Today is National Redhead Day, the one day a year where we celebrate the men and women blessed with a fiery mane of red hair. Genetically speaking, red hair is the rarest type of hair color found in humans, with only one out of every hundred people possessing ginger locks. However, that rarity hasn’t translated to the comics, since some of comics’ best known characters are redheads. To celebrate National Redhead Day, here’s five of our favorite male comic characters with red hair:
(Be sure to check out our feature on female redhead comic characters too!)
One of the most underrated heroes in comics, Elongated Man has the detective skills of Batman, stretching powers on par with Mister Fantastic and a red comb over and sense of humor straight out of Conan O’Brian’s playbook. Originally a supporting character (and occasional rival) of the Flash, Ralph Dibny was one of the first superheroes to go public with his identity. Superheroics was everything to Ralph: he served on multiple iterations of the Justice League and even met his wife Sue while “investigating” a case (he was actually just trying to get close to her). Although Ralph and his wife both met tragic fates during two of DC’s darker storylines, both appeared live and well in the New 52 in Gail Simone’s Secret Six series.
One third of comics’ most famous love triangle, Archie Andrews is America’s most typical teenager. First appearing all the way back in 1941, Archie is a well-mannered but clumsy teen with one thing on his mind: girls. Although Archie will typically get a crush on any girl that crosses his path, his two main relationships are with the beautiful millionaire Veronica Lodge and the girl next door Betty Cooper. Although Archie has known both for over 70 years now, he’s yet to decide which girl he wants to be with. Archie Comics recently updated Archie and the rest of the gang for the modern era, transforming Archie from a timeless dork to a teen heartthrob. Don’t worry though, just because Archie has a new set of looks doesn’t mean he’s wizened up when it comes to women! (Seriously, Archie, just choose Betty already!)
With a killer scream and a thick brogue, Banshee is Ireland’s favorite mutant. Although he didn’t formally join the X-Men until 1975 (as part of the “All-New, All-Different” roster change that introduced Colossus, Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Storm) Banshee first appeared in the X-Men comics as a foe of the original team. Banshee was an unwilling member of Factor Three, a secret criminal organization made up entirely of mutants. With a bomb strapped to his neck, Banshee completed several missions for Factor Three until the X-Men stopped and freed him. Now working with the X-Men, Banshee helped reveal the true leader of Factor Three (an alien posing as the Mutant Master) and helped defeat him. Over the years, Banshee served on the X-Men’s active roster, assisted Moira MacTaggart with her research and acted as the co-headmaster of the Massachusetts Institute teaching the Generation X mutants alongside Emma Frost. Although Banshee met his end investigating a secret group of X-Men that included Cyclops and Havok’s brother Vulcan, the Apocalypse Twins later resurrected him to serve as one of their Horsemen of Death.
Matt Murdock’s hair is as red as the costume he dons while fighting crime as Daredevil. Blinded as a young boy in a traffic accident, exposure to unknown chemicals granted Murdock enhanced senses that helped him compensate for his lack of sight. With a strong sense of justice and a liberal heaping of Catholic guilt, Murdock took up a superhero persona to clean up crime in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in which he lived and worked. After he permanently outed himself as Daredevil to prevent the Sons of the Serpent from blackmailing him and Foggy Nelson, Murdock moved to San Francisco and worked as both a lawyer and superhero (often while wearing a snazzy red suit). For unknown reasons, it appears that Daredevil will soon be moving back to New York and fighting crime in a new, black version of his costume.
Superman’s best pal, Jimmy Olsen’s red hair is almost as iconic as the dorky bow tie he typically wears. First appearing in the 1940’s Adventures of Superman radio show to help make Superman’s exposition seem more natural, DC added Olsen in the comics as Clark Kent’s assistant and friend. Olsen even had his own comic book, Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen, which often featured the character transforming into bizarre and grotesque forms to stave off weird Silver Age threats. He later played a part in Jack Kirby’s “Fourth World Saga”, in which the character investigated threats funded and created by the forces of Apokolips. Olsen recently learned Superman’s secret identity in the comics and helped his friend cope with the aftermath of Superman’s newfound “Solar Flare” ability. While Jimmy currently appears on CBS’s hit Supergirl series, his red hair is nowhere to be found as CBS cast the very bald and very studly Mehcad Brooks as Olsen on the show.