In honor of my Master's appearance on SciFiSaturday Night this Saturday (8-9 p.m. EST) I thought I'd wax eloquently on the subject of superheroes. I mean, who hasn't wanted to be one at one time or another? Even I myself would enjoy some super powers (flight comes particularly to mind - or super speed when a plump mouse is involved).
Superheroes can trace thier origins back to the ancient Greek gods - Hercules with his superhuman strength (there were several stories about Superman, Hercules and Lois Lane back in the 60's) Perseus, etc. Folklore heroes evolved from these: Robin Hood and his band of merry men comes to mind. Even though RH did not possess super-powers, he performed feats of derring-do and appeared super to those he protected. Dime novels and radio programs in the early 20th century featured mysterious heroes with costumes and secret identies who fought the baddies - take for example, Zorro, the Green Hornet. Tarzan might also be considered an early super hero- his extraordinary strength and ability to communicate w/animals is often thought of as a sort of "super-power".
THE GOLDEN AGE OF COMIC HEROES
Fast forward to 1938, where writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joseph Shuster came up with the idea of a planet exploding and sending to earth its only survivor. the yellow sun of earth would give this survivor (whose home planet had a red sun and thus his dense molecular structure) amazing abilities, far beyond the capabilities of mortal man: he would be faster than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings, yada, yada, in short: SUPERMAN! Superman introduced many of the traits we associate with superheroes today: secret identity, superhuman abilities and...a colorful costume! DC Comics, which took a chance on Siegel and Shuster and published Superman, (who made his debut in the first issue of WORLD'S FINEST) were so thrilled with his popularity, they quickly introduced others: Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman. DC also created the first superhero "team", which later became known as THE JUSTICE LEAGUE.
Other companies quickly followed suit: Marvel Comics, DC's prime competitor, came out with the Human Torch, and Quality Comics had Plastic Man. Superheroes grew in popularity during WW II, Wonder Woman in particular. Post-war, however, superheroes lost a lot of their luster. Claiming they promoted "sexual undertones", the comic industry adopted the Comics Code, and by the mid-50's only Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman remained popular.
THE SILVER AGE
In the 1950's DC began a relaunch of their comics characters, triggering what many like to call "the Silver Age" of comics. Flash, Green Lantern and Hawkman were recreated and in 1960 DC officially launched a revamped JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, which quickly became one of their most popular comics.
Not to be outdone, Marval Comics and its editor writer Stan Lee jumped on the bandwagon as well, creating a new line of superhero comics beginning with the FANTASTIC FOUR AND continuing with THE INCREDIBLE HULK, SPIDER MAN, THE X-MEN and DAREDEVIL, TO NAME A FEW. The Marval characters concentrated less on story and more on character development. (i.e, Spider Man was actually troubled teen Peter Parker). The 50's and 60's were brilliant times for comics; however, by the late 60's interest again started to wane....comics were ready for another deconstruction!
TO BE CONTINUED.....
Yes, kiddies, waaaaaay too much for one post. How much do you think these paws can take LOL.
Tune in tomorrow for the rest.
Note: Our intereview with Heather Massey will appear next week!
Flying off for now,