Literary Origins of the Supermen
In the world of superheroes, it seems that feats of physical strength and acrobatic prowess are possibly the most prevalent demonstration of super powers. One must wonder if such physical powers are a product of the time in which these comics were originally produced – the 1930s for DC’s iconic Superman and 1941 for Marvel’s super soldier, Captain America – or does this sort of hero have roots that extend deeper into literary history. Obviously, mythology is full of heroes who have superhuman strength, stamina, and agility with Thor and Hercules being the most famous in the world of comics for their huge roles in the Marvel Universe (and smaller ones in DC). However, there is a bridge, figuratively speaking, between the heroes of myth and their newer incarnations in the comic book world, and that bridge is found in the works of classical, medieval, and Renaissance literature.