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Hero History

DCFeaturedHero HistoryWonder Woman

There is a truism in the world of Hero Histories: The shorter the tenure, the simpler to put together.  When considering the history of a character dating back to the dawn of superheroic history, it is a very daunting matter to recount the entirety of their history, as even a fictional universe will have been through a lot of changes in 80 years.  Today’s entrant has had at least four notable iterations in her time, but today we focus specifically on the second of her major historical eras.  Some might call it the Silver Age version; an inaccurate designation, as

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DCFeaturedHero HistoryYoung Heroes In Love

They say youth is wasted on the young, and that’s never more true than when it comes to superhuman powers.  With a few rare exceptions (like that Parker kid), a teenager with super-powers tends to get sidelined as a sidekick or wannabe, and even the far-flung future heroes of the Legion get flack for their characteristic idealism and impulsiveness, but that hasn’t stopped the likes of the New Warriors, the Teen Titans, and even Generation X from fighting their respective good fights.  So it was, some years ago, that a headstrong young man assembled his own league of justice in

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FeaturedHero HistoryMarvelSpider-ManSpider-Man 2099

Or – “Power And Responsibility Transcending Time And Space…” The modern Heroic Age of the modern universe gave rise to legends that have endured for decades, both in-universe and out.  Among those is the legend of Spider-Man, a colorful hero whose battles against foes large and small taught everyone a lesson involving the responsibilities of having super-powers.  About a century later (depending on comic-book time, of course) a new hero rose, taking his name as a tribute to the old and heralding, like his predecessor, a new heroic age.  And, like Peter Parker, he was considered an unlikely hero, but

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Black LightningDCFeaturedHero History

It’s a strange thing to be first.  Many times, the first iteration of something isn’t the most iconic, the best or even the most well-known, but today’s Hero History entrant puts the lie to that expectation.  After years of nearly no super-heroic representation of anyone who wasn’t Caucasian (and even that one green kid had blonde hair) the streets of Metropolis gave birth to a hero whose mettle and courage are the equal of any who came before, and whose feats of power quickly made him one of the most respected heroes around.  An multiple-time Olympic champion as well as

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FeaturedHero HistoryMarvelPlanet Of The Apes

Or – “Before You Ask, No, I Didn’t Make This One Up…” The worlds of fiction are many and varied, and the tale of the young freedom fighter with the odds against him is a compelling one, turning up again and again.  Whether a historical war (such as the long-running Tomahawk), an alien perspective (like Luke Skywalker), or something entirely different, there’s a lot of mileage to be had out of the story of one man against a corrupt system.  So much so, that sometimes you can cut-and-paste that story into an entirely different world and continuity, with only the

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FeaturedHero HistoryHeroes for HireLuke CageMarvel

Or – “SWEEET CHRISTMAS!” The Marvel Universe is a strange and occasionally terrible place.  At any moment, a building could collapse because of rogue Hulks, or your entire neighborhood could get utterly annihilated by alien space bugs.  Even back in the day, before the X-Men outnumbered the combined population of every town I lived in before the age of 17, it was a difficult place to live, where a random prison guard with a grudge could change your life forever (and that’s AFTER you were betrayed by your oldest friend and your first love murdered before your eyes.)  Not everyone

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DCFeaturedGreen LanternGreen Lantern CorpsHero History

Or – “It Takes A Real Man To Be A Superhero AND Host The Daily Show!” In a way, it’s kind of astonishing that in an industry that started in the mid-1930s, there were virtually no superheroes of color until the 1970s. Though today’s Hero History entrant wasn’t the first black superhero (that place is held by The Black Panther, circa 1966) nor the first African-American character to headline his own book (that honor goes to Dell Comics’ Lobo, a cowboy type who will probably make for a fine Retro Review soon enough), but John Stewart predates either Luke Cage

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captain actionDCFeaturedHero History

Or – “The Amazing 9-In-1 Superhero!” When I was a kid, there was no filter between toys, cartoons, comics and movies, nor would we have wanted one.  We could watch the cartoon adventures of the same characters in our comics (though their adventures were often tonally different) and buy the appropriate tie-in toys at the local TG&Y store when we were done.  Of course, this isn’t a Facebook post about how things were better when we were younger, this is all about the comics.  When evil rears its ugly head, sometimes you need a hero with versatility, one who isn’t

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FeaturedHero HistoryKablammakus!Major Spoilers

Or – “An Epic Hero’s Journey Through Time, Space & Dimension!” These days, it’s kind of hard to remember that there were companies other than the Big Two (or Big Four, if you’re so inclined.)  DC’s pedigree goes back to the dawn of comics Golden Age, while Marvel was kinda-sorta there, in spirit.  But in those heady days, hundreds of other companies came and went, with names like Standard, Fawcett, Nedor, Fox Features, Quality, Chesler, Frog and the far-flung Isles of Langerhans!  But publishing is a mug’s game, one that just as often leads to a late night exodus with

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BlackhawkDCFeaturedHero HistoryQuestionable IdeaThe Blackhawks

Or – “Why ‘New And Different’ Doesn’t Always Equal ‘Better.’ “ Comic books as an art form have been around for over a century now, and many of the characters we read about regularly have been doing their thing for three-quarters of a century.  During those years, many revamps, relaunches and rejiggers have taken place to try and keep the characters relevant.  Batman has gone from gun-toting vigilante to square-jawed smiling sentinel to dark night detective to father-figures, while Superman’s power levels have been up and down like the proverbial whore’s drawers.  In retrospect, it’s clear lot of those re-imaginings

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FeaturedHero HistoryMarvel

Or – “The Best There Is At What He Does!!!” May I just start by saying that, MAN, these Hero Histories take forever.  On average, I’m dealing with a couple hundred issues, sometimes spanning decades, trying to boil down a character to their essence (or, in some cases, their various differentiated essences) and find what makes them really tick, in my subjective opinion.  When a particularly busy character comes along, it gets doubly annoying.  This week’s Hero History entrant initially appeared as a mystery, his backstory unplumbed, and we only learned about him in fits and starts as his teammates

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Captain MarvelFeaturedHero History

Or – “Bahamut says ‘WHAT?’ “ In the 8 or so decades since Siegel and Shuster got shafted over the rights for the guy in the blue tights, there have been literally THOUSANDS of heroes from hundreds of companies, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous.  For ever Batman, you have Skateman.  For every Green Lantern, you have a Blue Rajah.  For every Marvel Girl, you have a Great And Powerful Turtle.  And for every Captain Marvel, you have…  another Captain Marvel.  My rather limited research strongly implies that the first hero to stick a military rank in front of

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Dell ComicsFeaturedFrankensteinHero History

Or – “Fire BAD!!” During the month of October, I set off on a plan to do weekly Hero Histories on Halloween-appropriate heroes, starting with Dracula, and ending with a secret character.  Seein’ as how we’re about two weeks short of Christmas, you can see how well that worked.  Nonethless, I think we’re still holiday appropriate, seein’ as how we’re working with a hero who wears red and green (or atleast wears red and IS green.)  Though a product of possibly evil intentions, he nonetheless overcame his creation to transform into something strongly resembling Superman.  Like the original Man of

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Dell ComicsDraculaFeaturedHero History

Or – “He Doesn’t Even Drink…  Wine.” In the years since 1938 (technically even earlier, given the existence of The Scarlet Pimpernel, Zorro, the Green Hornet and others who predate the technical era of the Superman) there have been hundreds upon hundreds of publishers that create comic book adventures, with hundreds of THOUSANDS of characters involved.  In all that time, there have been more than a few heroes whose existence is due mostly to bad ideas, high concept or some sort of drugs.  In the case of today’s Hero History entrant, a strong case can be made for all three. 

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