Every American child with access to a TV over the past 50 years has, at one time or another, dreamt of flying through the sky like Superman, web-shooting through Manhattan like Spiderman, and battling Nazi supervillains whilst wearing revealing beauty pageant haute couture like Wonder Woman. But, no matter how exciting such pursuits may seem, they pale into insignificance next to the thrilling adventures of a different brand of costumed heroes…the kind that come from Britain! These are the Four Greatest British ‘Superheroes’ Ever…
No, that isn’t a typo. Britain’s grey and overcast land did indeed sire a hero who derives his crime fighting prowess from his potassium rich ‘Five a Day’ diet. Whilst American children had to settle for a handsome humanoid alien with a big “S” on his chest (whose virtual indestructibility merely masked the crippling insecurity of being an awkward, only child with father issues), the children of Britain had a true champion in the form of Bananaman.
Eric Wimp is an eight year old schoolboy who, we are told, “leads an amazing double life”. Not the Walter White/Heisenberg kind of double life, but something much more wholesome, “for when Eric eats a banana, an amazing transformation occurs”, changing the gawky youngster into Bananaman! Proving what banana growers associations across the world have claimed for years, Eric is granted a host of superpowers, including super strength, super speed, flight, and any other power that might prove necessary to further the show’s plot each week. Strikingly, his appearance also changes from that of a child to that of an adult (with a very prominent jawline), thereby making it impossible for anyone to discover his secret identity (he still wears a mask though…because he’s smooth!). To complete the look, he sports a distinctive cowled blue and yellow costume complete with a yellow two-tailed cape resembling a banana skin.
Bananaman’s rogues gallery includes villains that would make even the hardiest Kryptonian quiver in fear: General Blight a criminal mastermind with dreams of world domination; Appleman (no relation to Steve Jobs); and Scotsman, a dastardly cur with the power to control haggis with bagpipes. Sure, Superman has flown into the Sun, survived nuclear explosions, and violated the laws of physics by flying around the world the wrong way to reverse time, but has he stood toe to toe with a villain who could control haggis? With bagpipes?!
Though Morphsuits are proud to stock not one but two different Superman costumes, General Blight’s dastardly machinations mean that there is currently no Bananman suit available (well, that and the complete lack of demand).
3) Super Ted
When you think of Wales, what comes to mind? Majestic mountain vistas? The home of Britain’s oldest surviving language? A missing “h”? All valid answers, but all equally irrelevant. No, Wales’ true claim to fame comes from its most famous son – an enchanted, anthropomorphic teddy bear.
SuperTed’s origin story is the best kind of origin story – the kind that takes only a 30 second cartoon intro to cover in its entirety! The tale begins when a manufacturing defect leads to a teddy bear being thrown away “like a piece of rubbish”. Aww 🙁 Fortunately, fate intervened, and an alien visitor (with profound dermatological problems) rescued the inanimate bear, and brought him to life using “cosmic dust” (the precise details of how this all occurred are somewhat glossed over), before Mother Nature herself bestowed special powers upon him, transforming him into SuperTed!
Ordinarily, SuperTed can be seen about town in his standard teddy bear persona (which, come to think of it, is remarkable in and of itself), but, when trouble arises, he whispers the “secret magic word”, and is instantly transformed into the most awesome bear since Yogi. With his new arsenal of superpowers, SuperTed did what every aspiring Welsh footballer does – relocated immediately from his home town to lead a more glamorous and exciting life. However, in SuperTed’s case, this new life was championing the cause of justice against evil doers…with no evil doer more scheming than the perfidious Texas Pete.
SuperTed’s heroic battles with arch-enemy Texas Pete, and Pete’s nefarious henchmen Skeleton and Bulk (an effeminate skeleton and a rotund simpleton), are remembered so fondly that the franchise is set to be rebooted for a whole new generation of children, though, due to our more ‘enlightened times’, the vivid contrast between a skeleton and a morbidly obese person will likely be removed. What’s the world coming to when henchmen aren’t allowed to vary wildly in weight?!
Shockingly, Morphsuits does not (yet) stock SuperTed costumes, but you could still make your own by combining a grizzly bear Morphsuit with a Red Morphsuit, and add a cape. Or why not style yourself after SuperTed’s trusted companion Spotty (the dermatologically challenged alien visitor mentioned above) by purchasing a yellow Morph Suit, and adding some green spots, and a signature Mohawk? Why not? Well, probably many reasons, but there you go.
2) Danger Mouse
Long before pizza-loving, adolescent amphibians skilled in Japanese martial arts lived in the sewers of New York, an impeccably mannered British mouse set out from his secret base in London to save the world. Danger Mouse, “a secret agent so secret that even his codename has a codename”, makes the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles look like rank amateurs!
The very definition of cool (in rodent terms), DM, as he is affectionately known, is everything that a British superhero should be: refined, articulate, and well-dressed, with an admirable appreciation for tea, and a tireless devotion to thwarting the unnecessarily complicated evil plots of his enemies. Perhaps what sets him apart most in the pantheon of superheroes (aside from the fact that he’s a biped talking mouse dressed in a figure-hugging white outfit emblazoned with his initials) are his eye patch, a fashion accessory guaranteed to have all the lady mice swooning, and his custom Mark III sports car – with wings! When’s the last time that you saw the Batmobile fly? ‘Nuff said.
Though many scoundrels have crossed his path, none have done so with greater menace than his nemesis, Baron Greenback, a megalomaniacal, power-mad, hoarse-voiced toad (gotta give it to the British to think outside of the box when it comes to villains). But, whereas Baron Greenback can rely only on the services of his hired thugs, Danger Mouse is accompanied on all his adventures by his trusted companion, Penfold (a bald, suited gerbil who looks uncannily similar to Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Mohamed ElBaredei). Whilst Penfold has many redeeming qualities, perhaps the most valuable to DM is that, when the two stand side by side, no one’s going to be under any illusions any to who the real hero is. As Bruce Wayne will confirm, every Batman needs a Robin!
Curiously, Morph Suits’ inventory of Danger Mouse costumes is presently zero. However, if you feel compelled to opt for one of DM’s inferior counterparts from across the Atlantic, you can pick up a Batman or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume for all your crime-fighting needs.
Stand back Superman, Ice-Man, Spiderman, Batman and Robin too. She don’t wanna cause a ruckus with B. A. Baracus, but that’s just what she’ll do (slight improvisation in the lyrics there), because apparently she makes all of the above look like a bunch of fairies…
If you lived in the UK in the 1980s, you know those words refer to one person only – Super Gran. Of all the superheroes far and wide, Super Gran is unquestionably the most impressive. Whilst her special powers are conspicuous by their absence from her Wikipedia profile, from what we recall, she was old, wore a tartan hat, and rode a BMX. Can your grandmother do all that?! American girls had Wonder Woman to idolise. British girls had Super Gran. Says it all really.
As Super Gran’s adventures were chronicled in a low budget children’s show, it’s no surprise that the use of her powers rarely required special effects more advanced than speeding-up the running sequences (the opposite approach to that used in ‘Baywatch’). We also think that she may have had super strength, speed, and hearing, all potential side-effects from eating too much haggis (two haggis references in one article – we’re on a roll!).
Whilst a typical episode of ‘Wonder Woman’ might involve the Amazonian goddess fighting fascists, averting nuclear holocaust, or battling intergalactic space invaders, all set against a colourful (and expensive) backdrop, the parameters of an episode of ‘Super Gran’ were somewhat more ‘real world’ based, and might involve the elderly grandmother helping solve a mystery, or stopping the closure of a youth centre in Tynemouth. Using her much vaunted athleticism, she’d beat up the evil property developers, which, naturally, would lead to them withdrawing their offer to transform the dilapidated youth centre into quality residential properties for low-income families. It might also have resulted in Super Gran’s arrest for assault, grievous bodily harm, and disturbing the peace. That’s were anti-capitalist rabble rousing gets you!
Unbelievably though women will regularly dress up on Halloween as Wonder Woman, Super Girl or Catwoman they seemingly have eschewed the alluring costume of Super Gran – ankle length kilt, teamed with a demure jacket and blouse buttoned up to the neck, and an on-trend purple rinse. The other costumes are available at Morphsuits. But the tartan attire of Super Gran…well, one day…