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The different types of superheroes

Updated on October 15, 2012

Superheroes can be divided in different ways, like based on heritage or powers.
In superhero role-playing games like "Champions" or "Mutants and masterminds" superheroes are divided in categories, based on their strength and abilities.This subtypes are commonly used in comics to. A lot of these categories overlap each other in heroes.

  • Superman archetype: Superheroes based on Superman belong in this categorie. This can be heroes who have the same powers as Supes (icebreath, laser-eyes, flying, superstrength and endurance), or superheroes who were first in their world and set the base for other superheroes.
  • Martial artist: A categorie of superheroes who are more human then superhuman, but are masters in martial arts. Most superheroes in this categorie have no or almost no superpowers, but are very atletic and trained. Examples are Batman and Daredevil.
  • Brick/Tank: A character with superhuman strength and endurance. They are mostly extremely big and muscular. Examples include: Hulk, Thing and Juggernaut.
  • Blaster: A hero whose primary power is a distant attack, like an energy ray (for example: Cyclops and Starfire). This categorie can be divided in:

    • Elementalist: A hero who controls certain elements or forces of nature like Storm
    • Mage: A hero who uses magic or the supernatural like Dr. Strange
    • Marksman: A hero who uses projectile weapons like fire-arms or a bow and arrow. Throwing knives fit in this categorie too. Examples are: the Punisher, Hawkeye and Green Arrow.
  • Gadgeteer: A hero who uses special gadgets and apparature to give him superpowers. This can be divided in:

    • Armored Hero: A gadgeteer whose powers come from a special armor or costume, like Iron Man.
    • Dominus: A hero who has a giant robot (Mecha) at his disposal. This are mostly Japanese superheroes or heroes from science fiction stories. Examples are: Super sentai, Power Rangers and Megas XLR.
    • Metal Hero: A variant of the armored hero, the mostly look like cyborgs or androids.
  • Speedster: A hero who as superhuman speed and reflexes. Examples are Flash and Quicksilver.
  • Mentalist: A hero who possesses psychic or telekinetic powers. Examples are Professor X and Jean Grey.
  • Shapeshifter: A hero who can manipulate his body and therefore can take many forms and shapes. This can mean stretching and shrinking (Mr. Fantastic) or rather take an entirely different form (Mystique).
    • Size-changer: A special group in the shapeshifter categorie. This are heroes who can change their body size to extremely big or extremely small. Examples are: Henry Pym, Wasp and the Atom.
  • Henshin-Hero: A type of superhero that's mainly popular in Japanese series and comics. This heroes can transform their body (sometimes via a special device or object) from their normal human form to their superhero form. Examples are Super Sentai and Kamen Rider.
  • Rider: A hero who uses special transportation that (partly) gives him his power, like Silver Surfer

What is your favourite type of hero?

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    • Taranwanderer profile image


      3 years ago

      Very good little hub about Superheroes. When you think about it, the Superman archetype also encompasses the Speedster, Brick.Tank and Blaster. Truly, the Man of Steel is a god among even even superheoes.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Doesn't gymanst fall in the martial artist category?

    • billdales profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Oevel

      Yeah, that's true, totally forgot about them!

    • profile image

      Domenick Dicce 

      7 years ago

      Love the break down of the different types of powers. I think I would add gymnast and animal endowments to the list.


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