint highest screen time of any Avenger (alongside Spider-Man) earning him a score of 3.2 out of 10. Meanwhile, Doctor Strange and Ant-Man each boast an admirable IMDb rating of 9.6 and 9.1 out of 10 respectively.

MOST SUCCESSFUL JUSTICE LEAGUE SUPERHEROES

As the most successful superhero, with an overall score of 67.6, Batman really is the best superhero to lead DC’s Justice League into battle. But even with the might of the Dark Knight on their side, is the Justice league top ten successful enough to outdo the Avengers top ten?

With a combined average score of 30.3 out of 100, it is the Avengers who are the most successful superhero squad, with the Justice League only scoring a combined average of 25.1 out of 100.

Despite relying on the strength of both Batman and Superman, the Justice League are let down by the likes of lesser known superheroes such as Cyborg and Black Canary, who only mustered overall scores of 7.7 and 6.9 respectively.


Methodology

Taking 30 popular superheroes and villains from Marvel and DC we found out how successful each character is by scoring each of them against ten factors, worth ten points each to work out a total score of 100. Our factors include:

  • Hours of screen time
  • Average solo film ratings on IMDb
  • Google search volume
  • Comic book appearances
  • Number of solo films
  • Solo film success at the box office
  • Number of Reddit community members
  • Number of Cosplay Instagram hashtags
  • Number of Amazon toy searches
  • Positive sentiment

Sources

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