A superhero (sometimes rendered super-hero or super hero) is a type of stock character possessing "extraordinary or superhuman powers" and dedicated to protecting the public.
 Spanking in early superhero comics
The early forties saw the emergence of the American superhero as a specific comics genre. While the first actual superhero - Seigle and Shuster's Superman - first appeared in June 1938, similar characterizations could be traced back to Lee Falk's The Phantom, Lester Dent's Doc Savage, Johnston McCulley's Zorro, and even Emmuska Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel. The advent of World War II (and America's subsequent entry into the conflict in 1941) led to a proliferation of costumed superheroes, spurred on to some degree by the patriotic ferver of the times.
Comic book heroes of the 1940s typically fall into several categories. The first - arguably most prolific - of the period were super powered heroes such as Captain Marvel (Fawcett), The Flash, Green Lantern (All-American), Namor the Sub-mariner, and The Human Torch (Timely) - all of whom were decended to some degree from Doc savage and Superman.
The second grouping includes costumed mystery men such as The Batman (DC), Mr. Scarlet, Spy Smasher (Fawcett), Midnight (Quality), and others who could trace their lineage back to pulp magazine heroes such as The Shadow and The Spider. Mystery Men tended to have no special powers and depended more on detective skills than brute force.
A third category were the so-called "stars and stripes brigade": super-patriots like Captain America (Timely), Minute Man (Fawcett), The Shield (MLJ) or Fighting Yank (Standard). Super-patriots often adopted 'Old Glory' as their motif and fought America's wartime enemies - Nazi spies, Fifth Columnists, Japanese invaders etc.
 See also
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