- We polled Americans to ask which superheroes they would call in the event of a global calamity (if superheroes were real).
- Superman was called by 41% of respondents, Iron Man by 32%, and Wonder Woman by 30%.
- 18% of Americans did not know who they would call.
- 11% would call Aquaman.
After years in obscurity, Aquaman has finally had a chance to dazzle audiences on the big screen. The film, helmed by star Jason Momoa, made $US106 million domestically plus a healthy $US451 million outside the US and Canada. It’s a bonafide hit for Warner Bros.
Finally, the king of Atlantis is getting the respect a character so storied deserves, an opportunity to get past the reputation of a scaly man who “talks to fish,” and an opportunity to finally claim the dignity and regality that Aquaman has deserved since his comic debut in 1941. This isn’t just a victory at the box office, it could be a victory for the hearts and minds of a populace yearning for a new hero.
It could be, however, it’s not! On the weekend of its release, we ran a SurveyMonkey audience poll asking 1,025 Americans: “In the event of a global calamity, which superheroes would you most want on your side?” We offered the names of 39 fictional Marvel and DC superheroes and asked respondents to select up to seven. The list included Justice League members, Avengers, Defenders, X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy, and more.
The good news for Aquaman is that he is not, in fact, at the bottom of the list: Of the 1,025 respondents who answered the question, a full 11% said they would want to call Aquaman.
This, on the weekend of the film’s release, is excellent compared to many heroes who have been staples of the big screen and the small screen for years now: Aquaman tied with Super-Girl for votes (11%) and got more calls than DC brethren Green Lantern (8%), Green Arrow (4.5%), Batgirl (4%), Martian Manhunter (3%), Shazam (2%) and Cyborg (1%). He’s also getting more calls than Marvel’s Star-Lord, Hawkeye, Vision, and Black Widow. The downside is that literally only one of those characters – the Green Lantern – has helmed a movie all on his own.
And from that perspective, Aquaman still has work to do. Arthur Curry aka Aquaman is not, shall we say, at the top of anyone’s call sheet.
The most popular superheroes called upon to protect Earth in time of calamity are Superman (41% of respondents), followed by Iron Man (32%), Wonder Woman (30%), Thor (29%), and Captain America (28%). Then comes Spider-Man (23%), Batman (23%), the Hulk (20%), Doctor Strange (20%), and Deadpool (18%).
The next most common response was “I don’t know,” which gathered 18% of votes, and serves as a pretty decisive divider between the top-tier and the rest.
After that came Black Panther (17%), Wolverine (17%), the Flash (our first character who has not yet helmed their own live-action major motion picture, with 14% of respondents) and Captain Marvel, with 12%.
Then came Aquaman.
The good news? Aquaman did get more calls than Green Lantern, who helmed a film of his own, as well as Ant-Man (7%), The Wasp (2%), and Daredevil (3%). If it’s any comfort (it probably isn’t) Aquaman also polled higher than Robin (3%), who also technically helmed a movie.
Good for Aquaman for finally emerging from the deep to be a top-tier hero. He’s your best call, as long as Superman, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, Thor, Captain America, Spider-Man, Batman, Hulk, Doctor Strange, Deadpool, Black Panther, Wolverine, the Flash, and Captain Marvel are all super busy.
SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. SurveyMonkey Audience doesn’t try to weight its sample based on race or income. Total 1,025 completed respondents from Dec. 21 to Dec. 22, margin of error plus or minus 3.12 percentage points with 95% confidence level.
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