When I heard about the Yale Law Library’s “Superheroes in Court! Lawyers, Law and Comic Books,” it got me thinking about superheroes that are lawyers as their day job (obviously their night-job is fighting super villains). I was a huge collector of comics when I was a kid, so immediately I could think of two names right off the top of my head, but I knew there had to be more. So, after a little (very little) bit of research, and a few hints from some Twitter followers, I came up with a quick list of superheroes who also happen to be attorneys when they are not wearing their underwear over their pants. I also decided to expand the list to include television and movie superheroes that were lawyers, mainly because there usually is some cross-connection between comic books and big/little screen superheroes.
The superhero/lawyer concept seems to take on the thread of either “Justice for the less fortunate,” or “I’m tired of all these criminals getting away with it, so I’ll kick their butts at night.” Very few are BigLaw attorneys (but, there is at least one that I found that seems to fit that category). Some even work as government lawyers… usually in the tracking down of aliens or super criminal agencies.
Here’s a list of eleven superhero/lawyers that I found, along with a short bio for each one.
Daredevil – The Man Without Fear – Though he has no superhuman physical attributes beyond an enhanced sense of balance, Daredevil is a master of martial arts, despite the fact that he is totally blind. In his civilian identity, Matt Murdock, he is a skilled and respected attorney with an encyclopedic knowledge of law, especially New York statutes. In the comic universe, Daredevil is usually seen as one of the darkest superheroes (especially during the Gene Colon and Frank Miller periods) and probably shouldn’t have suffered the fate of having Ben Affleck play him in the movie version.
She-Hulk – Jennifer Walters (AKA She-Hulk) has been a member of the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Heroes For Hire, Defenders, Fantastic Force, and S.H.I.E.L.D. A highly skilled lawyer, she has served as legal counsel to various superheroes on numerous occasions. Her cousin is Bruce Banner, better known as The Incredible Hulk.
This description from Wikipedia makes it sound like she’d be a superhero just from her lawyering skills:
As a generally idealistic lawyer, the character has a history of defending the rights of minorities, the mentally ill, civil liberties, including the right for criminals to not be unduly mistreated and get a proper defense, or individuals to not be victimised by certain less ethical corporations, but also a belief in the necessity of law and order. These priorities have sometimes made her personally conflicted, such as reversing her stance regarding the “Superhuman Registration Act”; and being disillusioned when her more famous cousin (whom she considers as a brother) was shot into space without due process, or when what she thought to be a torturer and murderer of children was cleared from all charges.”
Those were the two off the top of my “Marvel Comics” memory (I wasn’t a big fan of DC comics other than Teen Titans). But, there are more. Like…
Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law – Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law features ex-superhero Harvey T. Birdman of Birdman and the Galaxy Trio as an attorney working for a law firm alongside other cartoon stars from 1960s and 1970s Hanna-Barbera cartoon series. Similarly, Harvey’s clients are also primarily composed of characters taken from Hanna-Barbera cartoon series of the same era. Many of Birdman’s nemeses featured in his former cartoon series also became attorneys, often representing the opposing side of a given case.
My biggest interaction with Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law is explaining to my kids that, although it is a cartoon, and there are characters they recognize from Boomerang, that it is not appropriate viewing for children.
I haven’t read this one, but (yawn) it doesn’t seem to be the greatest of story lines out there.
I wonder is she uses the Gotham Public Library… which is run by former Bat Girl / Oracle superhero turned librarian, Barbara Gordon?? Also… what’s up with that picture??
I think the name changes of this character are funny enough. So, make up your own commentary on this one.
As events would reveal, Gazerbeam was killed on Nomanisan Island while attempting to disable an Omnidroid. The exact version was not revealed, but it was at least as late as version X4, but prior to X9, the first version later faced by Mr. Incredible. He apparently discovered the reason for his mission—i.e., Operation Kronos—and used his powers to burn the word “KRONOS” into a cavern wall on the island prior to his death.
This story line made me cry a little….
Earth-Two Robin – On Earth-Two, home of the Golden Age version of DC’s superheroes, Dick Grayson continued to be Robin even as an adult, having no successors, and even after Batman’s death (remember, this is Earth-Two…don’t panic). His allies included the All-Star Squadron along with Batwoman and Flamebird. He eventually became a member of the Justice Society of America.
During his later years, he adopted a more Batman-like look for a time, and by the 1960s had become a lawyer and the ambassador to South Africa. Although in semi-retirement, he was called back to active duty when he rejoined the Justice Society during the period when Power Girl and Star-Spangled Kid also assisted them.
This reminds me why I didn’t read DC comics as a kid.
I wonder if Kinnear kept this suit after the filming… he looks very natural in leather, metal and spandex.
[Note: Props to Robb Farmer at Faulkner University Thomas Goode Jones School of Law Library for pointing out my forgetting to add in Vigilante (Adrian Chase) to the list. I’m doubly ashamed to have missed this one because I own a number of Vigilante comics (including Teen Titans Annual #2 with his first appearance). Robb also put on a great presentation on this topic at AALL where he dressed up as Two-Gun Kid!!]