Friday, December 23, 2011

Superhero Flicks, Part 0: Gladiator

And from here, we loop aaaall the way back around....

So...did I say Superman was the first superhero?
Ooops, misspoke.
He was the first comic book superhero.

The first superhero was....

Hugo Danner.
Protagonist of...


Hugo Danner??
No "Captain_____"?
No "____man"?".

Nope, Hugo Danner.

8 years before Superman premiered in Action comics #1, came this little novel by Philip Wylie.
A name that ought to be remembered by anyone who loves this genre/medium.

"Gladiator", tells the story of a scientist who creates a serum to augment human ability, injects his pregnant wife with it, and creates for himself a super son.
Then, we see young Hugo grow up, all the while coming to terms with his super abilities (Hugo's powers are super strength, super leaping, and bulletproof skin),struggling against ignorance, and intolerance, and trying to find his place in this world.
To tell anymore would spoil.

Not only is it the first superhero story, but it's a good one!
It'd make a damned good movie.
It came out in 1929, but...its sexy and violent, if you like WolverinePunisher, characters like that, ol' Hugo beat them to the punch too.

I tried to finish this book up for this review, but I'm still in the midst of it, but lemme tell you, it's...GOOD!
Damn good!
Up there with some of the best graphic novels of today.

Here, this site has a lot of info...and that second essay is a damned good review in its own right.
I won't even try to top it.

And can get a PDF of the book to read...

But, even once you've read it electronically, you'll probably crave a paper version to y'know, HAVE, so, here's Amazon to save the day.

Read it, love it, spread the word.
This baby used to be rare, but not anymore.
Bless you, internet.

If you love superheroes, you owe it to yourself to see the tantalizing real origin of it all, true believers.

(Click here for the continuation)

Up next, Ho-Ho-Ho Merry Chreestmaahs!


Diacanu said...

Finished the book.

Truly, this inspired every superhero you can think of.

The looks and powers of (early) Superman, the biography of Captain America, the misanthropy of Hulk, there's bits and pieces of everything.

This had to be on the desks of early comic writers.

No way it's a coincidence.

Diacanu said...

Ha! Remembered another Gladiator inspiration-connection.

Venture Brothers!

Hugo kills a guy playing football, and Brock Samson kills a guy playing football.

Except, Hugo is torn up with guilt, and Brock is like "meh".

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