Superheroes With Realistic Body Types

When it comes to accurate depictions of the human body, comic book heroes are hardly realistic. Whether they’re sprouting blades from their hands or surviving decades in a deep freeze, these characters regularly push the limits of what’s considered possible. But they also depart from realistic human anatomy in a more mundane sense: Almost none of them reflect the typical physique of most Americans.

Today, 33.7% of men and 36.5% of women in the U.S. are considered obese, and more than two-thirds are overweight.1 Weight gain has put millions of people at risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other preventable conditions.2 Meanwhile, comic books depict vastly different figures: men with massive biceps and shoulders and women with toned abs and tiny waists.

So what would they look like if they reflected more typical body shapes and sizes? We’ve Photoshopped several major comic book characters – not to touch them up, but to make the average hero look more like the average American.


Black Cat



Power Girl

Black Widow

Iron Man

Captain America

Batman & Poison Ivy

Wonder Woman




As you might expect, the differences are stark. When seen through a more realistic lens, the stick-thin thighs and visible ribcages vanish from the women, while the men’s exaggerated V-shaped upper bodies are cut down to a more reasonable size.

The extreme body shapes of the originals come from the fictional universes in which these characters reside, and as widespread as these images may be in our culture, this certainly isn’t something that any real person could hope to achieve safely. If these characters had a figure more like that of the average person, perhaps more people could look up to their favorite superhero without feeling the need to emulate an impossible physique. Ultimately, what’s truly heroic is respecting yourself, your body, and your health.

Seeking Help

What begins as negative body image can quickly become much more devastating. Specialized eating disorder treatment can help those experiencing the debilitating effects of a distorted body image, as well as a preoccupation with food, exercise, and/or weight. If your life, or that of someone close to you, is being negatively impacted by these or other signs of a potential eating disorder, visit Our treatment support specialists can provide more information about available treatment options.


The edited images shown above are parody. Trademark rights and copyrights relating to the comic book covers featured on this page belong to their respective owner(s), which are not associated of affiliated with and did not license rights or authorize or sponsor this article.

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