Is a vegan superhero headed our way? According to inside sources, Warner Bros. and DC Comics are developing a standalone movie about Animal Man.
The fictional superhero, who made his first appearance in a DC comic back in 1965, has the power to “borrow” the abilities of other animals. In other words, he can swim like a fish or possess cat-like reflexes. Due to his unique abilities and his gift to literally relate to any and all animals, Animal Man—AKA Buddy Baker—is a vegan.
Though Animal Man was initially a bit player in the DC comic book world, the superhero was reimagined by legendary comic book writer and playwright Grant Morrison in the 1980s. With Morrison at the helm, Animal Man (and Baker) tackled more pressing issues such as vegetarianism and animal rights.
For those unfamiliar with Morrison’s work, they are known for infusing political, pop- and sub-cultural references into their comics. When Morrison worked on Animal Man they often broke the fourth wall (à la Deadpool) and even wrote themselves into the comics. Here’s hoping some of Morrison’s quirkiness and activism is included in the Animal Man movie, when and if it gets made!
Animated vegan superheroes
Should the Animal Man movie come to fruition, the empathetic superhero will be the latest in a string of beloved vegan comic book characters. Keep reading to learn about more animated heroes who don’t eat meat.
Lucy in the Sky
Lucy in the Sky (AKA Karolina Dean) is a character from Marvel’s The Runaways. She is the extraterrestrial daughter of evil super-powered criminals and has the power to manipulate solar energy. In The Runaways comics, Karolina is depicted as a kind person with a deep love and appreciation for animals, which is why she sticks to a vegan diet. She was also raised by vegan parents.
Additionally, Karolina is widely thought to be one of Marvel’s LGBTQIA+ characters and appears on Hulu’s Runaways.
As his superhero moniker implies, Beast Boy can transform into any animal he wants. This power is ultimately what encouraged him to stop eating animals and go vegan. Beast Boy, who has appeared in many iterations of the Teen Titans cartoons, has been a part of the DC universe for several decades. He’s almost instantly recognizable thanks to his furry green skin, green eyes, and green hair.
Thunderbird—AKA Neal Shaara—was born in India and later became a member of Marvel’s the X-Men. He has the power to convert and mimic solar energy.
The most recent iteration of Thunderbird was introduced in 2000, and there have been references to his Hindu upbringing. Since many Hindus don’t eat meat because they believe in non-violence against all life forms (ahimsa), Thunderbird is understood to follow a vegan diet.
While the Hulk is most certainly not vegan, his alter ego—Bruce Banner—sticks to a plant-based diet and is proud of it. In fact, in the comic series “Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk,” which was published from 2005 to 2009, Banner is working on a farm in Dublin. During his time there, some of his coworkers tease him about being vegan and call him weak. By now we all know who got the last laugh!
Scarlet Witch—AKA Wanda Maximoff— is one of the most powerful Avengers in the Marvel universe, and played a pivotal role in defeating Thanos in the 2019 film, Avengers: Endgame. She also happens to follow a diet that doesn’t include meat.
Scarlet’s meat-free diet was mentioned in her own comic book, “Scarlet Witch.” In the second volume, the superhero is offered some grilled goat with lemon and herbs. She turns it down, telling the person who offered her the meal that she does not eat meat.
Believe it or not, one of the most recognizable superheroes in the world chooses not to eat meat. In the comic “Superman Birthright: The Origin of The Man of Steel,” which was published in 2004, readers are treated to an updated version of Superman’s origin story.
In this version of events, Superman has a new power that allows him to see a glow around every living thing. He also knows when a living organism’s life ends, because the glow fades. Given this new power and the impact it has, Superman decides not to eat animals.
Robotman is a cyborg superhero in the DC Comics Universe and a member of the Doom Patrol, which is a team of superheroes not unlike Marvel’s The Avengers. He was created in 1963 after racecar driver Cliff Steele had his brain transplanted into a mechanical body (thus transforming him into Robotman) following a crash. He has since appeared in the Titans television series, which is now on HBO Max.
Since Robotman is, well, a robot, he doesn’t eat food of any kind. Therefore, he’s technically a vegan by default.
Though not exactly a superhero, the beloved character from The Simpsons is one of the most outspoken vegetarian characters on television. Lisa’s vegetarianism was first revealed in the fifth episode of the show’s seventh season, which was aptly named, “Lisa the Vegetarian.” It even featured cameos from well-known vegetarians, Paul and Linda McCartney.
Over the course of the episode, which premiered in 1995, Lisa falls in love with a baby lamb during a visit to a petting zoo and then, realizing the connection between food and her new pal, refuses to eat the lamb chops Marge prepared for dinner that night. She endures plenty of teasing and ridicule, but stands her ground.
Now, nearly two decades later, Lisa is still a proud vegetarian who has chosen not to eat meat due to her love of animals. Some of her favorite meat-free meals include gazpacho and tofu dogs.