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Articles and Features

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Fancy 'S'

Sidekicks and Protégés

Action Girl Cover Image

Boy Comics #35 © 1947 Lev Gleason. COVER ART BY CHARLES BIRO.

Silver Age of Superheroes (1956–1969)






Action Girl Cover Image

Amazing Spider-Man #68 © 1969 Marvel Comics. COVER ART BY JOHN ROMITA.

Space Heroes

Space may be the final frontier, but some superheroes traverse the intergalactic skyways and explore perilous planets, boldly going where the Terran hero has never gone before.

Spider-Man in the Media

Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can. Spins a web any size, catches thieves just like flies, look out, here's comes the Spider-Man. So start the lyrics of one of the most famous superhero theme songs in history. Peter Parker was first bitten by the radioactive spider that gave him superpowers in Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962), but Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's creation would surge in popularity in 1967, with the debut of ABC's animated Spiderman series (without the official hyphen).

Super-archers

Comic-book publishers were scrambling to create new costumed crime fighters in the wake of Superman's instantaneous success in Action Comics #1 (June 1938). Since the wildly popular Errol Flynn movie The Adventures of Robin Hood was attracting long lines at the box office during that summer, the notion of pitting a contemporary bowman against villains armed with guns was too good for comics creators to ignore

Superhero Creators

Superheroes as diverse as Wonder Woman and Spawn share one characteristic: They were originally conceived by a spark of an artist's or writer's imagination. Each of the costumed characters unveiled since the debut of Superman in Action Comics #1 (June 1938) has his or her own story of evolution, with innovative folk behind the scenes who thought, hoped, and dreamed that their creation would be the next Man of Steel.

Superhero Slogans

Superhero slogans, catchphrases, words of wisdom, and general declarations and utterances have flooded the popular consciousness since the dawn of comic books. Delivered via word balloons, actors' mouths, or radio and television voice-overs, one cannot deny the power of superhero speech.

Superhero Vulnerabilities

Without adversity or weakness—or the supreme ordeal, as myth-master Joseph Campbell contends in The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949)—a hero cannot truly be challenged.

Superheroes and Celebrities

There are few people who don't wish they could either have superpowers or be a celebrity. But comics history is speckled with occasional combinations of the two which remind everyone to be careful what they wish for.

Superheroes and the Popular Culture

Writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster had unwavering faith in their Superman creation, even when newspaper syndicates of the mid-1930s balked at their outlandish concept. Despite their confidence, Siegel and Shuster could not, in their wildest dreams, have imagined that one day, kids and consumers would be eating Superman peanut butter, wearing Superman underwear, and playing Superman video games.

Superheroes with Disabilities

In the time it will take to read this entry, real-life superheroics will occur. A blind woman will safely cross the street. A teenage boy whose body is crippled with cerebral palsy will rise unassisted from a chair. Physically and mentally challenged individuals who refuse to be handicapped by their conditions overcome adversity in virtually every facet of their lives. Superheroes do exist.

Superheroines

Superheroes, no matter their media of presentation, have always held a mirror to society and offered a reflection of cultural attitudes. No better example of this can be found than with superheroines.

Superman in the Media

Look, up on the screen! It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Superman! Since his creation in 1938, Superman has traveled into the heart of generation upon generation of readers, moviegoers, and television fans. In the last sixty-plus years, Superman has been the star of movie serials, live-action and animated TV shows, radio programs, and several movies.

Superman Villains






Action Girl Cover Image

The Adventures of Superman #441 © 1988 DC Comics. COVER ART BY JERRY ORDWAY.

Superman's Weapons and Gadgets

In a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way that has spanned sixty-plus years, Superman has designed, invented, and utilized his fair share of super-paraphernalia. While the Superman mythos of the twenty-first century allows for much more high-tech gadgetry than initially accompanied Superman's early career, all told there is a super-list of apparatus that accessorizes the Man of Steel.

Supermedia

Next to the number-one occupation of millionaire playboy, the day job most heroes embrace is somehow media-related. A quick rundown reveals that, when not out saving the world, many heroes spend their time on the air or behind the scenes of radio and television stations, or other media outlets.

Supernatural Heroes

When the dark forces of the underworld threaten to scare up trouble for humankind, paranormal protectors—many with modus operandi drawing from the same sinister sources as their enemies'—stand ready to vanquish vampires, demons, and wizards.

Superpowers

Superheroes, the contemporary extension of the ancient gods, represent ideals to which we all aspire.

Superteams

When the din of the competition threatens to drown companies out of the marketplace, they have to make more noise. That's what DC Comics did in the winter of 1940 when, to give itself a viable edge on the mounting number of new superhero comic books appearing, it made the unprecedented move of combining many of its superstars into one package, introducing comics' first superteam: the Justice Society of America (JSA).

Supervehicles

Chicks love the car, observed the Dark Knight (Val Kilmer) in director Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever (1995). Guys do, too: For decades, the Batmobile has won the race to be the premier superhero vehicle.

Supervillains

At the advent of comics' Golden Age (1938–1954), readers were dazzled by the audacious exploits and flashy ensembles of the first wave of superheroes. Very quickly, however, the novelty of these men and women of steel became endangered from battles with generic gunmen and mouthy mobsters, menaces borrowed from the pages of newspapers of the day. Comic-book editors, writers, and artists were challenged to create supervillains against whom their heroes could maintain their mythic status.

Superweapons

Not every superhero is faster than a speeding bullet or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. That's when superweapons become a necessity.