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The Superhero Reader$
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Charles Hatfield, Jeet Heer, and Kent Worcester

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781617038068

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617038068.001.0001

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Comics Predecessors

Comics Predecessors

(p.7) Comics Predecessors
The Superhero Reader

Peter Coogan

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines precursors to the superhero genre in comic strips and comic books, developing a formalist argument as to why the superhero genre is particularly suited to the comics medium. The discussion covers Hugo Hercules, the first positive presentation of a heroic superman in comics, running in the Chicago Tribune from September 7, 1902 to January 11, 1903; Popeye, introduced into Thimble Theatre in 1929; the cave man Alley Oop, which first appeared in 1933; the Phantom, appearing first daily on February 17, 1936, and then on a Sunday in May of 1939; Olga Mesmer, which ran in Spicy Mystery Stories from August 1937 to October 1938.

Keywords:   comics, superhero genre, comic books, comic strips, Hugo Hercules, Popeye, Alley Oop, Phantom, Olga Mesmer

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