A Short History of Comic Book Heroes

Comic book heroes have long been a mainstay in the epic comic book mainstream that fans have followed with great loyalty over the years.

One of the first of a long line of heroes was Popeye the Sailor man. He appeared in 1929 and became a favorite right away for his folksy ways and his liking for spinach, in order to fight his nemises, Bluto.

The golden age of comics spawned quite a few heroes such as Superman, Flash Gordon, The Shadow, The Phantom, The Clock, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Human Torch, The Shield, The Lone Ranger, Captain America, The Green Lantern, The Spectre, Captain Marvel, The Flash and others.

The advent of heroes came about because of the need for American society to feel safe from the terrors that were occurring abroad prior to World War II, and during the war, as well as the rise of organized crime in the United States.

The comic book heroes served the purpose of surrogate “caretakers” for the society at large, and people could identify with them as being that entity.

Adventure Comics

Superman was the most popular hero, as of course he was bigger than life, and had amazing powers. He had a secret identity, which added to the intrigue, and nearly all the heroes followed suit.

Superman could fly, he had X-Ray vision, he had immense strength and bullets did not phase him, hence his name as the “Man of Steel.” There was, however, one thing that would make him as weak as a baby, and that was Kryptonyte, which was a material from his home planet, Krypton, and was discovered by his arch-rival, Lex Luthor.

Superman was the first hero to have his own comic book published just for him, but others soon followed, such as Batman, Captain Marvel, Captain America and others.

The saga of the hero in comics is one of great interest, as it seemed to have filled a great need in the eyes of society in general. In the time of the Great Depression, it seemed like everything was falling apart, and to have heroes who fought the battles of the poor and downtrodden fit the bill exactly to the point of what was perceived to be needed.

The signs of the times dictates what people want to read and spend their time with, as the comics and their heroes proved from the 1930’s through the 1950’s.