We’d all love to live past our prime, see the distant future, and see if the world is a better place.  Of course we could end up spending a millenium sitting on our porch yelling at kids to get off our lawn.  Unless science discovers the immortal pill, we’re all going to die eventually, which means we have to live out our longevity fantasies in comics, movies, and television.

To help your fantasies along, we’ve gathered together the top ten immortals in one list, from number 10 all the way to numero uno!

10.  Wolverine (The Incredible Hulk #180, October 1974)


With all the reboots to Wolverine’s origin, it is hard to tell if Wolverine is immortal, or if he has a really good medical plan.  James “Logan” Howlett’s healing factor allows him to quickly recover from any wound or poison (but apparently not from a zombie bite).  The most extreme example of Wolverine’s healing powers happen when all his body tissue is burned away from his body, leaving only his Adamantium skeleton.  Moments later, everything regenerates like nothing happened (Wolverine #43).

While his healing powers make him appear immortal, Wolverine can be killed if you hurl him into the Sun, decapitate him with a magic sword, give him metal poisoning, or by drowning.  Considering how he is able to come back from anything, I’d suggest you do all of the above.

9.  Darth Sion (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords)


The Lord of Pain lived during the Old Sith Wars in a galaxy far far away.  Instead of dying, Sion could use The Force and his pain, anger, and hatred, to achieve immortality.  Unfortunately, he didn’t have the ability to heal mortal wounds, thus over time his body decomposed, until he looked like some undead, light wielding, Sith Lord.  Darth Sion eventually let go of the Force, allowing himself to die on Malachor V.

8.  Connor MacLeod (The Highlander, March 1986)


Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod introduced us to the legend of The Quickening, and why it is best to keep our head on our shoulders.  A foundling, Connor later discovers his immortality when a conk on the head fails to kill him.   An outcast, MacLeod wanders the land until he settles down to live a life with his young wife. With the help of mentor Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez, MacLeod learns to defend himself against those who wish to take his head.

Like others on our list, MacLeod has to witness the death of loved ones, and has to change his identity every couple of decades to keep from being burned at the stake, and to keep himself hidden from other immortals who wish to gather his Quickening power.

7.  Eternals (The Eternals #1 July 1976)


The Celestials, a race of alien being,  came to Earth five million years ago and began doing genetic experiments on the pre-human population.   These superhumans became the Eternals, who wage war against the Deviants, and protect humanity.

The Eternals are able to reproduce, but the result is usually a normal human.  This has caused the race of beings to distance themselves from civilization, only appearing when needed.

6.  Ra’s Al Ghul (Batman #232, June 1971)


Batman’s most worthy opponent, The Death’s Demon’s Head has a very different way of keeping himself alive.  Instead of a healing factor, or magic amulet from outer space, Ra’s al Ghul uses Lazarus Pits; reservoirs of rejuvenating chemicals that restore the dying to life.

One of the unfortunate side effects of the Lazarus Pit is temporary insanity to those who have made use of the Pits restorative powers.  Ra’s has used the pits scattered throughout the world enough times to keep himself alive for 450 to 700 years, as he leads the League of Assassins to world domination.

5.  Mr. Immortal (Avengers West Coast, July 1989)


Being an immortal makes most on our list very daring and reckless in their lives.  Such is the case with Mr. Immortal of the Great Lakes Avengers.  The guy has been “killed” by everything from a remote control to the head, all the way up to radiation exposure, each time coming back to lead one faction of Marvel’s registered heroes.

The life of an immortal does take its toll, as Mr. Immortal has seen loved one die again and again. Fits of depression, have caused Mr. Immortal to try and commit suicide many times, even going so far as blowing himself to bits.  He still came back.

4.  The Immortal (Invincible #7, November 2003)


Older than the legend of King Arthur, once the President of the United States, and in the far future, the supreme overlord of the planet Earth, The Immortal earns the number three spot for his ability to be in the public eye, yet still get away with it without anyone noticing.

The only way to ensure The Immortal stays dead, is to keep his body parts separated from one another in some permanent manner.

3.  Vandal Savage (Green Lantern #10, Winter 1943)


Probably the best origin story for an immortal, Vandal Savage was born 50,000 years ago, and was the leader of the caveman Blood Tribe, until radiation from a mysterious meteorite gave him intellect and immortality.

Savage has led the Illuminati, and has been known as Khafre, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, Blackbeard, and Vlad the Impaler.  While other immortals have not had their story play out completely, viewers got to see Savage as the last man on Earth in an episode of Justice League Unlimited, while in DC One Million, Savage meets his end when he is thrown back in time to the point of a nuclear explosion.

2.  Immortal Man/Resurrection Man (Strange Adventures #177, June 1965)


Like Vandal Savage, the Immortal Man had his origin during the prehistoric era, where he stumbled upon the same meteorite as Vandal, carved off a piece, and wore it as necklace.  The amulet gave Immortal Man the power of resurrection, and since he and Vandal were in opposing tribes (Bear Tribe), the two have remained adversaries throughout time.

It appeared as though Immortal Man was wiped from existence during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, but amnesiac Mitch Shelley has recently appeared (Supergirl  #28) with similar powers under the guise of the Resurrection Man.

1.  The Doctor (Doctor Who Episode #1, November 1963)


The good Doctor takes the number one position in our list of immortals, even though he may eventually cease from existence as a Time Lord, once he has expired his 13 lives.  Even with a semi-finite life span, the Doctor’s ability to trip through time and space in his TARDIS ensure he can appear at the beginning of the universe, or at the end, as well every time period in between.

The Also Rans

Who didn’t make the Immortal List?  There are quite a few immortal characters that have been created, but not all could make it to our list.  Coming close, but ultimately missing the list are our runners up.

The New Gods (The New Gods #1, February 1971)


Kirby’s originals would have made the list, but seeing as how they are all dead at the moment, it kind of defeats the purpose of being immortal – we aren’t counting the soul skipping spirit of the New Gods that Morrison is currently offering up in the pages of Final Crisis.

Apocalypse (X-Factor #5, June 1986)


Much like Ra’s Al Ghul, Apocalypse is a centuries old mutant obsessed with the idea of survival of the fittest. Unlike the other immortals on the list, Apocalypse doesn’t need nourishment of any kind to maintain his life.

Dorian Gray (The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1890)


Hey, come on, the guy stays young as long as he doesn’t destroy his portrait.

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. October 30, 2008 at 4:39 pm — Reply

    Who wants to live forever … ?

  2. Lifeisaglitch
    October 30, 2008 at 4:47 pm — Reply

    I think its demons head and not deaths head (Regarding Ra’s Al Ghul)

    Awesome list though but i think you are going to get flak for putting Logan at 10#
    Also may i suggest the movie “The Man from Earth” now that we are touching the subject.
    Its a really cool movie and pretty exciting (In the nerdy sense) i highly recommend it.

  3. October 30, 2008 at 4:50 pm — Reply

    Where’s Christian Walker? You can’t have a Top Ten Immortals list without Christian Walker.

  4. Randallw
    October 30, 2008 at 7:10 pm — Reply

    Vandal Savage being my favourite (mostly because we almost have the same name…almost) I feel I must point out that his death at the end (beginning?) of DC 1 million has been made invalid by all the recent crisis. DC 1 Million worked on the assumption that no strange universe changing events/s ever happened. Seeing as how Alex Luthor and all came from somewhere out of time and space they messed up the timeline from then on. Anyway, that’s my excuse for refusing to think Vandal Savage is doomed to die.

  5. Carswell
    October 30, 2008 at 7:34 pm — Reply

    I almost started cussing till I saw the Doctor.
    Bravo list!

  6. gilbert
    October 30, 2008 at 11:48 pm — Reply

    what about superman? we all know he will live forever.

  7. hermit
    October 31, 2008 at 1:03 am — Reply

    what about the Immortal from the live action TV series The Tick… oh wait, he died

    Captain Jack Harkness then (Torchwood)

  8. Ploff
    October 31, 2008 at 2:24 am — Reply

    Lazarus Long .. Ladies and Gentlemen.

  9. Trabbi
    October 31, 2008 at 2:44 am — Reply

    And where is Claire Bennett?
    Save the Cheerleader, save the List!

  10. Hannibal
    October 31, 2008 at 3:02 am — Reply

    Great List!! As for those who ask where are these and that… you can’t have a list with everyone :) Then it would be the first 20 immortals or 30 :D You have to draw a line somewhere :) you would start to inlcude people like The Immortal a late Tv series, or The girl in Heroes she can’t actually die EVER, or the great mages in some late comic i read. They achieved immortality though magic. they sort of “backed up” they soul in gems and stuff… Or the Zombie King Tel’Naras who could actually be only killed if his braaaainnnss would be taken into four parts and brought into the four corners of earth :D that was some sick shit :DD

    I think is f-ing awesome list :D

  11. Marc
    October 31, 2008 at 6:49 am — Reply

    What about the Sandman (Vertigo)?

  12. Tony
    October 31, 2008 at 7:38 am — Reply

    What about Perry Rhodan?

  13. Marcel
    October 31, 2008 at 7:56 am — Reply

    Ehm, what about Lobo? Immortal? Definitely!

  14. Forgedchaos
    October 31, 2008 at 9:07 am — Reply

    Captain Jack also does die on New Earth, Can’t remember the doctor who ep but he becomes the face of Boe

  15. October 31, 2008 at 11:47 am — Reply

    I’d like to point out that having a healing factor is not exactly the same thing as not being able to die.

  16. Bob S.
    October 31, 2008 at 1:50 pm — Reply

    What about Superman? That was a major thing I liked about 1 Million. That and the Martian Manhunter.

  17. Ken
    October 31, 2008 at 2:55 pm — Reply

    Whats his name from Heroes that used to be a samurai. He was neat…

  18. Anonymous
    October 31, 2008 at 6:07 pm — Reply

    I’d like to point out that lots of the people on the list can die, so shut up. On another note, Ras al Ghul should be higher on the list and apocalypse and Dorian Grey should at least be on it.

  19. Anonymous
    October 31, 2008 at 6:08 pm — Reply

    Adam Monroe is also awesome lol

  20. JM
    November 1, 2008 at 1:18 am — Reply

    The God-Emperor of Mankind? (Warhammer 40 000). Born circa 8 000BC, survived to 30 000AD before being greviously wounded after reunifiying mankind, and then 10 000 years on life support …with there being the possibility that if they had let him die that he might have resurrected / regenerated rather than spending that ten millennia trapped and slowly dying embedded in the Golden Throne.

  21. cc
    November 1, 2008 at 12:20 pm — Reply

    that samurai guy from Heroes died 2 episodes ago. His name was Adam I think.

  22. November 2, 2008 at 9:35 am — Reply

    Don’t forget Wowbagger, the Infinitely Prolonged!

  23. Eric
    November 2, 2008 at 7:48 pm — Reply

    Captain Jack is not immortal, he is the Face of Boe, and died saving the citizens of New Earth, close but he still isn’t a Time Lord.

  24. November 3, 2008 at 8:22 am — Reply

    Great list. Maybe Jason Voorhees needs a spot here. Can’t keep that boy down!

  25. Korvac
    November 3, 2008 at 1:03 pm — Reply

    The Shade should be in the middle of that top 10 list.

  26. Cobra Commander
    November 4, 2008 at 10:43 am — Reply

    I vote for the Eternal Warrior from Valiant Comics. I always liked Gilad and his brothers, Aram and Ivar.

    Connor MacLeod is a favorite from your list, but he wasn’t conked on the head, but run through by the Kurgan when he discovered his immortality.

  27. Scott C.
    November 4, 2008 at 1:17 pm — Reply

    Sorry Stephen but I contact Mr. Dan Abnett himself to confirm what I thought.

    In a message dated 11/3/2008 3:19:46 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, DAbnett writes:
    Hi Scott

    If our ResMan run had continued, Andy and I were planning to do a huge story that showed that while Mitch wasn’t the IM, the two of them were eternally tied in their destinies. Now other writers have taken up the baton, it’s not really our place to say any more. If they say he is (or might be) IM, then…. so be it.



  28. November 9, 2008 at 9:04 am — Reply

    I realise that, as fans, you have no sense of humour about continuity and take everything as absolute canon to be argued over at length, but Captain Jack’s claim about the Face of Boe is dubious at best, and The Doctor clearly thinks it’s a gag. There is no evidence whatsoever to support the idea, so stop claiming it as fact.

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