Superheroes are powerful role models for children, as studies have shown that children who look up to these characters learn about healthy self-esteem, confidence, and moral development. But that’s not all, as superheroes can also encourage good nutrition. In fact, one study showed that elementary school students who were exposed to veggie superheroes increased their fruit and vegetable consumption by 239 percent. This statistic is just one reason why we need vegan superheroes in comic books, television shows, and movies. Another reason is the fact that diversity is the latest trend in superhero culture, with superheroes of different races, genders, and sexual orientations being introduced. With this in mind, wouldn’t it be great to see vegan superheroes who embody physical strength and compassion for animals become part of this new wave of crime-fighting crusaders? We think so, which is why we’ve highlighted four iconic superheroes we wish were vegan and why these caped crusaders should go plant-based.
Origin story: An extraterrestrial born on Krypton who was sent to Earth in a rocket-powered escape pod moments before his home planet exploded
Powers: Flight; superhuman strength and speed; x-ray and heat vision; freezing breath; acute hearing; and virtual indestructibility (when not exposed to kryptonite)
Why he should be vegan: Superman went vegetarian in 2005 after gaining the ability to see human and animal auras. It’s unclear whether the Man of Steel is vegan (or whether he’s remained vegetarian), but he should be vegan because a vegan Superman might become an animal-rights activist, using his x-ray vision and super-hearing to expose what really goes on inside factory farms and slaughterhouses, making him the ultimate undercover investigator.
2. Wonder Woman
Origin story: Born on remote Paradise Island when her mother, Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, fashioned her from clay. Or is she the daughter of Hippolyta and the Greek god Zeus? Comic book writers and movie studio executives are debating the latest iteration of Wonder Woman’s origins out now.
Powers: Flight; enhanced hearing, vision, speed, strength, and endurance; use of indestructible bracelets and a Lasso of Truth that compels people in its grasp to be completely honest; and ability to communicate with animals
Why she should be vegan: Wonder Woman is fluent in all animal languages, so we wonder whether she’s ever asked any pigs, cows, or chickens how they feel about humans eating their meat, milk, and eggs. Similar to Superman, Wonder Woman went vegetarian a few years ago, but it’s unclear whether she maintains a meat-free diet. If she was vegan, Wonder Woman could use her magic lasso to make meat industry insiders tell the truth about their exploitation of animals while inspiring legions of fanboys and fangirls to follow her compassionate example.
Origin story: Aquaman’s father was a famous ocean explorer who discovered an ancient underwater city he believed was Atlantis. He constructed a submarine home there, using science to enable his son to live under the sea.
Powers: Ability to breathe underwater, swim extremely fast, withstand the pressure of the ocean depths, and telepathically control sea creatures
Why he should be vegan: Aquaman doesn’t communicate with fish so much as he psychically compels them to do his bidding against underwater villains—and that one-way relationship might explain why he eats fish. Aquaman should go vegan because a superhero who routinely puts sea creatures in harm’s way as involuntary crime-fighting weapons should at least have the decency not to eat them. Science has proven that fish are intelligent and feel pain, and since Aquaman was raised by a renowned oceanographer, he should respect scientific findings. Plus, if Aquaman was vegan, he could rally his nautical troops to stop illegal whaling and overfishing.
Origin story: High school student Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider, giving him the powers of an arachnid.
Powers: Ability to crawl on walls; enhanced strength, speed, reflexes, stamina, and agility; can shoot a web-like substance from devices on his wrists; and possesses “Spider-Sense” (an acute awareness of immediate surroundings)
Why he should be vegan: Tobey Maguire, the actor who played Spider-Man in the 2002 film and two subsequent sequels, is vegan, but Spider-Man himself is not. Maybe that’s because when he made his comics debut in 1962, scientists hadn’t yet discovered that, when prey is scarce, many spiders eat a vegan diet consisting of floral nectar, sap, seeds, pollen, honeydew, and other plant parts. We want Spider-Man to go vegan because he could design a high-end fashion line made with synthetic spider-silk, which has five times the strength of steel ounce-for-ounce while being soft and comfortable. After all, he did design and make his own spidey-suit, so he’s got the creative talent. Then Spider-Man’s mild-mannered alter-ego, Peter Parker, could front a company called Peter Parker Parkas.
VegNews staff writer Mat Thomas once fell into a vat of radioactive waste but did not gain any superpowers.