This Father’s Day, we got to thinking. We often talk about the fathers of comic books (Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, etc.), but what about the fathers in comic books? It’s common for superheroes to be orphans, yet they often grow up to have families. So what kinds of fathers do we see in our favorite comic book universes?
The list of superhero fathers is a long one, so we limited it to just a few of the best examples. We focused on how they feel about fatherhood, as well as the types of fathers they have been shown to be. So without further ado, here are some of comic book’s greatest (and most infamous) dads.
1) Clark Kent (The Attentive Type)
The Uber-mensch himself is the perfect way to start this list. Not only has he become a father, but as you may know, he has two fathers who have shared the responsibility of making him into the big blue boy scout that he’s become. So here is a quick breakdown of their fatherly duties.
Jor-El is Superman’s birth father from the planet Krypton. He didn’t get to spend a lot of time with his son before sending him off to Earth but the sacrifice that he did make for him says a lot about his paternal instincts.
The Kent’s adopted young Kal-El after his ship crashed on their farm. A lot has been said about Martha Kent in recent years (thanks to Batman v. Superman) but Jonathan Kent has been almost entirely missing from the conversation. In the comic books it is Jonathan Kent’s moral code that serves as the guiding light for Superman in his quest to help those in need.
In recent years Clark has been wearing the father cap himself. With the “Rebirth” of DC comics, Superman appeared on earth with a son named after the man that raised him. Clark has done all that he can to show his son, Johnathan, how to be a beacon of hope through both his words, and his actions. He spends a lot of time reminding Jonathan how much he loves him, and the pride he has for his son is always apparent.
2) Bruce Wayne (The Distant but Caring Father)
Though he’d probably never admit it, Bruce Wayne is quite the father figure. We all know the story of how his family was lost on that fateful night, but not as much fuss is raised over how much effort he has put into working with kids to give them a better life. Not only has he been shown to consistently donate to orphanages, he has also adopted several at risk youths and provided them with support. He made Dick Grayson his first Robin, and though they’ve had rough patches, they always forgive each other. Jason Todd, Tim Drake, and even his own biological son Damian Wayne have all take up the mantle of Robin since then. Bruce takes them under his wing and shows them how to process their anger in more constructive ways.
3) Odin (The Tough Love Type)
Odin may not be the father that you want to base your parenting style on. When Thor showed a rebellious side he was cast out of Asgard until he could prove that he had learned his lesson. He also stole the son of his fallen enemy, King Laufy of the frost giants, and raised him as his own son, whom we know as Loki. Loki went on to hate his adopted family and become the thorn in their Asgardian backsides. As king of all Asgardian people, Odin has a lot of responsibilities and has been very stern with his children, leading them to break rules, and receive his harsh punishments.
4) Magneto (The Criminal Father)
Magneto is a bad father. He has three kids in Quicksilver, Scarlett Witch, and Polaris, and all three have followed him into his criminal dealings in the past. All three of them later went on to become Avengers, and X-Men at times as well. But as far as fatherhood goes, we’re pretty sure that conscripting your kids into your gang of criminals is a bad idea. Especially when that gang is called the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Nevertheless, even bad guys need dads, and Magneto fills that void in this comic universe.
5) Luke Cage (The Unexpected Dad)
Luke Cage is the father of a little girl named Danielle. His wife, Jessica Jones is also a superhero, and the family has had its fair share of struggles when it comes to the baby’s safety. From being mind-controlled by the purple man to being kidnapped by Skrulls, they’ve always ended up finding their way back together. Luke may have seemed like the unlikely father type when they baby was first introduced in marvel comics a few years back, but he has truly proven himself to be a loving dad. And, hey, he must be doing something right because his daughter grows up to become the future version of Captain America.
6) Reed Richards (Brings His Kids to Work)
Marvel’s elastic based superhero is the patriarch of the first family of comic books, The Fantastic Four. But Reed Richards is also the father of Franklin and Valeria, two of the most powerful beings to have ever been conceived in comic book history. Franklin literally has the ability to alter reality based on his thoughts and Valeria has a wide ranging power-set including: super strength, invulnerability, time travel, force field generation, genius intelligence, invisibility and energy manipulation. It’s amazing the Richards-Storm family are able to get through one dinner together without tearing apart the fabric of time. Richards has been shown to love his family so dearly that he often brings them along on crime fighting family vacations.
Dads have a tough job, and being a superhero dad can be all the more difficult. No matter the issues that fatherhood presents, all of the dads that made this list have done the best with what they had in their respective universes. Good or evil (looking at you Magneto) they’ve shown up for the children. Happy Father’s Day, everybody. Take some time to show love to your own Superdad.