In response to the common assumption that a superhero needs to have powers I've put the following list together.
Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Huntress, Oracle, Green Arrow, Speedy, Nightwing, Guardian, Human Target, Rorschach, Nite Owl, Comedian, Silk Spectre, Sandman (DC Comics), The Question, Wildcat, Black Widow, Electra, Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Moon Knight, Nick Fury, Punisher, The Target, Kick Ass, Hit Girl, Big Daddy, Phantom, Lone Ranger, Robin Hood, Scarlet Pimpernel, Miss Masque, The Face, Green Hornet, Kato, The Arrow, The Clock, GI Joe, Buck Rogers, Zorro, Flash Gordon, Buckaroo Banzi, Peacemaker and The original Blue Beetle.
This is by no means a complete list just something thrown together on a quick break from work.
So what does everyone think of the idea of a powerless hero?
Prior to the term super-hero which was coined after the creation of Superman in 1938 were the "masked mystery men", his precursors. The Scarlet Pimpernel, Dr. Syn alias the Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, Zorro, the Lone Ranger, the Green Hornet to name only a few.
In DC comics we have... Speedy/Arsenal/Red Arrow (Roy Harper) Speedy (Mia Dearsden) the Blackhawks, Batgirl (Betty Kane, Barbara Gordon,Helena Bertinelli, Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown) Robin (toodles Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown) (Batman) Bruce Wayne, Richard Grayson, Jean Paul Valley, Jason Todd, Tim Drake (future), Terry McGinnis (future), Damian Wayne (future) Batwoman (Kathy Kane, Kate Kane) Catwoman (Selina Kyle) Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) The Huntress The Karate Kid Nightwing (toodles Grayson) Oracle (Barbara Gordon)
(Golden age) Crimson Avenger The Sandman The Star Spangled Kid Wildcat
(Charlton Comics) The Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) The Question (Vic Sage, Renee Montoya) The Peacemaker Judomaster
(DC comics The Watchmen were based on the Charlton Characters) Night Owl (Blue Beetle) Rorschach (The Question) Silver Sable (? She actually seemed most like The Black Canary) The Comedian (Peacemaker supposedly but little resemblance)
(Red Circle comics) The Black Hood Jaguar The Shield
(Marvel Comics) Captain America (Steve Rogers, William Burkside, Bucky Barnes) Black Widow Hawkeye Elektra Moon Knight The Punisher Union Jack
I did not include Daredevil as he has radar sense and heightened senses, nor his precuror in DC Dr. Midnight as he can see only in pitch blackness)
Not a complete list by any means.
Last Edit: Aug 1, 2012 12:53:08 GMT -5 by John Reid
YES!!! This is SWEEEET!!! These are some great characters who have made a heckuva difference in the comic-world by using their wits and courage.
As for my thought os being, 'POWERLESS'... uhm, I'm not sure. I see a lot of these guys are 'POWERFUL' but I am speaking from the 'other' definition of power instead of the one your alluding to.
I like powerless characters because they have to depend on their natural gifts to resolve a situation. This creates an environment in which me, the reader, feels that it is possible for me to do the same. I can relate to the hero more than the Super-Powered hero.
This is what attracted me to the RLSH Movement.
The entire movement is super and the individuals make it alive.Some see it as Level-2 Cosplay while others live it as a way of life. It allows for the mundane to live again and to become the character they dreamed about as a child. It allows the masked to do the things they've always wanted to see done without giving up their normal lives.
Ok here's one I bet no one knows but me. In 1955 there was a movie starring Tony Curtis called "The Purple Mask" which took place in post revolutionary France and he played a latter day Scarlet Pimpernel character which rescued nobles in distress.
Anyone recall any others? I did not include The Shadow as he had the power to "cloud men's minds" and thus render himself invisible. I'm sure Marvel comics has a lot more but I can't recall them at the moment.
Last Edit: Aug 1, 2012 18:24:16 GMT -5 by John Reid
Hmm I left out one of my very favorites, Pulp fiction hero The Spider aka Richard Wentworth. He was created as a competitor to the Shadow and had his own movie serial. I loved his black mask and cape with thin red web lines criss crossing it.
Speaking of the old pulp fiction/radio/movie serial masked heroes Dynamite comics has recently come out with a series called "Masks" and brings together in th 1930's The Shadow, The Green Hornet and Kato, the Spider and a 1930's version of Zorro. Plus many other old pulp fiction heroes join their cause as the story unfolds. I'm enjoying it and feel like someone wrote this just for me.
One not included for some reason was a movie serial character called "The Masked Marvel". Like the rest he wore a suit, fedora and the mask was the whole costume. It was these early pulp fiction characters that I based Knight-Hood on incidently. I would enjoy a Hollywood movie version of Masks and hope that some producer will make a film based on it.
When I was working last night, one of the residents was watching some program with extreme videos. I walked in when I heard the announcer say something about Batman (and then I saw Phoenix Jones as a commentator but that’s a different story) … Okay before I start to ramble … this gentleman says “Batman isn’t really a superhero, he doesn’t have any superpowers.” I started to argue but held back when I realized I was talking as Delta. Anyhow as I was making the drive this morning I was thinking about the word superhero. When you break it down, it is the “super” part that is the issue. On its own it means excellent, greater than average, very large or excessive. Based on this we could use the term to describe anyone who attains a larger than life heroic status.
Basically I stand by my original statement “No powers? No problem.”
I truly think there was something special about the age of Pulp heroes. These guys, while similar, were not the same. It took reading and following them to understand the small differences.
I honestly think they gave rise to the 'thinking' hero. If you notice, even early Batman was thrown into this genre which defined itself from the 'mighty' ones by using their wits instead of their brawn.
This is an era in dire need to return as the shelves are populated with more and more butt-kickers and powerful characters. I find that the true struggle is the technique used to tell their stories.
We've had butt-kickers, gods, aliens, and mutants for so long until the art of writing the inquisitive and thoughtful is dang near lost.
I am glad to see that some of the pillars of the pulp age are reappearing on the comic shelves.
Dynamite comics is attempting to bring back the originals. I haven't bought any comics in years but had to buy "Masks" which brought together for the first time "The Shadow, The Green Hornet and Kato, the Spider, and a 1930's version of Zorro." If you google Masks you'll find some images of the cool covers done by Alex Ross.
"The Adventures of Knight-Hood" was my attempt to create a modern pulp fiction character who outwits his opponents as opposed to beating them to a pulp.
I don't know much about superheroes, but from what I do know, the human superheroes who don't have a super power usually are the the strongest superheroes. This goes for villains, too.
For example Batman, he's human but he can hang with the best and strongest heroes. His archenemy is the Joker, who is also human, he's psychotic, but nonetheless human.
Another example is Lex Luther, Superman's archenemy, he just keeps coming back for more.
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