10 Famous (And Frequently Dysfunctional) Comic Book Families1 of 12
As we move towards Mother's Day and Father's Day, we're left thinking about Superman and his family, who could've been the subject of an animated series unlike any other small screen Superman story.
Though that series didn't come to pass, there are plenty of examples of families that form the core of well known and well-loved comic books.
THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY2 of 12
The students of the Umbrella Academy aren't just schoolmates. They aren't even just a super-team. They're also siblings - all adopted by Professor Reginald Hargreeves following the mysterious circumstances of their birth.
This team/family might also be the definition of "dysfunctional" - their relationships have traditionally been strained at best, though the quirky and often dark adventures in which they often find themselves in bring them back together.
THE NEW GODS3 of 12
Historical pantheons of mythological deities have extremely complex interwoven familial relationships - and the fictional New Gods are no different.
On New Genesis, Highfather and his son Orion are the central figures, while over on Apokolips, Darkseid's children such as Kalibak, Grail, and Grayven are the ruling dynasty.
But the collective family relationship goes deeper than that. Remember how we said Orion is adopted - yeah, he was adopted from Darkseid as part of a peace treaty in which Darkseid in turn adopted Scott Free, Highfather's blood son.
And of course, Scott Free grew up to become Mr. Miracle, the freewheeling master of escape, who went on to escape Apokolips, marry Big Barda, and even join the Justice League.
GRAYSON FAMILY (INVINCIBLE)4 of 12
Don't get confused, as this is a very popular surname in the worlds of comic books. In this case, we're talking about the first family of Invincible. And what a twisted little family of super-powered characters it is.
It starts with Omni-Man, Nolan Grayson, who is a member of the galaxy-conquering Viltrumites. Omni-Man masquerades as a hero for quite sometime, when he was technically supposed to be the envoy for a coming invasion. He has a son with a human, and Mark Grayson becomes Invincible. They fight after Omni-Man reveals his true colors and kills this Earth's super team, and Nolan disappears.
Well, Omni-Man just wound up on another planet, and had another kid with another native race. Oliver, through the story, winds up on Earth, and becomes Mark's protege. The Graysons are a great case study in nature-vs-nurture, and a nice example of how legacy can be built up quickly, even in a new universe.
ALAN SCOTT/JADE/OBSIDIAN5 of 12
Though their current status quo hasn’t quite been defined, the classic relationship between Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott and his kids Jade and Obsidian is one of estranged parenthood.
See, in classic continuity, Alan Scott fathered his super-powered twin children with the villainous Thorn, leading to their adoption. Jade and Obsidian eventually reconnected with Alan Scott after joining Infinity Inc. as superheroes.
Obsidian later became a villain due in part to the abuse he suffered in his foster home, eventually reforming and rejoining the Justice Society alongside his father and sister (till most of that continuity was wiped clean or altered heavily by the "New 52" era).
MAGNETO FAMILY6 of 12
Magneto will never win dad of the year, if such an award actually existed (and in the Marvel Universe, maybe it does). But who exactly are Magneto’s kids at this point?
For a long time, Magneto was canonically believed to be the father of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, members of the original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and early Avengers recruits. But a recent tale revealed them to be genetically engineered products of the High Evolutionary – and not mutants at all.
Meanwhile, Polaris, who was originally thought to be Magneto’s daughter, was later revealed to not be his daughter at all - and that was again reversed, leaving her perhaps the one true heir to the Master of Magnetism.
And speaking of the High Evolutionary, some of his Wundagore Mutates could even be considered kin to Magneto, with the cow-like Bova raising Magneto’s then-supposed children Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch on Wundagore Mountain.
And of course, for a time, Vision was considered Magneto's son-in-law via his marriage to Wanda Maximoff (which produced two children/magical offspring - Wiccan and Speed of the Young Avengers). Likewise, Crystal of the Inhumans was once married to Pietro Maximoff, raising an Inhuman daughter named Luna.
THE BAT FAMILY7 of 12
Though they count only two blood relatives in the core group, the "Bat Family" would certainly consider themselves a family, all centered around Bruce Wayne/Batman.
Those blood relatives, by the way, are Bruce and Damian Wayne, the current Robin, who is Wayne's son. Though of course Dick Grayson and Tim Drake have often demonstrated a paternal relationship with Bruce.
Then there's Barbara Gordon, who not only operates as Batgirl (and carried on a romance with Dick Grayson), but is also the daughter of Batman's longtime ally (and one-time stand-in) Commissioner James Gordon.
Damian's mom, by the way, is Talia al-Ghul, daughter of Batman's nemesis Ra's al-Ghul, the immortal leader of the League of Shadows.
MARVEL FAMILY8 of 12
The concept of family is so intrinsic to Captain Marvel and his extended supporting cast that they starred in 89 issues of a series simply titled "Marvel Family" starting in 1945.
Starting with the original Captain Marvel, Billy Batson, the rest of the gang got in the fun with his twin sister Mary Mary Marvel, yup and Captain Marvel Jr., their buddy Freddy Freeman. The family expanded with Uncle Marvel (not really an uncle, but an old, powerless dude that the kids humored for a while, which apparently wasn't considered creepy back in the '40s) and Hoppy the Marvel Bunny, who also was not biologically related to the Batsons as he was, in fact, a rabbit.
Billy Batson now operates under the name Shazam, but the concept of family is still at the heart of his stories, including this year's eponymous feature film which introduced a new version of the Marvel Family to the big screen.
SUMMERS FAMILY9 of 12
The Summers family (and the Greys for that matter) have a long, illustrious past in the Marvel Universe. These two families have actually been guided (and in some cases genetically engineered) with the express purpose of creating the ultimate mutant. In one timeline, that was Nathan Christopher Charles, or Cable. In another, it was Nate Grey, and in yet another, Rachel.
The sheer number of Summers that have been featured in the last few decades of Marvel comics is astonishing. There's Christopher, Scott, Alex, Gabriel, Nathan, Nate, Rachel, Hope, and that's not including Jean, clones (Madelyne, Stryfe) and some question marks that are still floating around out there.
The fun on this one is when you really start playing connect-the-dots a bit. For instance, Scott Summers and Jean Grey's clone Madelyne Pryor had a baby, Cable. Cable was raised in the future by Scott and Jean in alternate bodies called Slymm and Redd, and with the assistance of Rachel Grey as Mother Askani, his genetic sister from another timeline who had lived thousands of years thanks to the Phoenix Force. If Hope (Cable's adoptive daughter) winds up having some genetic connection to Jean, then it's possible that Nathan also raised a clone or partial clone/descendant of his genetic mother.
Never change, Summers family. Never change.
SUPERMAN FAMILY10 of 12
The idea of a “Superman Family” has been around in comic books for decades, but it’s never been more literal – or more central to the narrative of Superman – than it is right now.
In Superman’s current status quo, Clark Kent and Lois Lane’s marriage – and their relationship with their son Jon Kent – is the core of the story. Even Kal-El’s long-thought-dead father Jor-El has been a key part of the story.
And of course, there’s also Kara Zor-El, a.k.a. Supergirl, Superman’s Kryptonian cousin, and Conner Kent, his partial clone who was also partly raised by Jonathan and Martha Kent.
FANTASTIC FOUR11 of 12
The Fantastic Four is frequently called the "first family" of Marvel Comics, and there are lots of good reasons as to why. Debuting in 1961, they kicked off the "Marvel Age" as we still know it today, and they are, at heart, a family.
Consisting of Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic and his wife, Sue Storm-Richards/Invisible Woman, plus her brother Johnny Storm/Human Torch and their best friend, Ben Grimm, the Fantastic Four (despite numerous, ultimately temporary, membership changes over the years) have always been more of a family than a superhero team. And it's a family that's only gotten bigger: Reed and Sue now have two kids, Franklin and Valeria. Oh, and Valeria considers Doctor Doom – the team's greatest enemy for essentially their entire existence - to be an uncle to her. They say you don't choose family, and that might be a good reason as to why.
It doesn't stop there: Nathaniel Richards is the time-traveling father of Reed, and their metaphorical family has only grown thanks to the Future Foundation.
Relaunch all you want, but no matter what, the Fantastic Four is a fantastic family with history, adventure, and excitement as much a part of their DNA as the fictional Richards genetic code is.
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