Thanksgiving is traditionally known as a time for family. Whether it’s sharing a small meal with your immediate family or fighting over the last ounce of gravy with a host of cousins, many people’s Thanksgivings are spent reconnecting with family and creating new memories (whether pleasant or horrifying) that will last a lifetime. While comics aren’t traditionally known for having many stable families, there are a few families who you wouldn’t mind sharing a turkey with. In honor of Thanksgiving, here’s a look at five of the best families in comics:
Superman stands for truth, justice and the American ways, ideals he learned growing up in the Kent household. Simple farmers from Smallville, Jonathan and Martha Kent raised their adoptive son in a humble but loving environment, teaching him how to use his powers responsibly for the good of others. Raising a child who can shoot lasers out of his eyes is a tall task for any parent, but Ma and Pa Kent persevered using honesty and a focus on simplicity. When Superman began his superhero career, the Kents were more than supportive, sewing his first costume, handing out helpful advice and even housing some of Superman’s extended Kryptonian family. When you take in your son’s teenaged half-clone without batting an eye, you deserve some sort of special parenting award.
Peter Parker didn’t have a traditional family (after all, his parents died overseas during a secret CIA mission), but he did have his Aunt May and Uncle Ben, who admirably stepped in to raise their orphaned nephew. Ben and May didn’t have much, but they took in Peter anyways and raised him to be kind and selfless. The blue collar couple encouraged their nephew’s interest in science and taught him about the importance of responsibility, a value Peter adopted when he started his superhero career as Spider-Man. In fact, Uncle Ben’s death changed the trajectory of Peter Parker’s whole life. While the teenager had briefly considered using his powers for more selfish purposes, Peter decided on a more selfless path after learning he was (indirectly) responsible for Uncle Ben’s death.
The Fantastic Four
Marvel’s “First Family”, the Fantastic Four have straddled the line between fun and dysfunctional for fifty years. With cross-galactic vacations, a home that houses multiple doorways to alternate dimensions, a time traveling grandfather and a “crazy uncle” who harbors both a deep affection for his goddaughter and a homicidal hatred of the rest of the family, the extended Richards family is hardly normal in any sense of the word. But despite all the wacky adventures and the frequent danger, the Fantastic Four share the same strong bonds that any family has, allowing them to work together as both a team and as a family. The Fantastic Four isn’t a perfect family by any stretch; the Human Torch and the Thing’s “friendly” brawls often cause thousands of dollars in property damage and Reed Richards frequently acts without consulting the rest of family, causing crises of a galactic scale. However, those imperfections make the Fantastic Four relatable, showing that even superhero families have their warts.
The Marvel Family
While only two members are related by blood, the Marvel Family (or Shazam Family, as they’re currently called in the DC Universe) are one of the more fun and friendly families in all of comics. After gaining the powers of Captain Marvel thanks to the Wizard Shazam, Billy Batson realized he could also bestow a portion of his powers on others. His first “family” member was Freddy Freeman, a teenager crippled during a fight between Marvel and supervillain Captain Nazi. Billy’s long lost sister Mary also discovered that she could access her own set of powers as she and Billy were twins. In the New 52, the Marvel Family doubled in size, as Billy’s foster siblings Eugene, Pedro and Darla all gained a portion of Shazam’s powers during a fight against Black Adam.
The Bone Cousins
Most people only see their cousins during family reunions and major holidays, but the Bone cousins shared an epic fantasy adventure in Bone, the all ages fantasy series by Jeff Smith. After helping their conniving and scheming cousin Phoney flee their hometown of Boneville, Fone Bone and Smiley Bone take their cousin to the Valley, a mysterious wooded area filled with mystical creatures and strange magical forces. Fone Bone falls in love with one of the locals and vows to help her retake the Valley from the dangerous forces of the Lord of the Locusts. While Fone acts as a traditional sort of fantasy hero, Phoney and Smiley have all sorts of misadventures, with Phoney taking advantage of Smiley’s kind and simple nature. While the Bone cousins often disagree on what to do in the Valley, the three spend much of their time looking after one another, keeping each other alive and safe even as rat creatures, dragons and undead witches do battle around them.