They inspired us.
They made us cheer.
They made us weep.
They made our city — and our country — a better place.
Some of them left us too soon.
We asked local comic book artist Matthew Swift, who includes "painting Marvel’s 'Origin Story' line of storybooks" on his resume, to share his talent with us to honor Cincinnati's super heroes of 2015.
Swift and our editors worked to select seven local heroes. Then Swift — who painted the Origin Story books for Captain America, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, The Mighty Avengers, Wolverine and more — painted them.
Cincinnati's Super Heroes
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback
Andy Dalton led the Cincinnati Bengals to their best start in franchise history, launching the team and the city of Cincinnati into the national spotlight and igniting the excitement of "Who Dey Nation." Before breaking his thumb, Bengals fans were dreaming of the Super Bowl. Maybe that's still in store for 2016.
Todd Frazier, Home Run Derby Champion, Former Cincinnati Red
Todd Frazier was only the second player in history to win the Home Run Derby in his home stadium. His demeanor on and off the field made him a fan favorite. Unfortunately, this hero will be gracing another city after Frazier was traded this month to the White Sox.
Cincinnati Firefighter Daryl Gordon
It was truly an act of heroism that sent Daryl Gordon door to door in a burning apartment building, looking for people trapped inside. Gordon's lifelong service included the bomb squad and University of Cincinnati Medical Center's Air Care and Mobile Care unit as well as heavy rescue.
Lauren Hill riveted the Tri-State and the nation with her resilience, hope and courage. Doctors diagnosed her with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG, a form of brain cancer, in November 2013. The Cure Starts Now announced Lauren Hill's passing in the early morning of April 10, 2015.
Officer Sonny Kim
Sonny Kim was known as a "tough" and outstanding officer in Madisonville who dedicated himself to serving and protecting the city for 27 years. His death sent the officer's community into mourning after he was gunned down in the line of duty.
Jim Obergefell was the lead plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges — the U.S. Supreme Court case that paved the way for the legalization of same-sex marriage across the United States.
Leah Still became one of sports' feel-good stories last year with her father, Cincinnati Bengal Devon Still, and his slogan, "Leah Strong." The Bengals sold more than 13,000 Still jerseys and donated the proceeds — more than $1.3 million — to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center for cancer research.
An illustrator with a background in graphic design and painting, Matthew Swift has worked on commercial work, licensed Marvel art, and served as art director for Nintendo projects. His work can also be found in games available for the Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Sony Playstation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 video game systems.