20 most upbeat superhero stories

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Cover of Unbeatable Squirel Girl #1 (Image via Marvel)

Superhero tales don’t always have to be dark and sad. Read on for 20 of the more positive and happy superhero stories around.

When you think of superheroes, what kind of stories do they play out in your mind? If you’re a fan of the more recent comics-based tales, then you may be thinking of something very serious. The movies of Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan, for example, have firmly established Batman as one of the saddest men to ever put on a rubber Batsuit and desultorily toss a Batarang at villains.

Of course, the superhero movies wouldn’t exist without the many, many superhero comics. It’s not entirely fair, then, to put the onus of the long-lasting grimdark trend on film. The gritty comics that preceded the movies have been around for a while. They include the Frank Miller run on Batman, as well as every other offering in major comics through the 1980s and beyond.

Now, this isn’t to say that comics as a medium can’t create serious stories. There’s some pretty compelling stuff to be said, as when X-Men titles address discrimination and world-ending events or when Thor saves entire realms full of species. And, for as much as I want to give Batman grief for being an indefatigable sourpuss, he has good reason. Watching your parents die and then dealing with the extra-strange criminals in Gotham City is enough to make anyone into a Negative Nancy.

Still, between the grimdark trend and current real world events, there’s a need for upbeat superhero tales. Sometimes, it helps to remember that we can tell stories about beings who are kind and good. It also helps if they have a decent sense of humor, too.

Therefore, this list gathers 20 of the more upbeat superhero stories available right now. As always, be aware that some entries may contain spoilers, though I’ve done my best to keep them as light as possible. At any rate, much of the joy of these comics-based narratives comes through the experience of immersing yourself in their generally sunny worlds.

So, the next time you feel as if you’ve indulged a bit too much in the serious side of comics, try out one of the stories included here. After all, things are allowed to be fun sometimes.