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SUPERHEROES

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by

Anna Hawliczek

on 23 October 2013

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Transcript of SUPERHEROES

SUPERHEROES
GOLDEN AGE
WHAT DOES
IT TAKE TO BE CALLED A SUPERHERO?

COMICS:
What? When? Who? Why?
What
SUPERHEROES
does it stand for again?
when
were those created?
why
are those intriguing?
who
even reads about them?
Origins of the genre:
SUPERHERO FICTION
- "focus on the adventures of heroic figures possessing superhuman abilities"
"Superhero: The Secret Origin of a Genre" by Peter Coogan
earliest examples:
Robin Hood, Zorro, Tarzan,
The Green Hornet
PENNY DREADFUL
aka Bloody Penny, Penny Awful
British popular fiction
1830s
macabre and grotesque
supernatural and folklore
sensations for working class
popularized urban legends
(like Sweeney Todd, but there is a character more significant for now...)
1867
SPRING
HEELED JACK
"Spring Heeled Jack, the Terror of London"
by "Charlton Lea"
First, a demon-like villain;
then: a hero fighting crime in 19th century London (!)
magic powers
secret identity
gadgets and skills
secret base
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL
by Baroness Emma "Emuska" Orczy de Orczi
1905,
a play
Sir Percy Blakeney, saved people during the French Revolution
group of supporters and friends, the League of the Pimpernel
fought injustice
disguised as playboy
skilled swordsman
witty escape artist
signature mark
( Zorro,
Batman,
Ironman )
SIGNIFICANT APPEARANCES IN BOOKS AND MAGAZINES
(1910-1920)
1911
1915
1919
"John Carter of Mars" by Edgar Rice Burroughs - science fantasy, pulp fiction - aliens (!)
"The Scarecrow" by Russel Thorndike, later part of the League of the Extraordinary Gentlemen
"Zorro" by Johnston McCulley
(masked vigiliante, swordsman, secret identity, gadgets, secret base, black uniform,
a signature - the famous "Z")
THE RADIO
1930s
Popularized technology enabled the characters
to move into a whole new dimension
THE
LONE RANGER

1933
“A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty Hi-Yo Silver! The Lone Ranger! ... With his faithful Indian companion Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains led the fight for law and order in the early west! Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear! The Lone Ranger rides again!”
used proper vocabulary and no slang
never drank or smoked
shot to disarm, would not kill
made tools from scratch
believed in God, a patriot
George W. Trendle and Fran Striker
An iconic radio show with 2956 episodes,
adapted into numerous TV series and movies,
an inspiration for novels and animations
and a symbol of American pop-culture
NEWSPAPER COMICS
THE FIRST REAL SUPERHERO
MANDRAKE
THE MAGICIAN
June 11, 1934
mystery magic + gadgets
prolonged lifespan
huge intelligence
companions
fighting injustice

illustrated by Phil Davis

created by Lee Falk...
JUST AS...
THE
PHANTOM
February 17, 1936
"The Immortal Masked Vigilante"
family tradition of fighting crime
(every generation - a new Phantom)
costume
secret identity
gadgets
secret base
The first hero to wear a
tight-fit costume
SUPERHEROES COMIC BOOM
the golden era and what was next
1938 - 1950s
World
War II
Comics were cheap entertainment for troops, war themes were dominant
the ARCHETYPE of a superhero was created
SUPERMAN
April 18, 1938
DC Comics
considered to be the essence of a superhero
almost invincible, perfectly strong being
not very human-like in behavior
RED-BLUE-YELLOW uniform
secret identity
creator of the Justice League
swore to protect the Earth and the people



created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
HUMAN TORCH
October, 1939 (the android)
Timely Comics (later - MARVEL Comics)
by Carl Burgos
appears in a storybook with the detective "Angel"
ability to control fire and alter temperature of objects
flight and above-average speed
not a human - "an invention" that came to life
had to learn self-control
an archenemy from a cross-over - the Sub-Mariner
vowed to help humanity fight crime
SHEENA, QUEEN
OF THE JUNGLE
1937
Fiction House Comics
by Will Eisner & S. M. "Jerry" Iger
The first female superhero
superhuman strength
pro-longed lifespan
martial artist
OTHER KEY CHARACTERS:
FLASH
super-intelligence
fights crime
secret identity
"Fastest Man Alive"
tight-fit costume
inspired by the god Mercury
(personal favorite)
January, 1940
DC Comics
Martin Nodell & Bill FInger
GREEN LANTERN
DC Comics
Gardner Fox, Harry Lampert
the "chosen one"
secret identity
power of imagination and strong will (the ring)
had to learn control
cooperates with other ring bearers (aliens!)
responsible for the Earth
July, 1940
BATMAN
DC Comics
Bob Kane & Bill Finger
May, 1939
The famous masked vigilante
personal vendetta - fighting crime
protects the "Gotham City"
secret identity
special costume and gadgets
trustworthy companions:
Alfred and Robin
archenemies (Joker, Penguin)
Joe Simon, Jack Kirby & Stan Lee
CAPTAIN AMERICA
March, 1941
Timely Comics
political creation (WW2; supporting the government,
fighting Hitler, the Nazis and the Japanese)
a patriot, Christian & military man
fine arts student (before transformation)
subject of an experiment (voluntary)
the Super Soldier
no superhuman powers (like other heroes), but
incredible strength, reflexes, healing and endurance
stars and stripes uniform
no weapons - only the shield
expert commander and tactician
archenemies resembled opposing values of the American
ideology (Nazism - Red Skull, Communism - Lukin, etc.)
William Moulton Marston
WONDER WOMAN
January, 1942
DC Comics
feminist icon
the most famous superheroine
fought for "justice, peace and love"
warrior princess
demigoddess/Amazon (pro-longed lifespan)
superhuman strength and endurance
weapons (lasso, bracelets, tiara, magical sword)
teamed with the Superman and Batman


Fawcett Comics
C. C. Beck & Bill Parker
CAPTAIN MARVEL
February, 1940
the most popular superhero at the time
chosen "champion of good"
The Worlds Mightiest Mortal
"magical" transformation ("Shazam!")
general invulnerability
superhuman strength and endurance
extraordinary intelligence
used thunder in dire situations
...another notable character significantly popularized at the time...?
FUN FACT
created by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks in 1928
MICKEY MOUSE
At the time became really
popular thanks to comic
strips, short animations,
and full-length black&white animated movies, like
"Building a Building"
(1933)
SILVER AGE
1950s - 1961
THE INEVITABLE EVOLUTION OF
THE SUPERHEROES
led to...
The level of juvenile delinquency imposed censorship
HORROR, CRIME & ROMANCE dominated the comics
characters became more human
(flaws, self-doubt)
COMICS FINALLY BECAME COLLECTIBLES
DC Comics
focused mostly
on re-introducing
older characters
(new Green Lantern, new Flash)
JUSTICE LEAGUE
OF AMERICA

SUPERGIRL
May, 1959
female version of
the Superman (his cousin)
the "teenage heroine"
Otto Binder & Al Plastino
Gardner Fox & Mike Sekowsky
March, 1960
First squad: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern & Martian Manhunter
MARVEL Comics
(before 1950 - Timely Comics)
NATURALISTIC CHARACTERIZATION
"human feelings, some past
and... low-budget"
MARVELOUS DREAM-TEAM
Stan Lee
(THE writer & editor)
Jack Kirby
(illustrator & editor)
Steve Ditko
(illustrator & writer)
Don Heck
(illustrator)
The Avengers,
Iron Man
The Amazing Spider-Man,
Iron Man,
Dr Strange
The Amazing Spider-Man,
The Fantastic Four, X-Men,
Iron Man, The Avengers

Captain America, Thor, Fantastic Four, X-Men
A RESPONSE TO THE "JUSTICE LEAGUE"
THE FANTASTIC 4
a group of mutant-superheroes
led by Professor Xavier
X-MEN
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

the forever-broke nerdy superhero
personal vendetta against crime in New York
secret identity (poor reporter, Peter Parker)
accidental mutation (spider bite)
superhuman strength
spider webs and spider-like abilities
famous RED-BLUE-BLACK uniform
September, 1964
First squad:
Iron Man, Ant-Man, Wasp, Thor, Hulk

November, 1961
Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
Mr Fantastic: elasticity, can manipulate his body freely
Invisible Woman: invisibility and power shields
Thing: stone-like flesh, superhuman strength
Human Torch: can generate flames and fly

a group of scientists who got exposed to radiation
(while on a mission to the outer space)
protect humanity and the Earth from their archenemy,
Dr Doom, and his vicious allies

Stan Lee &
Jack Kirby
October, 1963
Wolverine: the dangerous one
Cyclops: the leader
Storm: the demigoddess
Angel: the mythical creature
Jane Grey: the Phoenix
Rogue: the mystic
Beast: the scientist
protectors of the humankind
Stan Lee & Steve Ditko
August, 1962
Why Spider-Man was (and is) so popular?
The first superhero to face every-day problems
Spider-Man is one of the most recognized symbols of pop-culture!
like over-due school papers, loans, job-hunting, longer recovery after fights, sleep deprivation, etc.
(sounds familiar...?)
Marvel introduced the "new line" of flawed characters:
Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, Wolverine, Daredevil, the Ghost Rider
that the audience felt closer to.
THE AVENGERS
Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
Joined later (significant examples):
Black Widow, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch,
Quicksilver, Nick Fury and Mockingbird
"Earth's Mightiest Heroes"
led by Captain America
/ Iron Man / Nick Fury
IRON MAN
extraordinary intelligence (scientist, genius)
a patriot, family military tradition
tactician and escape artist
billionaire and playboy
favored by many because of his humor
suffered from severe alcoholism (war trauma)
formerly constructed weapons for the USA
self-constructed iron suit
NO SECRET IDENTITY
March, 1963
Stan Lee, Jack Kirby & Don Heck
UNDERGROUND COMICS
characters resembling heroes from MARVEL or DC, many taken down for plagiarism
anonymous publications of the top-rate illustrators and writers (failed market try-outs)
prototypes of later successful works (Deadpool, Ghost Rider)
addressing adults (avoided censorship - more violence and horror)
there were many of so-called
REASONS
why would you become one if you don't have a powerful motivation?
personal vendetta
duty
being "chosen"
promise
wishing to live in a perfect world
following the path of righteousness
self-sacrifice
curse
punishment
protecting loved ones
protecting the weak
standing up for justice
ARCHENEMY
A real hero must have an enemy!
a twisted friend
mad scientist
criminal mastermind
the psycho
evil alien
sadist
an enemy from the past
evil invader
the opposite of the hero
injustice or crime in general
tyrant
killer of loved ones
mutant
galaxy claimer
traitor
demon
UNIFORM
To be a hero, you must look like one
preferably tight-fit
enhancing super-abilities
attracting attention
with a symbol
not necessarily 100% functional
impressive
bulletproof if possible
recognizable
special/magic
obeying gravity is optional
threatening appeal
monster
cyborg
POWERS
A set of extraordinary skills and abilities
MORAL CODE
DOs & DON'Ts while doing super-things
try not to kill your enemies
no cheating
protect your loved ones
don't hurt ordinary citizens
take care of your hometown/homeland/planet/galaxy/universe
abstinence (optional)
show your absolute dedication
sacrifice yourself for greater good
never ever give up
protect your allies
always be there to help anyone who calls for your help
don't count on rewards
always save the day
never stop until you fight your archenemy
be on the good side
be always ready for action
have faith in your companions
OPTIONAL: can be accompanied by an army of evil minions
+ GADGETS & WEAPONS
a gift
artifact/something magic
a trademark
threatening (optional)
extra-power (eg. elements)
image-fitting
a prize
inherited/family thing
super-tech/traditional
unbreakable
ORIGINS OF THE SUPERPOWERS:
GAINED
ACQUIRED
BORN WITH
accident
being chosen
training
apprentice
magic
decision
alien
mutant
"the one"
TYPES OF POWERS:
controlling elements
magic
extraordinary intelligence
flying
acrobatics
martial arts
weapon mastery
super-vision
telekinesis
amazing reflexes and speed
tactics and strategy
super-technology
superhuman strength
mythical attributes
charms
luck
manipulating time
shape shifting
bestial nature
intangibility
super-agent
power of mind
immortality
Full transcript