This decade, superheroes have made a heroic return to the forefront of popular culture. In addition to record-breaking comic sales, superhero films have grossed over $21 billion since 2010, according to Box Office Mojo.
In the process, superheroes have captured the imagination of countless students. Illinois State University is no exception. Students discuss their favorite superheroes.
Senior mass media management, promotion and sales major Brandon Moran believes Deadpool's wit and freshness gave him the edge over Batman's stoic demeanor and Peter Parker's familiar face.
"I think Wade Wilson [Deadpool] is funny and not like the traditional superhero," Moran said. "He stands out from the others."
Surprised by the majority of students sharing Moran's sentiments, freshman biology major Jeff Smith illuminates reasons why the Dark Knight should have won.
"Unlike the lion's share of other superheroes having a gimmick, such as massive powers or an impossible universe, Batman is just an extraordinary version of ordinary people," Smith said.
Additionally, Smith asks anyone to find a hero that matches Batman's quality of storytelling. Junior dietetics and nutrition major Leslie Kohut accepts that challenge.
Though the only one who voted for Daredevil, she has seen greatness in his blind eyes since watching the Netflix series last year.
"I like how there is nothing particularly special that makes Matt Murdock Daredevil, aside from his heightened sense from being blind and that sense is how he can do what he does with his martial arts training," Kohut said. "I love when the hero is such a plain human that has this little difference that makes them unique."
Freshman school health education major Sarah Dietrich also picked a superhero that has a red suit and his own series. She quickly chose Flash as Wally West.
"I feel like he is just a fun superhero with a likeable story line," Dietrich said. "I watch the show, so I think Team Flash is really good and they make the show better."
Though T'Challa is new to the spotlight, Black Panther's cinematic significance has not been lost on students. Tamara Smith is among the 11 Black Panther voters. She is proud to see fellow African-Americans finally receive representation.
"It was really exciting and inspiring to see an almost entirely black cast and strong women characters, including a great story line," Smith said.
Junior social work major Emily Wilson also picks a hero that will make history on the silver screen. Next year, Captain Marvel will become the first female lead in a Marvel film.
"Carol Danvers [Captain Marvel] is Earth's mightiest Avenger, and is a very strong female character," Wilson said.
Surprisingly, "The Man of Steel" melted down to zero votes. "Superman is an antiqued character and his recent movies have been terrible," Smith explained.
Whoever one's favorite superhero is, there is no denying that Earth's mightiest protectors will continue smashing villains and records. The next major superhero film "Avengers: Infinity War" is projected to possibly become the highest-grossing film of all time.