Ever wondered which Marvel characters are the most popular among comic book fans? Well, it looks like Comic Book Resources did a rather comprehensive and sophisticated poll on the subject back in February, the results of which were posted last month. Looking through it, some of the top contenders are pretty obvious, but others are more than a little surprising.

Two things should be mentioned first before I continue. First of all, the poll was based exclusively on the characters' comic book appearances, at least in principle. It's hard to imagine the film and TV versions of characters had no effect at all on the results, but they weren't the primary factor at least. Secondly, the poll was conducted by asking each poster to list their top 10 characters, rather than asking them to vote for one in particular. The character they ranked #1 scored the most points, the character they ranked #10 scored the least points.

First of all, let's talk about some of the characters who didn't make the top 100 (but were counted). Most of these weren't very surprising, minor characters who've only been in a couple of storylines, as well as a huge slew of alternate universe characters like the Ultimate line. A few of the biggest upsets were the Red Skull, J. Jonah Jameson, Gwen Stacy, Ultron, and Nick Fury (both versions). I was also pretty surprised, given all the fuss about the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 that he didn't score high enough to make the list. Assuming this poll is accurate, I think it's fair to say then that the complainers were a vocal minority.

Moving on to the characters that actually made it to the top 100, some real surprises begin to emerge. First of all, the Fantastic Four, Marvel's "first family" and the first major co-creation between Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, are surprisingly unpopular. The Human Torch, who was something of Marvel's mascot for awhile, barely made into the list at all, tying with the supervillain Apocalypse for 100th place. Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman did better, ranking #65 and #51 respectively, but it's still a poor showing for the team. The Thing proved the most popular character of the bunch, placing at #31 and scoring the most individual votes of any character (but ranking #1 on no one's list). One has to wonder how this bodes for Fox's upcoming reboot of the team.

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There were some other upsets. Flash Thompson's Agent Venom (#64) is more popular than Eddie Brock's original Venom (#78). Miles Morales is tied with Norman Osborn (both #91) and significantly more popular than the Ultimate version of Peter Parker (who failed to make the list). Gwen Stacy didn't make the list, but Mary Jane Watson (#73) did, proving herself the most popular "civilian" character in the Marvel universe. Thanos (#47) is waaaay more popular than Galactus (#92), even though I'd never heard of the former until The Avengers came out. And the Guardians of the Galaxy really are bit players - only Rocket Raccoon (#91) and (#75) made the list at all, making the team significantly less popular than Namor (#35), Captain Britain (#28), or Dr. Strange (#27).

Moving on to the top 25, I was surprised by some but not all of the results. The MCU's biggest earner, Iron Man (#20), was ranked below the franchise's lowest earner, the Hulk (#18). Carol Danvers is Marvel's most popular solo female character, ranking at #15. Magneto (#11) is Marvel's most popular villain, followed by Dr. Doom (#19). And, perhaps to no one's great surprise, the fandom's ultimate favorite is Earth-616's Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man.

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Looking at the list and considering what relevance, if any, this has for future movie adaptations, a few things occurred to me. People really like the X-Men, whose ranks made up 14 of the top 25 characters (Scarlet Witch and Magneto included). That bodes well for Fox, since it looks like they're in no danger of running out of characters people will show up to see. However, Fox's other superhero franchise, the Fantastic Four, may come with more baggage than expected.

In Sony's case, they're in a bit of a pickle. While Spider-Man himself is extremely popular, none of the other characters from his corner of the Marvel universe broke the top 50. Spidey's most popular villain, Otto Octavius, was ranked down at #59. And none of Parker's friends and family ranked outside of Mary Jane. This raises the question as to how "expandable" Spider-Man's universe really is.

Lastly, if Marvel's looking for a female character to launch solo in the MCU, Carol Danvers is the one to pick. She's powerful, she has a long-running solo title, and she's (according to this poll) very popular. That isn't to say Black Widow (#22) doesn't deserve a shot as well; she absolutely does and if Marvel can run several male superheroes at once they can certainly run more than one female-led franchise. But if the poll's results are to be believed, Danvers is actually more popular among comic book fans than any other Avenger besides Captain America (#9) and Thor (#5).

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So those are my thoughts. What do you guys think? Did any of you catch a glimpse at this poll before now? Did of any you actually vote?

EDIT: For reasons which I am not aware of, the thread appears to be down. It's possible this is an error or standard procedure by Comic Book Resources. Whatever the case, I've altered the original link to direct to a cached archive of the thread's front page within Google's database.

In addition, I'll go ahead and list the full results below (in descending order):

100. Apocalypse / Human Torch (Storm)
98. Fantomex
97. Enchantress (Amora) / Moonstone
95. Wonder Man
94. Crystal
93. Meggan
92. Galactus
91. Norman Osborn / Rocket Raccoon / Scarlet Spider (Kaine) / Ultimate Spider-Man (Morales)
87. Firestar
86. Black Knight / Ghost Rider
84. Pixie
83. Mr. Sinister
82. Legion
81. Moonstar
80. Chamber
79. Mockingbird
78. Venom (Brock)
77. M
76. Juggernaut
75. Star Lord
74. Daken
73. Angel / Mary Jane Watson
71. Nico Minoru / Wiccan
69. Death's Head
68. Union Jack
67. Sif
66. Havok
65. Mr. Fantastic
64. Agent Venom
63. Hank Pym
62. Multiple Man
61. Bishop / Pete Wisdom
59. Spider-Man (Octavius)
58. Professor X
57. Vision
56. Luke Cage
55. Hawkeye (Bishop)
54. Quicksilver
53. Spectrum
52. Spider-Woman
51. Invisible Woman
50. Punisher
49. Colossus / Mystique
47. Cable / Thanos
45. Nova
44. Moon Knight
43. Iceman
42. Wasp
41. Jubilee
40. Rachel Grey
39. Bucky Barnes
38. X-23
37. Hercules
36. Beast
35. Namor
34. Black Panther
33. Silver Surfer
32. Loki
31. Thing
30. Dazzler
29. Deadpool
28. Captain Britain
27. Dr. Strange
26. Hawkeye
25. She-Hulk
24. Polaris
23. Iron Fist
22. Black Widow
21. Scarlet Witch
20. Iron Man
19. Dr. Doom
18. Hulk
17. Magik
16. Psylocke
15. Carol Danvers
14. Daredevil
13. Kitty Pryde
12. Emma Frost
11. Magneto
10. Cyclops
9. Captain America
8. Jean Grey
7. Gambit
6. Nightcrawler
5. Thor
4. Rogue
3. Wolverine
2. Storm
1. Spider-Man