Overweight Superheroes and Supervillains
Throughout comic book history, there have been superheroes and the physique of superheroes, for the most part, has stayed the same. The muscular Steve Rogers (or Chris Evans) has been prominent in the comic book universe in the past few years. And, since they are not creating new superheroes as often, it, unfortunately, seems to stay that way. The thought that you have to be muscular and look like Black Widow or Steve Rogers is an imaginary view of what superheroes should be and look like. Although, since that has been what they have wanted you to think, is the thought of having an overweight superhero realistic? Do writers think that they are not realistic in a sense that they cannot do what Steve Rogers can, or what Batman can? Can a superhero drink beer just like the rest of them and have a beer belly and still kick ass any day? These are the questions that might run through a readers mind in 2016. As a society, we are becoming more body positive and aware of things that do not really suffice our needs for that. Readers may start to question where they are and if they were here – well… where did they go?
Here is a list of overweight / plus-sized superheroes (villains and heroes, both are important) from the past that are not really in the limelight like the fit and muscular ones are. But, we cannot forget about them and for that this list will bring them back.
Overweight / Plus-Sized Superheros and Villians
First, we have Kingpin (1967) who first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #50. Who is not only considered to be an overweight supervillain in the comics, but also the show ‘Daredevil’” too. What is interesting to know about Kingpin is that he is actually entirely muscular and very strong, he just appears to be overweight. And, if you have experience with Kingpin, you know he can get down with the rest of them because he kicks some major butt. One of the coolest villains in the history of comics, and oldest. This is a good representation of a superhero who appears to be overweight but is simply really muscular – like a sumo wrestler. He is also crimelord.
2. Volstagg (1965) who first appeared Journey into Mystery #119 from the Thor comics would be great to talk about because he has a belly and some would consider that to be “overweight” or of a bigger weight than that normal superhero. But, then again he is muscular as well and can kick butt with the rest of them. Being from Thor comics means he is light on his feet, which means the weight has nothing on him being a superhero at all. This is another instance where being overweight has nothing to do with performance of the superhero at all. They still kick butt and do it well enough to have continuous issues. It is said that Volstagg used to be thin and muscular in the past, throughout issues, but seems to have gained weight as implied.
3. Blob (1964) who first appeared in X-Men #3, a supervillain as he is called considered to be overweight – but, on the other hand, he is also a fantastic supervillain. His skin is proved to be elastic and blubbery, he also has superhuman strength and endurance. Even the argument that overweight or “more weighted” superheroes cannot run as fast as muscular and fit superheroes, does not apply and has not applied in the previous two. Most of the ‘overweight’ superheroes still kick butt and that is no different with villains and with Blob as well.
4. Big Bertha, also known as Ashley Crawford is an overweight superhero as well – in the Marvel comics, first appearing in West Coast Avengers vol. 2 #46 in 1989. Considering the name, she is considered to be overweight. Big Bertha has the ability to make herself stronger than most and durable than most also. She also has the ability to be bulletproof, by being “obese,” as she is considered. What is interesting about Bertha is she can make herself skinny as well by purging fat from her body and making herself have a slimmer appearance. Even though she kicks butt, she also has the ability to become skinny and overweight at the same time in one superhero, which proves to be an interesting way to go about a superhero. Bertha proves to be the best of both worlds, but does she counter this notion of being an overweight superhero by being the best of both worlds?
5. Bouncing Boy, first appearing in Action Comics # 276 in 1961. The Bouncing boy has the ability to expand his body to a sphere-like shape, being a ball, in a sense and bounce anywhere and everywhere. When he is not a ball, he is considered to be ‘overweight,’ but still has the ability to be the head of the League of Superheros. As he may be overweight he is also a superhero, which indicates in another instance that he is still capable of being a superhero despite being ‘overweight.’
6. Slug aka Ulysses Lugman first appearing in Captain America #324 in 1986. He is a supervillain, similar to Kingpin he is a drug lord operator / crimelord. Although he is an overweight supervillain – he is also the biggest crime lord and it proves to have no impact on his success whether he is overweight or not. His obesity proves that he is indestructible when being shot at his organs are harder to get to because he is so overweight. Slug can also suffocate his opponents with his body fat and is extremely intelligent.
7. Pink Pearl (a supervillain and terrorist) who first appeared in Alpha Flight #22 in 1985. She is considered to be obese and that results in her having above average strength and durability. Although she has no superpowers, her weight gives her abilities that make her a force to be reckoned with to her opponents.
Lastly, the more recent comic superhero named Faith who has come into the scene back again. First appearing in JLA #69, in 2002. She instills flight, telepathy, and teleportation. She is often named by her teammates “the Fat Lady” in reference to the line “it’s not over until the fat lady sings.” She has been taking into the newer generation and considered to be “plus-sized” instead of overweight like in the past 7 bullet points of overweight superheroes. Faith being the most recent plus-sized superhero and kicking major butt out there it proves to show that we are capable of having them, right?
That brings me into why it seems to be that more plus-sized superheroes are not being made or brought back. Even if they don’t want to make any new superheroes, they don’t have to – they can easily bring back old ones such like the ones in this list. They can make them more millennial-ized and make them a really rad thing to have in the next coming years. Being body positive is so important to have always and to have that in comics would be such a great experience for readers who are struggling with that. But, not only that, it can show people that you don’t have to be muscular and fit to be a superhero. You can be anyone and any size and be a damn good superhero.
All of these superheroes as well as supervillains because villains prove to be a vital part in the comic book world. Not only for being a villain but without them there would not be superheroes to save the day. They are mentioned above because any instance of mentioning body positive characters should be mentioned no matter what they stand for in a comic book series. They prove to be a vital part to show that even though they were obese, plus-sized, or overweight they still has the muscles and ability to kick butt. That did not hold them back or make them less of a superhero or villain because they were a certain size. They still were capable of being the best and doing what they do best and that is an important aspect to take away from this.
Will comic book characters start to be more body positive? Faith is a good way to start and it is a happy day when we have one being made for body positive; but, will it continue? Well, one can hope. The readers would hope that they would not make one and completely forget about how we need more of them in the community. One can only hope to see more and hopefully we will soon, time will tell. Until then, the older editions are better than nothing.
What do you think? Leave a comment.