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See Superhero for a disambiguation page.
"Vigilante" redirects here. For the fanfiction archive, see Vigilante (archive).
Tropes and genres
Synonym(s)superheroines, masked vigilantes, costumed crime fighters
Related tropes/genressuperpowers, supervillains, mutant, metahuman
See alsoClones
Related articles on Fanlore.

A superhero is a type of fictional character possessing superpowers who is dedicated to protecting the public[1]. A female superhero is sometimes called a superheroine.

Such characters typically wear distinctive costumes (though this is not necessarily true, especially in live action formats). The terms costumed crime fighters or masked vigilantes are sometimes used for characters such as Batman and Green Arrow who wear this sort of costume but do not have superpowers. However, they are more commonly also referred to as superheroes.

Some superheroes use their powers to counter daily crime while also combating threats against humanity from supervillains, who are their criminal counterparts. Often at least one of these supervillains will recur with sufficient frequency to be considered the superhero's archenemy. Some long-running superheroes have a rogues' gallery of many villains.

Superheroes often have a "secret identity," a civilian persona that they must keep protected from enemies. This may be justified in order to protect their non-powered family and associates from being attacked by their enemies.

Stories and art containing superheroes may be created both in fandoms in which the existence of superheroes is canon and as AUs of canon sources that lack such elements (e.g. Firefly, NCIS).


Superheroes are most prominently shown in comic books, especially in the Marvel Comics and DC Comics universes, but they have also been shown in films and animated series.

Original Characters that are often added in certain fandoms such as X-Men and Justice League are often superheroes, and are added into fanfiction and fanart along with other types of fanwork.

Some long-running superheroes are Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Hulk, Green Lantern, the Flash, Captain America, Thor, Wolverine, Iron Man, Squirrel Girl, and the X-Men.

Fandoms with canon superheroes

Fandoms with superheroes-centric canons include:

Superhero AU

Alternate Universe fanworks in which characters whose world does not have superheroes or vigilantism in canon are placed in an a universe where superheroes are part of society. Typically one or more main characters become superheroes. If the characters already have fantastical abilities in their canon, those abilities will likely be the hero's superpower in the AU. If not, the character's superpower in the AU may be based on other skills or traits associated with them.

Romances in which one person is a superhero and the other is a civilian whom they save (in the vein of Clark/Lois) are common. Fanworks about a larger cast may feature characters in a superhero team. Characters, whether or not they are antagonists in canon, may also be cast as Supervillains in the AU. This can be an enemyslash hero/villain relationship.

In fanart a Superhero AU can be an opportunity to imagine superhero uniforms or how superpowers look.

Example Fanworks




The 100:

Teen Wolf:


Archives and Communities

External Links