By The Myth 11 Comments
If you were to ask a person with little or no knowledge of comic book history who they thought the first superhero was what do you think their answer would be?
Well from my experience I have found that the majority of people would say they believe Superman was the first superhero.
And though I do acknowledge The Last Son of Krypton's existence since the Golden Age of Comics, (first appearing in Action Comics #1 in June 1938), I can assuredly tell you that it just is not the case.
For those who may not know the one who is truly considered comicdom's FIRST superhero appeared four years before the debut of the Man-of-Steel.
Mandrake the Magician , first appearing in 11th June 1934, created by Lee Falk (also known for creating the Phantom ).
Mandrake started as the star of his of his own syndicated newspaper comic strip. The character of Mandrake the Magician is displayed as a master of magic and hypnosis, who used his skills to battle a variety of thugs, evil geniuses, extraterrestrial and extra dimensional threats. Mandrake also had himself a sidekick of-sort in his best friend Lothar. Though unfortunately in recent times Mandrake (along with many Golden Age characters) seems to be almost forgotten by the world.
(See public domain characters )
Of cause this may lead some to ask what was it that caused Mr. Falk to suddenly create a character with super-natural abilities. Though Mandrake IS a magician it can easy be assumed it was just that, real performers have been doing magic acts for centuries.
Then again the concept of magic and the mystical has been around since the dawn of man, and as such so have beings with incredible power.
Through out history there have been tales, legends and 'myths' >:3 of people performing incredible feats, like David vs. Goliath, a mere mortal being able to fell a mighty giant with a single pebble.
And then you have beings with powers, gifts often given to by gods or inherited through being a descendant of gods (demigod), such is the case of the well known character of Hercules. Gifted with incredible strength from his father Zeus, king of the Olympian Gods. Charged by the gods to perform 12 trials,
1) Slay the Nemean Lion.
2) Slay the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra.
3) Capture the Golden Fleece of Artemis.
4) Capture the Erymanthian Boar.
5) Clean the Augean stables in a single day.
6) Slay the Stymphalian Birds.
7) Capture the Cretan Bull.
8) Steal the Mares of Diomedes.
9) Obtain the girdle of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons.
10) Obtain the cattle of the monster Geryon.
11) Steal the apples of the Hesperides.
12) Capture and bring back the hell hound Cerberus.
Given the nature of the Human race and our love of good stories one can see why such awe inspiring being were created. Heroes that children could look up to and perhaps one day stive to follow in their footsteps and achieve greatness of their own. So perhaps it was ideals such as these that came to the creatures minds when they came up with characters such as Mandrake and Superman.
So I leave you now hoping that I may have given you a little bit of a glimps into The Origin Of The Superhero.
'The Myth' is nothing more than an urban legend!!!