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Author Topic: The Earliest Superheroes  (Read 794 times)
RJBowman
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« on: July 17, 2016, 04:47:04 pm »

This guy's list begins in the 1860's with Spring-Heeled Jack, and ends with the creation of Superman. The guy's details seem to be a little off in a few places.

Lost Hero of the Golden Age Ep.14 Superheroes before Superman


I had heard of some of these, but The Nyctalope and Judex are new to me.
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gaslampfantasy
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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2016, 02:42:14 pm »

You could go back a lot further than Spring-heeled Jack (who I would classify as a villain, anyway). What about the heroes of Ancient Greece? Heracles was no normal hero.
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RJBowman
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« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2016, 04:15:08 pm »

I think that there is something that differentiates the modern Superhero from the heroes of ancient legend, but I can't quite place what it is.

Jess Nevins, who has written annotations for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and the reference volume "The Encyclopedia of fantastic Victoriana", has written a book about the history of superheroes, which is expected to be published in the coming months. This book goes back to ancient times, and it might offer a commentary on any distinction that might exist between these two character types. I'm sure that Mr. Neves has put more thought into the subject than I have.
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gaslampfantasy
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2016, 09:57:20 am »

I'm planning a superhero novel set in 1589, with the heroes led by a magic-wielding Dr John Dee.
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Banfili
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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2016, 11:31:25 am »

Warning: Short Rant Following!

This is a question that has bothered me for many years - why aren't 'ordinary' heroes good enough? I know this is a little counter to the present discussion, but I really have a problem with the need for 'Superheroes', especially the extra-terrestrial variety, as such - do we really think so little of ourselves as a species that we can't possibly be good enough, or heroic enough to held up as role models, or looked up to as examples of 'right' behaviour?




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morozow
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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2016, 11:51:37 am »

The conventional hero usually commits one feat. And unfortunately, often at the cost of his life.
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Sorry for the errors, rudeness and stupidity. It's not me, this online translator. Really convenient?
Kensington Locke
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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2016, 02:38:11 pm »

Warning: Short Rant Following!

This is a question that has bothered me for many years - why aren't 'ordinary' heroes good enough? I know this is a little counter to the present discussion, but I really have a problem with the need for 'Superheroes', especially the extra-terrestrial variety, as such - do we really think so little of ourselves as a species that we can't possibly be good enough, or heroic enough to held up as role models, or looked up to as examples of 'right' behaviour?

As the other guy notes, normal heroes usually get 15 minutes of fame for one heroic act, and that's it.

Real Professional Heroes (aka cops, firemen) have a lot of mundane rescuing between the extreme events that make us take notice.

For ongoing, story telling, you need somebody who stands out even more, and that's usually somebody with abilities that help them keep coming back for more.

That's not to say "real people" can't be the focus of stories.  Police procedurals are built on the premise, because, again, Cops are Real Professional Heroes.  But outside of that?  No, there's no blind lawyer who fights crime by night.  Jet Li, with all his kung fu is an actor, not a crime fighter.

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Banfili
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« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2016, 12:34:48 am »

I'm not arguing that there aren't heroes enough to go around, just the premise that real, everyday heroes just don't cut the mustard - it annoys the bejesus out of me!

Same with 'super villains' - don't we have enough horrible monsters of our own without 'importing' from off-world? After all, when they do get to Earth they don't do anything near as bad as some of the local villains have, and, no doubt, will continue to do!
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RJBowman
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« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2016, 03:40:34 am »

I'm not arguing that there aren't heroes enough to go around, just the premise that real, everyday heroes just don't cut the mustard - it annoys the bejesus out of me!

Same with 'super villains' - don't we have enough horrible monsters of our own without 'importing' from off-world? After all, when they do get to Earth they don't do anything near as bad as some of the local villains have, and, no doubt, will continue to do!

The superhero concept first became really popular with a surge of comic book superheros following the success of Superman. It might have been in response to the prevalence of supervillains like Fu Manchu. In his essay in "The Great Comic Book Heroes", Jules Feiffer described typical comic book adventure stories before Superman, in which the hero typically suffered the horrors of a monstrous villain with multiple henchmen and access to fantastic weapons. The relatively lackluster hero would often meet defeat several times before defeating these fantastic villains. Feiffer explained that when Superman arrived on the comic page his reaction was more like "but of course" than surprise or astonishment. The fantastic stories that the comic medium had given birth to required fantastic heroes, lest they pale next to their adversaries and settings.
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Atterton
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Only The Shadow knows


« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2016, 11:07:27 am »

Superhero comics were also a fairly american thing. Comics in Europe were(are?) more about normal people though perhaps in a fantastical setting. Tintin, Lucky Luke, Yoko Tsuno and such.
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Crescat Scientia
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« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2016, 03:07:18 am »

I'm planning a superhero novel set in 1589, with the heroes led by a magic-wielding Dr John Dee.

The original "double-oh-seven" himself?
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2016, 07:21:29 am »

Warning: Short Rant Following!

This is a question that has bothered me for many years - why aren't 'ordinary' heroes good enough? I know this is a little counter to the present discussion, but I really have a problem with the need for 'Superheroes', especially the extra-terrestrial variety, as such - do we really think so little of ourselves as a species that we can't possibly be good enough, or heroic enough to held up as role models, or looked up to as examples of 'right' behaviour?

As the other guy notes, normal heroes usually get 15 minutes of fame for one heroic act, and that's it.

Real Professional Heroes (aka cops, firemen) have a lot of mundane rescuing between the extreme events that make us take notice.

For ongoing, story telling, you need somebody who stands out even more, and that's usually somebody with abilities that help them keep coming back for more.

That's not to say "real people" can't be the focus of stories.  Police procedurals are built on the premise, because, again, Cops are Real Professional Heroes.  But outside of that?  No, there's no blind lawyer who fights crime by night.  Jet Li, with all his kung fu is an actor, not a crime fighter.



And what about Batman? Is Batman not a hero as opposed to a super hero?  Did Lex Luthor not get it right, when he told Louise Lane that the fight between Batman and Superman was like a battle between man and God?
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Banfili
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Australia Australia



« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2016, 02:16:43 pm »

I am fine with Batman as a 'hero' - if one needs a vigilante to look up to - no super powers, it's with 'superheroes' I have problems - those with strengths and powers beyond the human, whether from accident, design or 'immigration' from space.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2016, 09:23:31 am »

I am fine with Batman as a 'hero' - if one needs a vigilante to look up to - no super powers, it's with 'superheroes' I have problems - those with strengths and powers beyond the human, whether from accident, design or 'immigration' from space.


Yes we need to control those immigrants! Specially those "bad Kryptonians". We will build a wall global force field and make Krypton pay for it!!  Grin  Cheesy  Cheesy

Sorry, I couldn't resist  Grin  It's the current "climate" I'm so sick of the stupidity I watch in the news every day.
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Banfili
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« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2016, 12:44:29 pm »

Less than a week to go, J. Wilhelm!

The whole world looks on in ....?
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morozow
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« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2016, 01:17:50 pm »

The choice between Batman and Amanda Waller? As I recall the Canon Batman doesn't kill?

I'm sorry, too, could not resist.
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Atterton
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Only The Shadow knows


« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2016, 03:43:35 pm »

Lex Luthor became president once. Just imagine, an evil billionaire with no political experience ending up as president of the US. Comic books can be crazy sometimes.
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morozow
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« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2016, 04:45:32 pm »

Actually, it's worse than you think. Here's his true face! - http://brassgoggles.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,47544.msg975785.html#msg975785
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