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A superhero or superheroine is a
stock character A stock character is a stereotypical Police officers buying doughnuts and coffee, an example of perceived stereotypical behavior in North America. Social psychology Social psychology is the Science, scientific study of how the thoug ...
that possesses ''superpowers'', abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fits the role of the
hero File:Wilhelm Tell Denkmal Altdorf um 1900.jpeg, upWilliam Tell, a popular folk hero of Switzerland. A hero (heroine in its feminine form) is a real person or a main fictional character who, in the face of danger, combats adversity through f ...
, typically using his or her powers to help the world become a better place, or dedicating themselves to protecting the public and fighting
crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a State (polity), state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition,Farmer, Lindsay: "Crime, defi ...

crime
.
Superhero fiction Superhero fiction is a genre of speculative fiction examining the adventures, personalities Personality psychology is a branch of psychology that studies personality and its variation among individuals. It aims to show how people are indiv ...
is the genre of
fiction Fiction is any creative work A creative work is a manifestation of creativity, creative effort including Work of art, fine artwork (sculpture, paintings, drawing, Sketch (drawing), sketching, performance art), dance, writing (literature), filmm ...

fiction
that is centered on such characters, especially, since the 1930s, in American comic books (and later in
Hollywood films The cinema of the United States has had a large effect on the film industry in general since the early 20th century. The dominant style of American cinema is the classical Hollywood cinema, which developed from 1913 to 1969 and is still typi ...
, film serials, television and
video games#REDIRECT Video game#REDIRECT Video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, game controller, controller, computer keyboard, keyboard, or motion sensing device ...

video games
), as well as in Japanese media (including
kamishibai is a form of Japanese and that was popular during the of the 1930s and the in until the advent of television during the mid-20th century. were performed by a (" narrator") who travelled to street corners with sets of illustrated boards t ...

kamishibai
,
tokusatsu is a Japanese term for live action Live action (or live-action) is a form of cinematography Cinematography (from ancient Greek κίνημα, ''kìnema'' "movement" and γράφειν, ''gràphein'' "to write") is the art of Film, mo ...
,
manga Manga (Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat ...

manga
,
anime is hand-drawn and computer animation " technique Computer animation is the process used for digitally generating animated images. The more general term computer-generated imagery Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is the application of ...

anime
). Superheroes come from a wide array of different backgrounds and origins. Some superheroes (for example,
Batman Batman is a superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character Stock (also capital stock) is all of the shares into which ownership of a corporation is divided.Longman Business English Dictionary In American English, the ...

Batman
and
Iron Man Iron Man is a superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses abilities beyond those of ordinary people, who typically uses his or her powers to help the world become a better place, or is dedicated to protecting ...
) derive their status from advanced
technology Technology ("science of craft", from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. I ...

technology
they create and use, while others (such as
Superman Superman is a superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses Superpower (ability), ''superpowers'', abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fits the role of the hero, typically using his or her powers t ...

Superman
and
Spider-Man Spider-Man is a superhero A superhero or superheroine is a that possesses , abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fits the role of the , typically using his or her powers to help the , or dedicating themselves to and fightin ...

Spider-Man
) possess non-human or superhuman biology or study and practice
magic Magic or Magick may refer to: * Ceremonial magic, encompasses a wide variety of rituals of magic * Chaos magic#REDIRECT Chaos magic {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from miscapitalization {{R unprintworthy ..., a contemporary magical practic ...
to achieve their abilities (such as
Zatanna Zatanna Zatara () is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson, and first appeared in ''Hawkman (comic book), Hawkman'' #4 (November 1964). Zatanna ...

Zatanna
and
Doctor Strange Doctor Stephen Strange is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics Marvel Comics is the brand name and primary imprint of Marvel Worldwide Inc., formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics ...
). While the Dictionary.com definition of "superhero" is "a figure, especially in a
comic strip A comic strip is a sequence of drawings, often cartoons A cartoon is a type of illustration An illustration is a decoration, interpretation or visual explanation of a text, concept or process, designed for integration in print and digi ...
or cartoon, endowed with superhuman powers and usually portrayed as fighting evil or crime", the longstanding
Merriam-Webster Merriam-Webster, Inc. is an American company that publishes reference books A reference work is a work such as a book or periodical literature, periodical (or electronic publishing, its electronic equivalent) to which one can refer for info ...
dictionary gives the definition as "a fictional hero having extraordinary or superhuman powers; also: an exceptionally skillful or successful person." Terms such as masked crime fighters, costumed adventurers or masked
vigilantes Vigilantism is the act of enforcement, investigation or punishment of perceived offenses without legal authority. A vigilante (from Spanish and Italian ''vigilante'') is practitioner of vigilantism. History Vigilantism and the vigilante ethos ...

vigilantes
are sometimes used to refer to characters such as
the Spirit The Spirit is a fictional masked crimefighter created by cartoonist Will Eisner. He first appeared June 2, 1940, as the main feature of a 16-page, tabloid (paper size), tabloid-sized, newsprint comic book insert distributed in the Sunday edition ...
, who may not be explicitly referred to as superheroes but nevertheless share similar traits. Some superheroes use their powers to help fight daily crime while also combating threats against humanity from ''supervillains'', who are their criminal counterparts. Often at least one of these supervillains will be the superhero's
archenemy An archenemy (or arch-enemy) is the main enemy An enemy or a foe is an individual or a group that is considered as forcefully adverse or threatening. The concept of an enemy has been observed to be "basic for both individuals and communities". ...
or ''nemesis''. Some popular supervillains become
recurring character A recurring character or supporting character is a fictional character In , a character is a or other being in a (such as a , , , , or ). The character may be entirely fictional or based on a real-life person, in which case the distinction ...
s in their own right; and long-running superheroes and superheroines such as
Batman Batman is a superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character Stock (also capital stock) is all of the shares into which ownership of a corporation is divided.Longman Business English Dictionary In American English, the ...

Batman
,
Superman Superman is a superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses Superpower (ability), ''superpowers'', abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fits the role of the hero, typically using his or her powers t ...

Superman
,
Wonder Woman Wonder Woman is a fictional Fiction is any creative workA creative work is a manifestation of creative effort including fine artwork (sculpture Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. It is one ...
,
Spider-Man Spider-Man is a superhero A superhero or superheroine is a that possesses , abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fits the role of the , typically using his or her powers to help the , or dedicating themselves to and fightin ...

Spider-Man
,
Captain America Captain America is a superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses abilities beyond those of ordinary people, who typically uses his or her powers to help the world become a better place, or is dedicated to pr ...

Captain America
, and
Iron Man Iron Man is a superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses abilities beyond those of ordinary people, who typically uses his or her powers to help the world become a better place, or is dedicated to protecting ...
have a
rogues gallery A rogues' gallery (or rogues gallery) is a police collection of mug shots or other images of criminal suspects kept for identification purposes. History In 1855, Allan Pinkerton, founder of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, established a ro ...

rogues gallery
of many such villains.


History


1900s–1939

The word
superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses Superpower (ability), ''superpowers'', abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fits the role of the hero, typically using his or her powers to help the World peace, world b ...
dates back to 1899. Antecedents of the archetype include such mythologic characters like
Gilgamesh Gilgamesh ( akk, 𒀭𒄑𒉋𒂵𒈨𒌋𒌋𒌋, translit=Gilgameš; originally sux, 𒀭𒉋𒂵𒈩, translit=Bilgames or ''Pabilga-mes'')). His name translates roughly as "The Ancestor is a Young-man", from ''Bil.ga'' "Ancestor", Elder and ...

Gilgamesh
,
Hanuman Hanuman (; sa, हनुमान्, ) is a Hindu god and divine ''vanara'' (monkey) companion of the god Rama. Hanuman is one of the central characters of the Hindu epic ''Ramayana''. He is an ardent devotee of Rama and one of the chiranji ...

Hanuman
,
Perseus In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of s originally told by the , and a of . These stories concern the and , the lives and activities of , , and , and the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own and practices. ...

Perseus
,
Odysseus Odysseus ( ; grc-gre, Ὀδυσσεύς, Ὀδυσεύς, OdysseúsOdyseús, ), also known by the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken ...

Odysseus
,
David David (; ) (traditional spelling), , ''Dāwūd''; grc-koi, Δαυΐδ, Dauíd; la, Davidus, David; gez , ዳዊት, ''Dawit''; xcl, Դաւիթ, ''Dawitʿ''; cu, Давíдъ, ''Davidŭ''; possibly meaning "beloved one". is described in th ...

David
, and
demigods 250px, " Cuchulain Slays the Hound of Culain", illustration by Stephen Reid (artist)">Stephen Reid from Eleanor Hull's ''The Boys' Cuchulain'', 1904 A demigod or demi-god is a minor deity, or a mortal or immortal who is the offspring of a Deity, ...
like
Heracles Heracles ( ; grc-gre, Ἡρακλῆς, , glory/fame of Hera Hera (; grc-gre, Ἥρα, Hḗrā; grc, Ἥρη, Hḗrē, label=none in Ionic Ionic or Ionian may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Ionic meter, a poetic metre in anci ...

Heracles
, as well as
folkloric Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition a ...

folkloric
heroes as
Robin Hood Robin Hood is a legendary hero File:Wilhelm Tell Denkmal Altdorf um 1900.jpeg, upWilliam Tell, a popular folk hero of Switzerland. A hero (heroine in its feminine form) is a real person or a main fictional character who, in the face ...

Robin Hood
, who adventured in distinctive clothing. Real life inspirations behind costumed superheroes can be traced back to the " masked vigilantes" of the American
Old West The American frontier, also known as the Old West or the Wild West, includes the geography, history, folklore, and culture in the forward wave of American expansion that began with European colonial settlements in the early 17th century and e ...
such as the San Diego Vigilantes April 30, 1992 and the Bald Knobbers January 20, 2019 who fought and killed outlaws while wearing masks. The 1903 British play ''
The Scarlet Pimpernel ''The Scarlet Pimpernel'' is the first novel in a series of historical fiction by Baroness Orczy, published in 1905. It was written after her stage play of the same title enjoyed a long run in London, having opened in Nottingham in 1903. The no ...
'' and its spinoffs popularized the idea of a masked avenger and the superhero trope of a
secret identity A secret identity is a person's alter ego which is not known to the general populace, most often used in fiction. Brought into popular culture by the Scarlet Pimpernel in 1903, the concept is particularly prevalent in the American comic book genre, ...
. Shortly afterward, masked and costumed
pulp fiction ''Pulp Fiction'' is a 1994 American black comedy Black comedy, also known as black humor, dark humor, dark comedy, morbid humor, or gallows humor, is a style of comedy Comedy (from the el, wikt:κωμῳδία, κωμῳδία, ''kōm ...
characters such as Jimmie Dale/the Gray Seal (1914),
Zorro Zorro (Spanish language, Spanish for 'Fox') is a fictional character created in 1919 by American pulp magazine, pulp writer Johnston McCulley, and appearing in works set in the Pueblo of Los Angeles in Alta California. He is typically portraye ...

Zorro
(1919),
Buck Rogers Buck Rogers is a science fiction (and later, particularly space opera) character created by Philip Francis Nowlan in the novella ''Armageddon 2419 A.D.'', subsequently appearing in multiple media. First published in the August 1928 issue of the p ...
(1928),
The Shadow ''The Shadow'' is a collection of serialized dramas, originally in 1930s and later in a variety of media. Its title character has been featured on the radio, in a long-running pulp magazine series, in s, s, , serials, s, and at least five s. ...

The Shadow
(1930),
Flash Gordon Flash Gordon is the protagonist of a space opera Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction File:Imagination 195808.jpg, Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 in the science fiction magazine ''Imagination (magazine), Imaginat ...
(1934), and
comic strip A comic strip is a sequence of drawings, often cartoons A cartoon is a type of illustration An illustration is a decoration, interpretation or visual explanation of a text, concept or process, designed for integration in print and digi ...
heroes, such as the Phantom (1936) began appearing, as did non-costumed characters with super strength, including the comic-strip characters Patoruzú (1928) and
Popeye Popeye the Sailor Man is a fictional cartoon character created by .
(1929) and novelist
Philip Wylie Philip Gordon Wylie (May 12, 1902 – October 25, 1971) was an American author of works ranging from pulp science fiction, mysteries, social diatribes and satire to ecology and the threat of nuclear holocaust. Early life and career Born in Beverly ...
's character
Hugo Danner Hugo Danner is a fictional character and the protagonist of Philip Wylie's 1930 Genre fiction, novel ''Gladiator (novel), Gladiator''. Born in the late 19th century with superhuman abilities via prenatal chemical experimentation, Danner tries to u ...
(1930). In August 1937, in a letter column of the pulp magazine ''
Thrilling Wonder Stories ''Wonder Stories'' was an early American science fiction magazine A science fiction magazine is a publication that offers primarily science fiction, either in a hard-copy periodical format or on the Internet. Science fiction magazines traditional ...
'', the word superhero was used to define the title character of the comic strip Zarnak by Max Plaisted. In the 1930s, the trends converged in some of the earliest superpowered costumed heroes, such as Japan's Ōgon Bat (1931) and Prince of Gamma (early 1930s), who first appeared in
kamishibai is a form of Japanese and that was popular during the of the 1930s and the in until the advent of television during the mid-20th century. were performed by a (" narrator") who travelled to street corners with sets of illustrated boards t ...

kamishibai
(a kind of hybrid media combining pictures with live storytelling),
Mandrake the Magician ''Mandrake the Magician'' was a Comic strip syndication, syndicated newspaper comic strip, created by Lee Falk (before he created ''Phantom (comics), The Phantom'').Ron Goulart, ''The Encyclopedia of American Comics''. New York: Facts on File, 19 ...
(1934), Olga Mesmer (1937) and then
Superman Superman is a superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses Superpower (ability), ''superpowers'', abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fits the role of the hero, typically using his or her powers t ...

Superman
(1938) and Captain Marvel (1939) at the beginning of the
Golden Age of Comic Books The Golden Age of Comic Books describes an era of American comic books from 1938 to 1956. During this time, modern comic books were first published and rapidly increased in popularity. The superhero archetype was created and many well-known chara ...
. The precise era of the Golden Age of Comic Books is disputed, though most agree that it was started with the launch of Superman in 1938. Superman has remained one of the most recognizable superheroes, and his success spawned a new archetype of characters with secret identities and superhuman powers. At the end of the decade, in 1939,
Batman Batman is a superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character Stock (also capital stock) is all of the shares into which ownership of a corporation is divided.Longman Business English Dictionary In American English, the ...

Batman
was created by
Bob Kane Robert Kane (born Robert Kahn ; October 24, 1915 – November 3, 1998) was an American comic book writer, animator and artist who co-created, with Bill Finger Milton Finger (February 8, 1914 – January 18, 1974), known professionally and pers ...

Bob Kane
and
Bill Finger Milton Finger (February 8, 1914 – January 18, 1974), known professionally and personally as Bill Finger, was an American comic strip and comic book writer best known as the creator, with Bob Kane, of the DC Comics character Batman, and the co-ar ...
.


1940s

During the 1940s there were many superheroes:
The Flash The Flash (or simply Flash) is the name of several superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses abilities beyond those of ordinary people, who typically uses his or her powers to help the world become a better p ...
,
Green Lantern Green Lantern is the name of several superheroes appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. They fight evil with the aid of rings that grant them a variety of extraordinary powers, all of which come from imagination, fearlessness a ...
and
Blue Beetle Blue Beetle is the name of three fiction Fiction is any creative workA creative work is a manifestation of creative effort including fine artwork (sculpture Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. ...

Blue Beetle
debuted in this era. This era saw the debut of one of the earliest female superheroes, writer-artist
Fletcher Hanks Fletcher Hanks, Sr. (December 1, 1889 – January 22, 1976) was a cartoonist from the Golden Age of Comic Books, who wrote and drew stories detailing the adventures of all-powerful, supernatural heroes and their elaborate punishments of tran ...
's character
Fantomah Fantomah is an American comics character, best known as one of the earliest comic-book Superhero#Female superheroes, superheroines. Created by Fletcher Hanks, the character first appeared in ''Jungle Comics'' #2 (cover-dated Feb. 1940), published ...

Fantomah
, an ageless
ancient Egyptian Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile, Nile River, situated in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistori ...
woman in the modern day who could transform into a skull-faced creature with superpowers to fight evil; she debuted in
Fiction House Fiction House was an American publisher Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for free. Traditionally, the term refers to the distribution of printed w ...
's ''Jungle Comic'' #2 (Feb. 1940), credited to the pseudonymous "Barclay Flagg". The
Invisible Scarlet O'Neil ''Invisible Scarlet O'Neil'' is a 1940-1956 American comic strip written and drawn by Russell Stamm, who had previously been an assistant to Chester Gould on ''Dick Tracy''. The strip focused on Scarlet O'Neil, a plainclothes superhero (and one of ...
, a non-costumed character who fought crime and wartime saboteurs using the superpower of
invisibility Invisibility is the state of an object that cannot be seen Seen may refer to: * Seen (album), ''Seen'' (album), by Tom Bailey * Seen (artist), graffiti artist * Seen (Winterthur), a district of the city of Winterthur, Switzerland * Arabic lett ...

invisibility
created by Russell Stamm, would debut in the eponymous
syndicated Syndication may refer to: * Broadcast syndication, where individual stations buy programs outside the network system * Print syndication, where individual newspapers or magazines license news articles, columns, or comic strips * Web syndication, w ...
newspaper A newspaper is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media The presentation of works in sequential segments ...

newspaper
comic strip A comic strip is a sequence of drawings, often cartoons A cartoon is a type of illustration An illustration is a decoration, interpretation or visual explanation of a text, concept or process, designed for integration in print and digi ...
a few months later on June 3, 1940. In 1940, Maximo the Amazing Superman debut in
Big Little Book series 450px, Little Annie Rooney on the Highway to Adventure'' (Whitman, 1935)">Little Annie Rooney">Little Annie Rooney on the Highway to Adventure'' (Whitman, 1935) The Big Little Books, first published during 1932 by the Whitman Publishing Company o ...
, by Russell R. Winterbotham (text), Henry E. Vallely and Erwin L. Hess (art).
Captain America Captain America is a superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses abilities beyond those of ordinary people, who typically uses his or her powers to help the world become a better place, or is dedicated to pr ...

Captain America
also appeared for the first time in print in December 1940, a year prior to the attack on
Pearl Harbor Pearl Harbor is an American lagoon File:Kara-Bogaz Gol from space, September 1995.jpg, Garabogazköl, Garabogaz-Göl lagoon in Turkmenistan A lagoon is a shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water by a narrow landform, su ...

Pearl Harbor
by the Japanese government, when America was still in
isolationism Isolationism is a category of foreign policy, foreign policies institutionalized by leaders who assert that nations' best interests are best served by keeping the affairs of other countries at a distance. One possible motivation for limiting intern ...
. Created by
Joe Simon Joseph Henry Simon (born Hymie Simon; October 11, 1913 – December 14, 2011) was an American comic book writer, artist, editor, and publisher. Simon created or co-created many important characters in the 1930s–1940s Golden Age of Comic Books ...
and
Jack Kirby Jack Kirby (born Jacob Kurtzberg; August 28, 1917 – February 6, 1994) was an American comic book artist A cartoonist (also comic strip creator, comic book artist, graphic novel artist, or comic book illustrator) is a visual artist An a ...
, the superhero was the physical embodiment of the American spirit during World War II. One superpowered character was portrayed as an antiheroine, a rarity for its time: the Black Widow, a costumed emissary of
Satan Satan, (''śāṭān''), meaning "adversary"; grc, ὁ σατανᾶς or σατάν (''ho satanas'' or ''satan''); ar, شيطان (''shaitan''), meaning "astray", "distant", or sometimes "devil" also known as the Devil, is an entity in th ...

Satan
who killed evildoers in order to send them to
Hell In religion Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion. Different religions may o ...

Hell
—debuted in ''
Mystic Comics ''Mystic Comics'' is the name of three comic book A comic book, also called comic book, comic magazine or (in the United Kingdom and Ireland) simply comic, is a publication that consists of comics a Media (communication), medium used ...
'' #4 (Aug. 1940), from
Timely Comics Timely Comics is the common name for the group of corporations that was the earliest comic book arm of American publisher Martin Goodman, and the entity that would evolve by the 1960s to become Marvel Comics Marvel Comics is the brand name ...
, the 1940s predecessor of
Marvel Comics Marvel Comics is the brand name and primary imprint of Marvel Worldwide Inc., formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, a publisher of American comic books and related media. In 2009, The Walt Disney Company The Walt D ...
. Most of the other female costumed crime-fighters during this era lacked superpowers. Notable characters include The Woman in Red, introduced in
Standard Comics Standard Comics was a comic book imprint (trade name), imprint of United States, American publisher Ned Pines, who also published pulp magazines (under a Thrilling Publications, variety of company names that he also used for the comics) and paper ...
' ''Thrilling Comics'' #2 (March 1940); Lady Luck, debuting in the Sunday-
newspaper A newspaper is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media The presentation of works in sequential segments ...

newspaper
comic-book insert '' The Spirit Section'' June 2, 1940; the comedic character
Red Tornado Red Tornado is a Character (arts), fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Red Tornado appears in TV series ''Supergirl (TV series), Supergirl'', portrayed by Iddo Goldberg. Publication history Created by wr ...
, debuting in ''
All-American Comics ''All-American Comics'' was a comics anthology and the flagship title of comic book A comic book, also called comic magazine or (in the United Kingdom and Ireland) simply comic, is a publication that consists of comics art in the form of seque ...
'' #20 (Nov 1940);
Miss Fury Miss Fury, on the cover of issue #1. Art by Alex Schomburg. Miss Fury is a fictional superhero from the Golden Age of Comics. She first appeared as ''The Black Fury'' on April 6, 1941, a Sunday strip, Sunday comic strip distributed by the Bell Syn ...
, debuting in the eponymous comic strip by female cartoonist Tarpé Mills on April 6, 1941; the
Phantom Lady Phantom Lady is a Fictional character, fictional Superhero#Female superheroes and villains, superheroine, one of the first such characters to debut in the 1940s Golden Age of Comic Books. Originally published by Quality Comics, the character was su ...
, introduced in
Quality Comics Quality Comics was an American comic book publishing company which operated from 1937 to 1956 and was a creative, influential force in what historians and fans call the Golden Age of Comic Books. Notable, long-running titles published by Quality ...
''Police Comics'' #1 (Aug. 1941); the
Black Cat A black cat is a Cat, domestic cat with black fur that may be a mixed or specific Purebred, breed, or a common domestic cat of no particular breed. The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) recognizes 22 cat breeds that can come with solid black coats ...

Black Cat
, introduced in
Harvey Comics Harvey Comics (also known as Harvey World Famous Comics, Harvey Publications, Harvey Comics Entertainment, Harvey Hits, Harvey Illustrated Humor, and Harvey Picture Magazines) was an American comic book A comic book, also called comic book, ...
' ''Pocket Comics'' #1 (also Aug. 1941); and the
Black Canary The Black Canary is the name of two superheroines appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics: Black Canary (Dinah Drake), Dinah Drake and Black Canary (Dinah Laurel Lance), Dinah Laurel Lance along with a rebooted amalgamated vers ...
, introduced in ''
Flash Comics ''Flash Comics'' is a comics anthology A comics anthology, also known as a comic magazine, collects works in the medium of comics a Media (communication), medium used to express ideas with images, often combined with text or other visual i ...
'' #86 (Aug. 1947) as a supporting character.Jim Amash & Eric Nolen-Weathington, (2010), ''Carmine Infantino: Penciler, Publisher, Provocateur'' p.30-32 The most iconic comic book superheroine, who debuted during the Golden Age, is
Wonder Woman Wonder Woman is a fictional Fiction is any creative workA creative work is a manifestation of creative effort including fine artwork (sculpture Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. It is one ...
. Modeled from the myth of the
Amazons In Greek mythology, the Amazons (Ancient Greek: Ἀμαζόνες ''Amazónes'', singular Ἀμαζών ''Amazōn'') are portrayed in a number of ancient Greek, ancient epic poems and legends, such as the Labours of Hercules, the ''Argonautica ...

Amazons
of
Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psyc ...
, she was created by
psychologist A psychologist is a professional who practices psychology and studies normal and abnormal mental states, perceptual, cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by experimenting with, and observing, interpreting, and recording how ...
William Moulton Marston William Moulton Marston (May 9, 1893 – May 2, 1947), also known by the pen name Charles Moulton (), was an American psychologist who, with his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston, Elizabeth Holloway, invented an early prototype of the lie detector ...
, with help and inspiration from his wife
Elizabeth Elizabeth or Elisabeth may refer to: People * Elizabeth (given name), a female given name (including people with that name) * Elizabeth (biblical figure), mother of John the Baptist Ships * HMS Elizabeth, HMS ''Elizabeth'', several ships * Elisab ...
and their Olive Byrne. Wonder Woman's first appearance was in ''
All Star Comics ''All Star Comics'' is an American comic book series from All-American Publications All-American PublicationsThe name is spelled with a hyphen per its logo (pictured) and sources includinat Don Markstein's ToonopediaArchivedfrom the original ...
'' #8 (Dec. 1941), published by
All-American Publications All-American PublicationsThe name is spelled with a hyphen per its logo (pictured) and sources includinat Don Markstein's ToonopediaArchivedfrom the original on April 15, 2012. was one of two American comic book companies that merged to form th ...
, one of two companies that would merge to form
DC Comics DC Comics, Inc. is an American comic book publisher and the flagship unit of DC Entertainment DC Comics, Inc. is an American comic book publisher and the flagship unit of #DC Entertainment, DC Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Warner Bros. ...
in 1944. Pérák was an
urban legend An urban legend or contemporary legend is a genre of folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an attitude Attitud ...
originating from the city of
Prague Prague ( ; cs, Praha ; german: Prag, ; la, Praga) is the capital and largest city A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people ...

Prague
during the
German occupation of Czechoslovakia The German occupation of Czechoslovakia (1938–1945) began with the German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens ...
in the midst of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
. In the decades following the war, Pérák has also been portrayed as the only
Czech Czech may refer to: * Anything from or related to the Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A countr ...
superhero in film and comics.


1950s

In 1952,
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's
manga Manga (Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat ...

manga
''Tetsuwan Atom'', more popularly known in the West as ''
Astro Boy ''Astro Boy'', known in Japan by its original name , is a Japanese manga Manga (Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag ...
'', was published. The series focused upon a robot boy built by a
scientist A scientist is a person who conducts scientific research The scientific method is an Empirical evidence, empirical method of acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th century. It involves ...

scientist
to replace his deceased son. Being built from an incomplete robot originally intended for
military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or pa ...

military
purposes Astro Boy possessed amazing powers such as flight through in his feet and the incredible mechanical strength of his limbs. The 1950s saw the
Silver Age of Comics Silver is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same ...
. During this era DC introduced the likes of
Batwoman Batwoman is a fictional superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses abilities beyond those of ordinary people, who typically uses his or her powers to help the world become a better place, or is dedicated to ...
in 1956,
Supergirl Supergirl is the name of several fictional superheroine A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses abilities beyond those of ordinary people, who typically uses his or her powers to help the world become a better place, ...
, Miss Arrowette, and Bat-Girl; all female :wikt:derivative, derivatives of established male superheroes. In 1957 Japan, Shintoho produced the first film serial featuring the superhero character Super Giant, signaling a shift in Japanese popular culture towards ''
tokusatsu is a Japanese term for live action Live action (or live-action) is a form of cinematography Cinematography (from ancient Greek κίνημα, ''kìnema'' "movement" and γράφειν, ''gràphein'' "to write") is the art of Film, mo ...
'' masked superheroes over ''kaiju'' giant monsters. Along with ''Astro Boy'', the ''Super Giant'' serials had a profound effect on Japanese television. 1958 saw the debut of superhero ''Moonlight Mask'' on Japanese television. It was the first of numerous televised superhero dramas that would make up the ''tokusatsu'' superhero genre. Created by Kōhan Kawauchi, he followed-up its success with the tokusatsu superhero shows ''Seven Color Mask'' (1959) and ''Messenger of Allah (TV series), Messenger of Allah'' (1960), both starring a young Sonny Chiba.


1960s

It is arguable that the
Marvel Comics Marvel Comics is the brand name and primary imprint of Marvel Worldwide Inc., formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, a publisher of American comic books and related media. In 2009, The Walt Disney Company The Walt D ...
teams of the early 1960s brought the biggest assortment of superheroes ever at one time into permanent publication, the likes of
Spider-Man Spider-Man is a superhero A superhero or superheroine is a that possesses , abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fits the role of the , typically using his or her powers to help the , or dedicating themselves to and fightin ...

Spider-Man
(1962), The Hulk,
Iron Man Iron Man is a superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses abilities beyond those of ordinary people, who typically uses his or her powers to help the world become a better place, or is dedicated to protecting ...
, Daredevil (Marvel Comics character), Daredevil, Nick Fury, The Mighty Thor, Avengers (comics), The Avengers (featuring a rebooted
Captain America Captain America is a superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses abilities beyond those of ordinary people, who typically uses his or her powers to help the world become a better place, or is dedicated to pr ...

Captain America
, Thor, Hulk, Ant-Man, Quicksilver (comics), Quicksilver), and many others were given their own monthly titles. Typically the superhero super groups featured at least one (and often the only) female member, much like DC's flagship superhero team the Justice League of America (whose initial roster included Wonder Woman as the tokenism, token female); examples include the Fantastic Four's Invisible Woman, Invisible Girl, the X-Men's Jean Grey (originally known as Marvel Girl), the Avengers (comics), Avengers' Wasp (comics), Wasp, and the Brotherhood of Mutants' Scarlet Witch (who later joined the Avengers) with her brother, Quicksilver. In 1963, ''
Astro Boy ''Astro Boy'', known in Japan by its original name , is a Japanese manga Manga (Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag ...
'' was adapted into a highly influential
anime is hand-drawn and computer animation " technique Computer animation is the process used for digitally generating animated images. The more general term computer-generated imagery Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is the application of ...

anime
television series. ''Phantom Agents'' in 1964 focused on ninjas working for the Japanese government and would be the foundation for Sentai-type series. 1966 saw the debut of sci-fi/horror series ''Ultra Q'' created by Eiji Tsuburaya this would eventually lead on to the sequel ''Ultraman (1966 TV series), Ultraman'', spawning a Ultra Series, successful franchise which pioneered the Kyodai Hero subgenre where the superheroes would be as big as giant monsters (''kaiju'') that they fought. The ''kaiju'' monster Godzilla, originally a villain, began being portrayed as a radioactive superhero in the Godzilla (franchise), ''Godzilla'' films, starting with ''Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster'' (1964). By the 1970s, Godzilla came to be viewed as a superhero, with the magazine ''King of the Monsters'' in 1977 describing Godzilla as "Superhero of the '70s."


1970s

In 1971, ''Kamen Rider'' launched the "Henshin Boom" on Japanese television in the early 1970s, greatly impacting the
tokusatsu is a Japanese term for live action Live action (or live-action) is a form of cinematography Cinematography (from ancient Greek κίνημα, ''kìnema'' "movement" and γράφειν, ''gràphein'' "to write") is the art of Film, mo ...
superhero genre in Japan. In 1972, the ''Science Ninja Team Gatchaman'' anime debuted, which built upon the superhero team idea of the live-action ''Phantom Agents'' as well as introducing different colors for team members and special vehicles to support them, said vehicles could also combine into a larger one. Another important event was the debut of ''Mazinger Z'' by Go Nagai, creating the Super Robot genre. Go Nagai also wrote the manga ''Cutey Honey'' in 1973; although the Magical Girl genre already existed, Nagai's manga introduced Transformation sequences that would become a staple of Magical Girl media. The 1970s would see more anti-heroes introduced into Superhero fiction such examples included the debut of Shotaro Ishinomori's Skull Man (the basis for his later ''Kamen Rider'') in 1970, Go Nagai's Devilman in 1972 and Gerry Conway and John Romita's Punisher in 1974. The dark Skull Man manga would later get a television adaptation and underwent drastic changes. The character was redesigned to resemble a grasshopper, becoming the renowned first masked hero of the Kamen Rider series. Kamen Rider is a motorcycle riding hero in an insect-like costume, who shouts Henshin (Metamorphosis) to don his costume and gain superhuman powers. The ideas of second-wave feminism, which spread through the 1960s into the 1970s, greatly influenced the way comic book companies would depict as well as market their female characters: Wonder Woman was for a time revamped as a mod (subculture), mod-dressing martial artist directly inspired by the Emma Peel character from the Television in the United Kingdom, British television series The Avengers (TV series), ''The Avengers'' (no relation to the superhero team of the same name), but later reverted to Marston's original concept after the editors of Ms. (magazine), Ms. magazine publicly disapproved of the character being depowered and without her traditional costume; Supergirl was moved from being a secondary feature on ''Action Comics'' to headline ''Adventure Comics'' in 1969; the Lady Liberators appeared in an issue of ''The Avengers'' as a group of mind-controlled superheroines led by Valkyrie (Marvel Comics), Valkyrie (actually a Enchantress (Marvel Comics), disguised supervillainess) and were meant to be a caricatured parody of feminist activists; and Jean Grey became the embodiment of a Cosmic entity (Marvel Comics), cosmic being known as the Phoenix Force (comics), Phoenix Force with seemingly unlimited power in the late 1970s, a stark contrast from her depiction as the weakest member of her team a decade ago. Both major publishers began introducing new superheroines with a more distinct feminist theme as part of their origin stories or character development. Examples include Big Barda, Power Girl, and Huntress (comics), the Huntress by DC comics; and from Marvel, the Black Widow (Natasha Romanova), second Black Widow, Shanna the She-Devil, and Tigra#The Cat, The Cat. Female supporting characters who were successful professionals or hold positions of authority in their own right also debuted in the pages of several popular superhero titles from the late 1950s onward: Hal Jordan's love interest Carol Ferris was introduced as the Vice-President of Ferris Aircraft and later took over the company from her father; Medusa (comics), Medusa, who was first introduced in the ''Fantastic Four'' series, is a member of the Inhumans, Inhuman Royal Family and a prominent statesperson within her people's quasi-feudal society; and Carol Danvers, a decorated Officer (armed forces), officer in the United States Air Force who would become a costumed superhero herself years later. In 1975 Shotaro Ishinomori's ''Himitsu Sentai Gorenger'' debuted on what is now TV Asahi, it brought the concepts of multi-colored teams and supporting vehicles that debuted in Gatchaman into live-action, and began the ''Super Sentai'' franchise (later adapted into the American ''Power Rangers'' series in the 1990s). In 1978, Toei adapted
Spider-Man Spider-Man is a superhero A superhero or superheroine is a that possesses , abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fits the role of the , typically using his or her powers to help the , or dedicating themselves to and fightin ...

Spider-Man
into Spider-Man (Japanese TV series), a live-action Japanese television series. In this continuity, Spider-Man had a vehicle called Marveller that could transform into a giant and powerful robot called Leopardon, this idea would be carried over to Toei's Battle Fever J (also co-produced with Marvel) and now multi-colored teams not only had support vehicles but giant robots to fight giant monsters with.


1980–present

In subsequent decades, popular characters like Dazzler (Marvel Comics), Dazzler, She-Hulk, Elektra (comics), Elektra, Catwoman, Witchblade, Spider-Girl (Mayday Parker), Spider-Girl, Batgirl and Birds of Prey (comics), the Birds of Prey became stars of long-running eponymous titles. Female characters began assuming leadership roles in many ensemble superhero teams; the ''Uncanny X-Men'' series and its related spin-off titles in particular have included many female characters in pivotal roles since the 1970s. Volume 4 of the X-Men (comic book), X-Men comic book series featured an all-female team as part of the Marvel NOW! branding initiative in 2013. Superpowered female characters like Buffy the Vampire Slayer in popular culture, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Darna have a tremendous influence on popular culture in their respective countries of origin. With more and more
anime is hand-drawn and computer animation " technique Computer animation is the process used for digitally generating animated images. The more general term computer-generated imagery Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is the application of ...

anime
,
manga Manga (Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat ...

manga
and
tokusatsu is a Japanese term for live action Live action (or live-action) is a form of cinematography Cinematography (from ancient Greek κίνημα, ''kìnema'' "movement" and γράφειν, ''gràphein'' "to write") is the art of Film, mo ...
being translated or adapted, Western audiences were beginning to experience the Japanese styles of superhero fiction more than they were able to before. Haim Saban, Saban's ''Mighty Morphin Power Rangers'', an adaptation of ''Zyuranger'', created a multimedia franchise that used footage from Super Sentai. Internationally, the shoujo manga, Japanese comic book character, Sailor Moon (character), Sailor Moon, is recognized as one of the most important and popular female superheroes ever created.


Trademark status

Most dictionary definitions and common usages of the term are Genericized trademark, generic and not limited to the characters of any particular company or companies. Nevertheless, variations on the term "Super Hero" or "Superhero" are jointly claimed by
DC Comics DC Comics, Inc. is an American comic book publisher and the flagship unit of DC Entertainment DC Comics, Inc. is an American comic book publisher and the flagship unit of #DC Entertainment, DC Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Warner Bros. ...
and
Marvel Comics Marvel Comics is the brand name and primary imprint of Marvel Worldwide Inc., formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, a publisher of American comic books and related media. In 2009, The Walt Disney Company The Walt D ...
as trademarks. Registrations of "Super Hero" marks have been maintained by DC and Marvel since the 1960s, including U.S. Trademark Serial Nos. 72243225 and 73222079. In 2009, the term "Super Heroes" was registered as a typography-independent "Descriptive mark, descriptive" US trademark co-owned by DC and Marvel. Both DC Comics and Marvel Comics have been assiduous in protecting their rights in the "Super Hero" trademarks in jurisdictions where the registrations are in force, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, and including in respect of various goods and services falling outside comic book publications. Critics in the legal community dispute whether the "Super Hero" marks meet the legal standard for trademark protection in the United States: distinctive designation of a single source of a product or service. Controversy exists over each element of that standard: whether "Super Hero" is distinctive rather than generic, whether "Super Hero" designates a source of products or services, and whether DC and Marvel jointly represent a single source. Some critics further characterize the marks as a misuse of trademark law to chill competition. To date, aside from a failed trademark removal action brought in 2016 against DC Comics' and Marvel Comics' United Kingdom registration, no dispute involving the trademark "Super Hero" has ever been to trial or hearing.


Minority superheroes

In keeping with their origins as representing the archetypical
hero File:Wilhelm Tell Denkmal Altdorf um 1900.jpeg, upWilliam Tell, a popular folk hero of Switzerland. A hero (heroine in its feminine form) is a real person or a main fictional character who, in the face of danger, combats adversity through f ...
stock character in 1930s American comics, superheroes are predominantly depicted as White Americans, White American Social class in the United States, middle- or upper-class young adult males and females who are typically tall, athletic, educated, physically attractive and in perfect health. Beginning in the 1960s with the civil rights movement in the United States, and increasingly with the rising concern over political correctness in the 1980s, superhero fiction centered on cultural, ethnic, national, racial and language minority groups (from the perspective of US demographics) began to be produced. This began with depiction of List of black superheroes, black superheroes in the 1960s, followed in the 1970s with a number of other ethnic-minority superheroes. In keeping with the political mood of the time, cultural diversity and inclusivism would be an important part of superhero groups starting from the 1980s. In the 1990s, this was further augmented by the first depictions of superheroes as homosexual. In 2017, Sign Gene emerged, the first group of deaf superheroes with superpowers through the use of sign language.


Female superheroes and villains

Female super heroes—and villains—have been around since the early years of comic books dating back to the 1940s. The representation of women in comic books has been questioned in the past decade following the rise of comic book characters in the film industry (Marvel/ DC movies). Women are presented differently than their male counterparts, typically wearing revealing clothing that showcases their curves and cleavage and showing a lot of skin in some cases. Heroes like Power Girl and Wonder Woman are portrayed wearing little clothing and showing cleavage. Power Girl is portrayed as wearing a suit not unlike the swimsuits in the T.V. show Baywatch. The sexualization of women in comic books can be explained mainly by the fact that the majority of writers are male. Not only are the writers mostly male, but the audience is mostly male as well.Chute, Rebecca. 2016. "The" Pornographic Polemic": The Objectification and Inferiority of Female Comic Book Characters." ''UNBC Award for Academic Writing International Student Academic Writing Award William & Mary Wanka History'':1. Therefore, writers are designing characters to appeal to a mostly male audience. The super hero characters illustrate a sociological idea called the "male gaze" which is media created from the viewpoint of a normative heterosexual male. The female characters in comic books are used to satisfy male desire for the "ideal" woman (small waist, large breasts, toned, athletic body).Crawshaw, Trisha L. 2015. "Truth, Justice, Boobs? Analyzing Female Empowerment and Objectification in the Graphic Novel Genre." These characters have god-like power, but the most easily identifiable feature is their hyper sexualized bodies as they are designed to be sexually pleasing to the hypothetical Heteronormativity, heteronormative male audience. Villains, such as Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy (character), Poison Ivy, use their sexuality to take advantage of their male victims. In the film versions of these characters, their sexuality and seductive methods are highlighted. Poison Ivy uses seduction through poison to take over the minds of her victims as seen in the 1997 film ''Batman & Robin (film), Batman and Robin''. Harley Quinn in 2016's ''Suicide Squad (film), Suicide Squad'' uses her sexuality to her advantage, acting in a promiscuous manner. Through the overdeveloped bodies of the heroes or the seductive mannerisms of the villains, women in comic books are used as subordinates to their male counterparts, regardless of their strength or power. In 2017's ''Wonder Woman (2017 film), Wonder Woman'', she had the power of a god, but was still drawn to a much weaker, mortal male character. This can be explained by the sociological concept "feminine apologetic," which reinforces a woman's femininity to account for her masculine attributes (strength, individualism, toughness, aggressiveness, bravery). Women in comic books are considered to be misrepresented due to being created by men, for men. The Hawkeye Initiative is a website satirizing the sexualized portrayal of women in comics by recreating the same poses using male superheroes, especially Marvel's Hawkeye (Clint Barton), Hawkeye.


Ethnic and religious minorities

In 1966, Marvel introduced the Black Panther (comics), Black Panther, an African monarch who became the first non-caricatured black superhero. The first African-American superhero, the Falcon (comics), Falcon, followed in 1969, and three years later, Luke Cage, a self-styled Heroes for Hire, "hero-for-hire", became the first list of black superheroes, black superhero to star in Power Man and Iron Fist, his own series. In 1989, the Monica Rambeau Captain Marvel (Marvel Comics)#Monica Rambeau, incarnation of Captain Marvel was the first female black superhero from a major publisher to get her own title in a special one-shot issue. In 1971, Red Wolf (comics), Red Wolf became the first Native Americans of the United States, Native American in the superheroic tradition to headline a series. In 1973, Shang-Chi became the first prominent List of Asian superheroes, Asian superhero to star in an American comic book (Kato (The Green Hornet), Kato had been a secondary character of the ''Green Hornet'' media franchise series since its inception in the 1930s.). Kitty Pryde, a member of the X-Men, was an openly Jewish superhero in mainstream American comic books as early as 1978. Comic-book companies were in the early stages of cultural expansion and many of these characters played to specific stereotypes; Cage and many of his contemporaries often employed lingo similar to that of blaxploitation films, Native Americans were often associated with shamanism and Totemism, wild animals, and Asian Americans were often portrayed as Chinese martial arts, kung fu martial artists. Subsequent minority heroes, such as the X-Men's Storm (Marvel Comics), Storm and the Teen Titans' Cyborg (comics), Cyborg avoided such conventions; they were both part of ensemble teams, which became increasingly diverse in subsequent years. The X-Men, in particular, were revived in 1975 with a line-up of characters drawn from several nations, including the Kenyan Storm, Germany, German Nightcrawler (comics), Nightcrawler, Soviet Union, Soviet/Russians, Russian Colossus (comics), Colossus, Ireland, Irish Banshee (comics), Banshee, and Japanese Sunfire (comics), Sunfire. In 1993, Milestone Comics, an African-American-owned media/publishing company entered into a publishing agreement with DC Comics that allowed them to introduce a line of comics that included characters of many ethnic minorities. Milestone's initial run lasted four years, during which it introduced ''Static (superhero), Static,'' a character adapted into the WB Television Network, WB Network animated series ''Static Shock''. In addition to the creation of new minority heroes, publishers have filled the identities and roles of once-Caucasian heroes with new characters from minority backgrounds. The African-American John Stewart (comics), John Stewart appeared in the 1970s as an alternate for Earth's Green Lantern Hal Jordan, and would become a regular member of the Green Lantern Corps from the 1980s onward. The creators of the 2000s-era Justice League (animated series), ''Justice League'' animated series selected Stewart as the show's Green Lantern. In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Spider-Man (Miles Morales), Miles Morales, a youth of Puerto Ricans, Puerto Rican and African-American ancestry who was also bitten by a genetically-altered spider, debuted as Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man, the new Spider-Man after the List of Ultimate Spider-Man story arcs#Death of Spider-Man (#156-160), apparent death of Ultimate Spider-Man, the original Spider-Man, Peter Parker. Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan), Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American Islam, Muslim teenager who is revealed to have Inhumans, Inhuman lineage after her shapeshifting powers manifested, takes on the identity of Ms. Marvel in 2014 after Carol Danvers had become Captain Marvel. Her self-titled comic book series became a cultural phenomenon, with extensive media coverage by CNN, the New York Times and The Colbert Report, and embraced by anti-Islamophobia campaigners in San Francisco who plastered over anti-Muslim bus adverts with Kamala stickers. Other such successor-heroes of color include War Machine, James "Rhodey" Rhodes as Alternative versions of Iron Man#Modern continuity, Iron Man and to a lesser extent Ironheart (comics), Riri "Ironheart" Williams, Atom (Ryan Choi), Ryan Choi as Atom (comics), the Atom, Jaime Reyes as
Blue Beetle Blue Beetle is the name of three fiction Fiction is any creative workA creative work is a manifestation of creative effort including fine artwork (sculpture Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. ...

Blue Beetle
and Amadeus Cho as Alternative versions of Hulk, Hulk. Certain established characters have had their ethnicity changed when adapted to another continuity or media. A notable example is Nick Fury, who is reinterpreted as Ultimate Nick Fury, African-American both in the Ultimate Marvel as well as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continuities.


Sexual orientation and gender identity

In 1992, Marvel the closet, revealed that Northstar (Marvel Comics), Northstar, a member of the Canada, Canadian mutant superhero team Alpha Flight, was homosexuality, homosexual, after years of implication. This ended a long-standing editorial mandate that there would be no homosexual characters in Marvel comics. Although some minor secondary characters in
DC Comics DC Comics, Inc. is an American comic book publisher and the flagship unit of DC Entertainment DC Comics, Inc. is an American comic book publisher and the flagship unit of #DC Entertainment, DC Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Warner Bros. ...
' mature-audience 1980s miniseries ''Watchmen'' were gay, and the reformed supervillain Pied Piper (comics), Pied Piper coming out, came out to Wally West in an issue of ''The Flash (comic book)#Volume 2 (1987–2006, 2007-08), The Flash'' in 1991, Northstar is considered to be the first openly gay superhero appearing in mainstream comic books. From the mid-2000s onward, several established Marvel and DC comics characters (or a variant version of the pre-existing character) were outed or reintroduced as LGBT individuals by both publishers. Examples include the Mikaal Tomas, Mikaal Tomas incarnation of Starman in 1998; Alternative versions of Colossus#Ultimate Marvel, Colossus in the Ultimate X-Men series; Renee Montoya in DC's ''Gotham Central'' series in 2003; the Batwoman#Kate Kane, Kate Kane incarnation of Batwoman in 2006; Rictor and Shatterstar in an issue of X-Factor Investigations, X-Factor in 2009; the Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott is reimagined as openly gay following The New 52 reboot in 2011; and in 2015, a younger time displaced version of Iceman (comics), Iceman in an issue of ''All-New X-Men''. Many new openly gay, lesbian and bisexual characters have since emerged in superhero fiction, such as Gen¹³'s Sarah Rainmaker, Rainmaker, Apollo (comics), Apollo and Midnighter of The Authority (comics), The Authority, and Wiccan (comics), Wiccan and Hulkling of the Young Avengers. Notable transgender or gender bending characters are fewer in number by comparison: the alter ego of superheroine Zsazsa Zaturnnah, a seminal character in Philippine popular culture, is an effeminate gay man who transforms into a female superhuman after ingesting a magical stone. Desire (DC Comics), Desire from Neil Gaiman's The Sandman (Vertigo), ''The Sandman'' series, Cloud from Defenders (comics), Defenders, and Xavin from the Runaways (comics), Runaways are all characters who could (and often) change their gender at will. Alysia Yeoh, a supporting character created by writer Gail Simone for the Batgirl ongoing series published by DC Comics, received substantial media attention in 2011 for being the first major transgender character written in a contemporary context in a mainstream American comic book. The ''Sailor Moon'' series is known for featuring a substantial number of openly LGBT characters since its inception, as Japan have traditionally been more open about portraying homosexuality in its children's media compared to many countries in the West. Certain characters who are presented as homosexual or transgender in one continuity may not be presented as such in others, particularly with dubbed versions made for international release. An animated short ''The Ambiguously Gay Duo'' parodies comic book superheros and features Ace and Gary (Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell). It originated on ''The Dana Carvey Show'' and then moved to ''Saturday Night Live''.


Language minority

In 2017, Pluin introduced ''Sign Gene'', a film featuring a group of deaf superheroes whose powers derive from their use of sign language. The film was produced by and with deaf people and deals with Deaf culture, history and language.


Subtypes

*List of child superheroes *List of animal superheroes *List of metahumans in DC Comics


See also

*:Parody superheroes, Parody superheroes * Real-life superhero * List of superhero debuts * List of superhero teams and groups * List of Latino superheroes, Latino Superheros


References


Further reading

* William Irwin (ed.), ''Superheroes: The Best of Philosophy and Pop Culture'', Wiley, 2011.


External links

* * {{Authority control Heroes Superheroes, *