Comic books have existed as a literary escape for many generations, propelling the reader into a world of action and bringing cartoon characters to life. Their stories often go on for months, years, or even decades; the journey of a comic book character can be endless. The reader is allowed to grow and age with their favorite characters experience. For many comic book and graphic novel fans, these characters take on a certain type of reality, sometimes filling the role of a surrogate family. This process is made easier when the comics already contain a built-in family. So for the community-deprived reader, here is a list of the top five comic book and graphic novel families.
The Kents – Superman: Jonathan Kent and Martha Kent, though not the true parents of Superman, are responsible for the young boy’s upbringing. Also known as Ma and Pa Kent, the Man of Steel’s adoptive parents found him as an infant in a crashed rocket. They brought the boy up in the town of Smallville, USA, where they instilled the strong moral compass and values that would define the everyday persona of Superman (Clark Kent). Martha Kent is even responsible for sewing together Clark’s first superhero costume! The Kents are so important that DC Comics actually produced a twelve issue limited series in 1997 and 1998, written by John Ostrander.
The Parkers – Spider-Man: After the death of his parents, Peter Parker was raised by his loving Aunt May and Uncle Ben, who was tragically killed by a burglar that Peter could have apprehended. He blames himself and decides to use his newfound, radioactive spider-enhanced powers to become a superhero. Aunt May remained in Peter’s life as a helping hand and comforting shoulder throughout his life as Spider-Man. The Parkers importance is undeniable: without Uncle Ben’s death and the support of Aunt May, Spider-Man would have never existed.
The Waynes – Batman: Like Peter Parker before him, Bruce Wayne’s superhero persona was born out of his childhood trauma: Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered right in front of his eyes. The experience left Bruce scarred and driven to fight and defame criminals in Gotham City. The Waynes are also responsible for Batman’s day job as the head of Wayne Enterprises (formerly WayneCorp). The company keeps Bruce Wayne’s bills payed and Batman’s activities under wraps.
Fantastic Four – Though not technically a family, the Fantastic Four boast two relations and a marriage between them. Susan Storm Richards (Invisible Girl) is both the sister of Johnny Storm (Human Torch) and wife of Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic). Only Ben Grimm (The Thing) remains unrelated at this point in the Fantastic Four saga. Invisible Girl and Mr. Fantastic also have two children, each with superhero powers of their own.
The Endless – The Sandman: Neil Gaiman’s landmark series The Sandman follows the character of Morpheus (also known as Dream). Dream is part of a “family” of beings who represent different aspects of the universe, notably Destiny, Death, Destruction, Despair, Desire, and Delirium. Often cryptic and constantly changing form, The Endless are a dysfunctional family that supposedly predate the existence of the gods. Dream is the protagonist of The Sandman, but the other members of the Endless are all given their chance to shine (Death even received two limited series in the early 1990s, both penned by Gaiman).