It's Leap Day— that once-every-four-years occasion that falls on Feb. 29.
For you, that might mean an extra day to try something new, the 32nd anniversary of Gordie Howe scoring his 800th goal (thanks, Wikipedia!) or simply business as usual.
But for these five comic book characters, Feb. 29 is a chance to truly embrace their gifts for jumping, bounding, hopping and general leaping. Read on to find out the fictional folks that should be first on the invite list to any Leap Day celebration— and in the spirit of the day, these characters and 1984-era Van Halen, you might as well jump.
Toad. Toad first appeared back in 1964's X-Men #4, making him a true O.G. leaper. No one-dimensional leaper, he also a super-strong tongue (more useful than you might think, just as gross as you imagined) and can stick to walls. Though known primarily as a bad guy (one so bad, he was a founding member of a group that voluntarily chose to call themselves "The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants"), he's currently serving as janitor at Wolverine's Jean Grey School for Higher Learning.
Like a lot of characters on this list, he doesn't get a ton of respect, but he's proving to be pretty handy around campus: In just a few months, the inside of his body has already acted as an unlikely field trip location. Just don't bring up that whole "Do you know what happens to a toad when it's struck by lightning?" thing from the first X-Men movie around him; he's still not over it.
Bouncing Boy. Stifle the outraged comments — yes, Chuck Taine is more of a "bouncer" than a "leaper," but what's bouncing if not a branch on the leaping family tree? One of the greatest examples of the zany creativity from DC's Silver Age Legion of Super-Heroes comics, Bouncing Boy got his powers from accidentally drinking a formula that he thought was a soda; something that will probably be pretty common by the 30th century.
In recent years, his role among the Legion has been limited, perhaps due to the notion that a comic book character who can turn himself into a human version of the bouncy balls you get out of vending machines isn't viable in our cynical modern times, but if there's ever a time to embrace his wonderful wackiness, it's Leap Day.
Frog-Man. Like Toad and Bouncing Boy, Frog-Man also has origins dating back to the Silver Age. Though he didn't appear until Marvel Team-Up #121 in 1982, his father, Daredevil villain Leap-Frog, first appeared in 1967, by comic legends Stan Lee and Gene Colan. Leap-Frog didn't get his powers through being a mutant or a superpowered soft drink, but human ingenuity — exceptionally effective springs in his shoes that allowed him to leap high distances.
His son followed in his dad's mechanically-aided footsteps as the well-meaning but misguided Frog-Man, jumping really high for sort-of good instead of sort-of evil. Or at least attempting to, having made comical guest appearances in stories such as 2003's Tangled Web #12 (which helped launched the career of Avenging Spider-Man writer Zeb Wells) and last year's Spider-Island: Avengers one-shot.
Superman. Superman has a whole bunch of superpowers. But one of the foremost among them is his ability to, as the old saying goes, "leap tall buildings in a single bound."
Now, you might think that leaping would be essentially redundant when you can fly so high and so fast that you can travel back in time by circling the globe, but there are times when a well-timed hop is exactly what Kal-El needs to pull out of his arsenal — like if he's enslaved by Darkseid and forced to compete in the high jump at the Apokolips Olympics or challenged to a a Space Jam-esque intergalactic slam-dunk contest by basketball-loving aliens. (Which was one of the early plans for The New 52 relaunch, according to no one.)
Batroc The Leaper. The patron saint of comic book leapers, Batroc has been a thorn in Captain America's side since 1966's Tales of Supsense #75 (clearly, the 1960s were an especially fruitful time for comic book characters who could jump high). Unlike the other characters on our list, Batroc the Leaper has no superpowers. He's a self-made man, a practitioner of a the French martial art savate, which has made him such a good leaper he had no choice but to add it to his name.
Maybe it's his endearingly stereotypical French accent, but Batroc doesn't tend to get treated very seriously as a villain, usually getting disposed of quickly and comedically. Which is why it makes it all the more tragic that his chance to truly shine only comes every four years. So in honor of Marvel's mustachioed master of the leap, take a bit of a jump and say "ze" instead of "the" at least once today. (Side note: As a child, I originally thought his name was "Batroc the Leper" and wondered how that could possibly be helpful in a fight.)Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!