New research out of New Zealand suggests that our long adored super men and women may actually have healthy and realistic physiques. If the authors wanted real live superhuman bodies to study, they should have just emailed the staff of Medgadget. We’re always willing to avail ourselves for the sake of science.
This study compares the mean and normalised distribution of the Body Mass Index of women and men in the Marvel Universe, and with women and men in the “real” world.
We randomly selected* 25 representatives of each sex** from the Marvel universe and used the Marvel.com website (1) profiles to provide height and weight statistics and calculated BMI (tables 1.1 and 2.1).
We then compared the normal distribution of the BMI of Marvel males and females to the normal distribution of the BMI of 20-29 year old*** US males and females 1999-2002 (2).
* Random selection by use of the “random page” tool at Marvel.com.
** Teenagers and those whose powers or mutations can alter their body mass or sex were excluded from selection. (Big Bertha and Luke Cage were excluded; Bruce Banner was included; the Hulk was excluded.) Also, many characters had no statistics listed – they were also necessarily excluded.
*** The “real” age of Marvel Universe persons is frequently altered by the powers or mutations of individuals, non-Euclidean time, cryogenics, magic, biochemical solutions, alternative dimensions, radiation, cloning and resurrection. The 20-29 year old age range was chosen as the most appropriate range comparison for the apparent physical age of most adult Marvel characters. This makes for a conservative comparison to older characters, since BMI tends to increase with age.
The BMI range of Marvel women is much less varied than that of all other groups and tends to the low end of the “normal” BMI range. This result is surprising, considering that many of the women sampled are martial artists or extremely capable physically and should, if anything, have a BMI that indicates a higher body fat level than is actually present.
The BMI range of Marvel men is more varied and tends to the upper limit of the “normal” BMI range. However, it is still less varied than that of the “real world” male and female groups.