The American Superhero has certain characteristics which are larger than life and allow a fan to become something larger than just themselves. Take for example the Superman character written by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. They created Superman in 1933 which ultimately debuted in 1938. It launched the DC comic book super hero phenomenon. Superman had an extraordinary sense of responsibility in identifying good and evil. His mission was to support justice and humanitarian service. Superman taught villains that "crime does not pay." And that phrase is still used today.
Whenever we study ancient mythology we see these Superhero characteristics very clearly. Ancient gods and goddesses were famous for secretly interacting with humans and testing their moral code.
What if you could be a Superhero for a day? How would you confront your problems? What would you do about the major issues of society like hunger, literacy and employment? Which Superhero would you become? What superpowers would you need? While this question may on the surface appear silly it is the glue that makes so much of Pulp Fiction as popular as ever.
We all need heroes!
We can each be a hero to someone!
We each have unique skills and abilities that are capable of helping win the battle of good versus evil, even if only on a small scale.
The Superhero of yesteryear is distinctly American. But more importantly their intrinsic need to support justice and fight evil crosses all national boundaries.
It was the pulp fiction writers such as Edgar Rice Burroughs, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, L. Ron Hubbard and Issac Asimov and others that launched the greatest adventures and hero's that still capture the imagination today.
What is fascinating to me is to recognize that the Superhero has their roots firmly in the Great Depression. While so much angst, frustration and hardship was gripping the world that from these seeds the prototype of the great American hero was born. It was the golden age of pulp fiction! Initially, fed to children in movie serials and to the masses through popular pulp fiction classics, it soon became clear that super hero's were loved by all ages.
Pulp fiction classics are the foundation to characters like Indiana Jones and Luke Skywalker. These fun and adventure filled tales remind us that we need not be victims of circumstance and that having a grand purpose is often the very thing that gives life a wonderful flavor.