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  1. #1
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    Default The Most Important Superhero Ancestor Was...

    Superheroes have a lot of progenitors in their DNA. If you had to pick one, who was it that brought us this genre?

    ETA: I was unclear. Which character?
    Last edited by DrNewGod; 07-20-2021 at 05:31 PM.

  2. #2
    Ultimate Member Kirby101's Avatar
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    Seigel and Shuster were most influenced by Doc Savage and Philip Wilies' The Gladitor. So I would go with those two
    There came a time when the Old Gods died! The Brave died with the Cunning! The Noble perished locked in battle with unleashed Evil! It was the last day for them! An ancient era was passing in fiery holocaust!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kirby101 View Post
    Seigel and Shuster were most influenced by Doc Savage and Philip Wilies' The Gladitor. So I would go with those two
    But, "if you had to pick one..."?

  4. #4
    Ultimate Member Kirby101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrNewGod View Post
    But, "if you had to pick one..."?
    Doc Savage then.
    There came a time when the Old Gods died! The Brave died with the Cunning! The Noble perished locked in battle with unleashed Evil! It was the last day for them! An ancient era was passing in fiery holocaust!

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    The Green Hornet, Britt Reid, is the son of Dan Reid, Jr., the nephew of John Reid the name of the man better known as the Lone Ranger.

    Philip Josť Farmer wrote TARZAN ALIVE and DOC SAVAGE: HIS APOCALYPTIC LIFE, in which he established a long list of characters connected to a meteorite strike on December 13, 1795, near the village of Wold Newton, Yorkshire, England. Those travelling in carriages nearby were exposed to the intense ionization caused by the impact. And they passed on to their offspring a mutant gene. That gene produced people of above average strength and intelligence over the next several generations.

    In terms of publication history, I think the oldest work connected to the Wold Newton Universe is PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen--with Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy both being there in 1795 when the meteorite struck.

    In terms of adventure heroes in the timeline (but not in publication order) that would be the Scarlet Pimpernel, Percy Blakeney--who Farmer also placed at the meteorite strike in 1795. But this immense family tree connects hundreds, including Lord Greystoke, Clark Kent, Sherlock Holmes and Hugo Danner.
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    Ultimate Member Kirby101's Avatar
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    But that is all a work of fiction Jim, we are talking about real superheroes.
    There came a time when the Old Gods died! The Brave died with the Cunning! The Noble perished locked in battle with unleashed Evil! It was the last day for them! An ancient era was passing in fiery holocaust!

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    Not sure if it counts, but as a kid I loved the old Greek myths and thought Perseus would qualify. More of a D&D character, grab-bag of magical items and a heroic attitude. But he's got the supervillains and powers and all of that.
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    If we can only pick one, I'd say Doc Savage too.

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    Astonishing Member batnbreakfast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kirby101 View Post
    But that is all a work of fiction Jim, we are talking about real superheroes.
    I respect Doc Savage but the Batfan in me thinks The Shadow and the Scarlet Pimpernel even Zorro are more dear to me. Aside from using myths of course.

  10. #10
    Astonishing Member Riv86672's Avatar
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    Beowulf and the Iliad were the precursors to all that’s come after.

  11. #11
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    Give that superheroes began as legal outsiders, I lean into the legends of Robin Hood.

  12. #12
    Invincible Member MajorHoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CSTowle View Post
    Not sure if it counts, but as a kid I loved the old Greek myths and thought Perseus would qualify. More of a D&D character, grab-bag of magical items and a heroic attitude. But he's got the supervillains and powers and all of that.
    I was thinking along the same lines in terms of Greek Mythology but would have said Hercules (Roman) /Heracles (Greek).

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    Sorry. I took the O.P. literally. So I was looking at what characters are progenitors through their D.N.A. I'll just leave quietly now and go back to studying bonobo amino acid chains.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    Sorry. I took the O.P. literally. So I was looking at what characters are progenitors through their D.N.A. I'll just leave quietly now and go back to studying bonobo amino acid chains.
    Don't blame you. I wasn't clear.

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    Zorro and The Shadow for Batman, full stop. Bill Finger’s writing with early Batman, the type that most successive writers emulated, was basically a bunch of Zorro tropes and ideas, but played with The Shadow’s mood and plot.

    If we’re looking for overall literary inspiration for extraordinary champions and antagonists *overall*, though, I’d say the Iliad’s cast of characters - most of the western world’s national legends and folktales at some point or another emulated or integrated Iliad elements, which means that any literary idea that was inspired by anything from those folktales likely has some tie to the Iliad.
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