It's one thing reading comic books, it's another trying to emulate your favourite characters.

Little did the original creators of each superhero know, though, that technology would one day catch up with their ideas, and that, eventually, gadgets would exist that would give normal Joes the potential to be Superman, Spider-Man, et al.

Inspired by some of the biggest heroes in comic book-dom, here's a few gadgets that are, technically, available to the general public. Ones that can transform them into the stars they know and love.

God help us all...

Spin webs like... Spider-Man

Spider-Man 3 - Ultimate Web Blaster

Sadly no longer available, so you might have to plump for the less impressive Hasbro Spider-Man 3 Electronic Web Spinning Blaster instead, the Ultimate Web Blaster came with so many add-ons and attachments that there's no way that Spidey could hide that up his lycra sleeves.

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A shame though, because it does more than just spin webs. That's partly because it doesn't technically spin webs - rather, squirts silly string in a looping arc - so, if you're going to fight crime, the rest of its functions might come in more use.

And you might not want to try jumping from building to building, hanging onto a strand of the stuff. Just a thought.

That said, we don't recommend taking on a 6-foot 6-inch rapist with just Spider suction darts and stretchy web flingers either. Maybe you should pace yourself... Take on mild tax invaders first. Even ASBO-laden 11-year-old shoplifters might be pushing it.

COST: Around £40 (if you can find one)

Be summoned like... Batman

The Hotline - Retro Bat Phone

Beaming the bat symbol onto clouds may still be the preferred method of contacting Batman, but in the 1960's movie and TV shows, he was most often signalled through more conventional means.

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The red Batphone, which flashed when Commissioner Gordon needed Batman's help, seemed a more ideal solution for contacting a superhero during daytime, even if it didn't match the décor of a 19th century mansion. And now you can have one in your house too.

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The Hotline phone will flash when important city dignitaries need to get in touch. And when your mum calls for a chat. And when somebody wants to sell you a timeshare in Magaluf. In fact, it'll flash every time you get a call.

Come to think of it, it's probably not that well suited to superheroics after all.

Looks cool though.

COST: £40.68

Have x-ray vision like... Superman

X-reflect X-ray Glasses

If there's something that comic book fans have been yearning for since the days of the tatty adverts in 1960s Marvel titles, it's x-ray vision. Unfortunately, the specs advertised back then just contained a feather stuck between two pieces of card, giving the illusion that you can see bones.

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Now though, one Internet company, Advanced Intelligence, claims to have real x-ray specs, ones that can actually see through stuff. Just like Superman. If he was a pervert.

You see, the X-reflect glasses, with SuperThru technology, can't quite see through walls and, thus, into bank vaults to spy those pesky robbers, they're best suited to seeing through clothing. Mostly women's skirts, it seems. And pants.

Not exactly superheroic stuff, almost the opposite.

The science, if not the morality, is sound, as the website explains: "Under normal light, the visible and infrared lights can pass through some type of material covering an object and are reflected by the object's surface," it says. "The reflected visible light is too strong and saturated to see. Therefore the covered object surface can not be visible using naked eyes.

"However, if the reflected visible light is filtered out and only the reflected infrared and the required light is captured using special made sensitive cameras inside the glasses, the covered object surface will be visible." So, visible panty-line, becomes visible bits and bobs.

Superman would not approve.


COST: $2,400 (wired), $2,800 (wireless)

Wear a protective suit like... Iron Man

Iron Man Mark V Motorcycle Suit

Considering the gadgets we've covered so far, it'd be highly unlikely that we'd come up with anything especially useful for crime fighting, but this one might just be a bit better suited than the rest (pun firmly intended).

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That is, if you plan to fight crime on a motorbike. And are willing to look, erm, special.

The Iron Man motorcycle leathers are genuinely on sale via Universal Designs, and can be bought in most combinations. If you don't want the whole shebang, you can buy the gloves on their own, for example.

But we think you need the entire suit - after all, even Tony Stark would struggle taking on the vaguely-disguised Taliban with just a pair of leather chaps.

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There's one bit missing though; the helmet. And, while we've found a couple of amazing examples on the 'net, there doesn't seem to be anything either a) official, or b) on sale.

Oh well, you'll just have to fight smaller bad guys for now.

COST: $1,099 (for full suit)

Have claws like... Wolverine

10in Carbon Steel Fantasy Wolverine Style Claw Knife

Not only is Logan one of Pocket-lint's favourite X-Men, he's actually one of our favourite superheroes of all time. His healing factor and heightened senses are great, but it's his claws, and plentiful use thereof, that keep us routed firmly in his fan club.

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The 10in Carbon Steel Fantasy Claw Knife, however, is just plain wrong. And very very scary.

The fact that there is somebody in America selling them on ebay is bad enough, the thought that somebody in the US is buying them is way worse.

They are, though, the closest you can get to the real deal and, for that, they're the only gadget here that you could fight crime with. Something tells us that you're more likely to see them used by the other lot, though...

COST: $16.99 (starting bid)

How about you? Are you a real superhero? Do you fight crime with just some silly string and a red, flashing phone? Let us know in the comments below...