Superhero

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A superhero is a type of stock character possessing "extraordinary or superhuman powers" and dedicated to protecting the public and has some visual characteristic (typically an outfit) that makes him/her identifiable. Since the debut of the prototypical superhero Superman in 1938, stories of superheroes—ranging from brief episodic adventures to continuing years-long sagas—have dominated American comic books and crossed over into other media. The word itself dates to at least 1917.[1] A female superhero is sometimes called a superheroine . "Super-heroes" is a trademark co-owned by DC Comics and Marvel Comics.[2] Superheroes are authentically US-American[citation needed], spawning from The Great Depression era.

By most definitions, characters do not strictly require actual superhuman powers to be deemed superheroes,[3] although terms such as costumed crime fighters are sometimes used to refer to those such as Batman and Green Arrow without such powers who share other common superhero traits. Such characters were generally referred to as "mystery men" in the late 1930s and 1940s period historians and fans call the Golden Age of Comic Books, to distinguish them from characters with super-powers.

Normally, superheroes use their powers to police day-to-day crime while also combating threats against humanity by supervillains, criminals of "unprecedented powers" in the same way as superheroes. One of these supervillains is often the superhero's archenemy, although sometimes the superhero has a rogues gallery of archenemies. Additionally, superheroes sometimes will combat such threats as aliens and supernatural or mythological entities.

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